Diwali is here! The festival of lights, victory of good over evil, merriment and joyous togetherness of people, is what Diwali stands for.
A festival that unites people across religions, cultures and castes.
Diwali is truly the symbol of unity in India.
The autumn months of October and November are infested with festivals. Starting from Dussehra, Navratri, Durga Pujo and then Diwali, Indians around the world wait for this auspicious period to come.
This year, Diwali falls on the 7th of November 2018.
What do most people do to prepare for the festival of lights?
They clean their houses, adorn the walls with colourful lights and place diyas and lamps to welcome Goddess Laxmi into their houses. Worshippers beautify their houses with flowers, meet their family and dear ones and prepare for days of festivity and gaiety.
Owing to India’s cultural diversity, the festival is celebrated distinctly in different parts of India.
In most of north India, Diwali is celebrated to mark the victory of Lord Ram over King Ravana and his return to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana after 14 years of exile.
Amongst the Sikhs, the festival holds a special meaning. The sixth Guru, Shri Hargobind Singh Ji, who was held captive by Mughal emperor Jahangir, returned to Amritsar during this time.
In the south, the occasion of Diwali is considered as a victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka. During his death Naraka requested that people celebrate the victory of good over evil with new clothes, bursting crackers etc. During Diwali, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped by devotees.
The festival also holds a special importance for farmers across the country. Diwali marks the end of the harvest season, which is why farmers celebrate it with much aplomb.
Diwali is also a festival that is celebrated across most countries in South Asia region. Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Singapore and Malaysia are some of the countries that celebrate Diwali.
Each day has a significance attached to it. Let’s understand what they mean –
Dhanteras starts the three-day festival. ‘Dhan’ means money and ‘teras’ means 13th. Dhanteras is celebrated on the 13th day of the Hindu calendar Ashvin. On this day, people worship goddess Lakshmi. It is considered auspicious to buy precious metals.
The second day is the ‘Chhoti Diwali’. The 14th day of the Hindu calendar is called ‘Kali chaudas’ and on this day, people take bath with scented oils. In south it is called ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’, the day demon Narakasura was killed.
The third day is the main puja day. This is the main event and is the day of ‘Lakshmi Puja’. On this day Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped with devotion.
Many parts of India also celebrate on the next day. This the ‘Padwa’ or the ‘Govardhan Puja’.
Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the 5th day since the start on Dhanteras. On this day sisters pray for their brother’s happy and prosperous lives.
Diwali, nowadays, has taken a different turn. From a festival where crackers were burst in huge numbers to mark the celebrations, to now, when crackers have become an environmental problem.
Pollution is increasingly becoming a reality in most parts of the country. Cracker bursting is one of the key propagators of this. More and more children are coming forward to denounce the use of fire crackers during Diwali for a safe future.
Instead, meet people, use eco-friendly gifts and decorative, make Rangoli’s – patterns created on the floor using coloured rice or powder, decorate and indulge in yummy Indian food and sweets.