Amavasya(New Moon, also called 15th Waning Moon, of the Lunar Month Ashwin)
ThirdDay is celebrated as Diwali - Lakshmi Pooja
Diwali is one of the brightest festivals celebrated in the Vedic tradtion. It is a festival of illumination, joy, festivity and firecrackers to signify the victory of divine forces over evil. In Sanskrit, Diwali or Dipawali means: Dipa (lamp) and awali (rows) – rows of lamps. Diwali is famous as a festival of lamps.
Lamps are symbolic of burning of the past and dissolving negativity and spreading the light of joy and happiness. Lights are lit to illuminate the darkness in our lives and attract auspiciousness and spiritual blessings by connecting with cosmic energies through prayer and ritualistic worship.
Diwali celebrations are spread over five days in India – the last three days of the month of Ashwin (Oct-Nov) and first two days of the new month of Karthik (Nov- Dec). The main festival of Diwali falls on the New Moon night in the month of Ashwin (Oct-Nov) as per Lunar- Solar based Vedic calendar . In the Gregorian calendar, it usually falls somewhere in mid-October to mid-November.
The last three days of the month of Ashwin ( Sept – Oct) in traditional Hindu Calendar and the first two days of the New month of Kartik( Oct-Nov). The main festival of Diwali falls on the New Moon night in the month of Ashwin as per the lunar –solar based Vedic calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually falls somewhere in mid- October to mid- November.
However, the exact dates of celebration of Diwali depend upon the Traditional Hindu calendar.
Significance of Diwali
To celebrate good over evil
- Tradition relates Diwali celebrations with the event of Lord Rama`s return to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. It is the day of his coronation. The whole city was decorated with lighted lamps.
- In addition, Lord Vishnu`s victory over Bali, a king of demons, is said to have occurred on the day of Diwali.
- Diwali is further celebrated to rejoice about the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura,the son of Bhuma Devi (Mother Earth).
To celebrate the promise of material fulfillment and invite auspiciousness
- According to Padma Purana (a sacred text), Diwali is the day Lakshmi,Goddess of Wealth, manifested from an ocean of milk. She represents boundless wealth, health, intelligence, friends, family, long life, fame, fortune, purity, beauty and grace.
She is worshipped to gain blessings of abundance, grains, welfare of offspring, enjoyment of luxuries and material comforts, vehicles, courage and victory and to drive away misfortune and poverty.
How to celebrate Diwali
- On this day, sacred texts advocate oil bath. It is believed that on the early morning of Diwali before sunrise, Goddess Mahalakshmi resides in sesame oil and holy Ganges resides in the waters. To chase away misfortune, poverty and inauspiciousness, you should take bath in hot water before sunrise and wear new clothes.
Amavasya (New Moon) on Diwali is considered auspicious and prosperity bestowing. As Diwali falls on a New Moon day, it is also good to perform ancestral rituals and seek their blessings. Ancestral rituals of tarpanam are only done in daylight hours (after sunrise and before sunset).
Daylight hours means – tarpanam rituals should be performed only during daytime and nights are to be avoided. Sun should be there in the sky during the rituals.
- Goddess Lakshmi is the presiding deity of Diwali. Diwali rituals always begin with a worship of Ganesha, remover of obstacles, to bestow blessings of success and ward off evil. Ganesha is worshipped for good beginningsand Lakshmi is invoked for wealth, good health, fortune and prosperity.Her blessings are essential to make our lives prosperous, fruitful and peaceful.
- Auspicious time for performing Lakshmi Pooja is during PradoshKaal. This period starts after sunset and lasts up to two hours. PradoshKaal on TrayodashiTithi (13thMoon Phase) is considered very auspicious.
- The best time for this day’s Lakshmi Pooja is during PradoshKaal when the Ascendant (also known as Lagna or Rising Sign, the Zodiac sign coming up on the eastern horizon) falls in a “fixed” sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius). When the Ascendant is in a fixed sign, it is known as Sthir Lagna.Worship during this time on this day is said to make prosperity always flourish in your house.
- By lighting numerous Diwali lamps and drawing rangolis (colorful patterns) with rice flour and flowers on the floor and entrances of homes, you can attract auspiciousness into household.
Significance of celebrating Diwali
- Diwali is an important time for business persons and traders. They also sanctify their new account books with the worship of Saraswati, Goddess of Manifestation and Knowledge, Arts and Sciences. She is traditionally worshipped on Diwali for knowledge, the ultimate wealth. Knowledge is an ultimate strength that can defeat brute force and give victory.
- Business persons and traders settle old accounts and open new account books in the presence of Goddess Lakshmi to seek her blessings for the next financial year.
Ritualistic Observances of Diwali
- It is considered auspicious to clean homes before the celebration of Diwali. Houses are painted and decorated.
- People decorate their homes and offices with fresh flowers like marigold, jasmine, and chrysanthemum. Mango and banana leaves are tied on doorways for auspiciousness.
- Wearing new clothes and jewelry is believed to attract good fortune for the coming year.
- Many buy new household utensils in metals. If not possible, ok to buy any new utensil that is affordable. The new utensil is considered a good sign to sustain prosperity in your household.
- Preparing delicious sweets and food is another enjoyable part of Diwali. Sweets and dried fruits are given to friends and relatives as a token of sharing and caring for one another.
- Colorful stream lights, candles and especially earthen lamps are lit across households to enjoy the festivity.
- Firecrackers are burst with enthusiasm to welcome the coming year and rejoicing the festive spirit.
- Family gatherings, visiting friends and relatives commonly occurs during Diwali. It is a great festival for hospitality and social refreshment.
- Acts of charity are highly auspicious during this time. Feeding the hungry, giving new clothes to the poor, helping the downtrodden, giving aid to disabled persons and providing joy and cheer to those in despair is the true prayer to Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali.