Diwali Festival | What You Need to Know About Diwali

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What You Need to Know About Diwali

October 10, 2022 | Total Views : 145
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Diwali (or Deepavali) gets the name from the row of lights or diyas that people light outside their homes to celebrate the festival. ‘Deepa’ denotes ‘light’ as well as the clay lamps which are lit on the occasion, and ‘avali’ means ‘row’. It is one of the major Indian festivals, much like Christmas is in Western countries. Over the years, the Diwali festival has become more secular and national in tone. Nowadays, non-Hindu communities also celebrate and enjoy the festival.

Among Jains, Diwali marks the day Lord Mahavira attained nirvana or spiritual awakening on October 15, 527 B.C. For Sikhs, it is the day their 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists also celebrate Diwali.

Diwali is celebrated over 5 days. This beautiful ‘Festival of Lights’ symbolizes the triumph of good (light) over evil (darkness). It is usually celebrated in October.

Origins of Diwali

There are many stories and legends about Diwali. Some believe that Lord Vishnu married Goddess Lakshmi on this day. Others believe that it marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after completing his exile and slaying the demon-king Ravana. North Indians celebrate the return of Rama, while in south India, people commemorate the killing of Narakasura by Lord Krishna. In the western region, this is the day when Lord Vishnu exiled the demon king, Bali, into the underworld to rule as its king.

How Is Diwali Celebrated?

Diwali rituals are different on each of the 5 days of the festival.

On the 1st day of the festival, which is called Dhanteras, people clean their homes thoroughly and shop for gold or silver items and household items as this is a very auspicious day for such activities.

On the second day, people use clay lamps to decorate their homes and also draw rangolis using colored powders. This day is Chhoti Diwali.

On the third day, which is the day of Diwali, devotees perform Lakshmi Pooja. This is the most important day of the 5-day festival. Families get together for the pooja. Feasting on sweets and delicacies and bursting firecrackers, etc., are some of the major activities.

On the fourth day, people perform Govardhan Pooja by worshipping Lord Krishna. They also greet each other and exchange gifts. In some parts, this is also the first day of the new year. (Due to Surya Grahan/solar eclipse on Oct 25, Goverdhan Pooja will be on Oct 26, 2022. It is considered inauspicious to visit temples and perform religious activities during a solar eclipse).

On the fifth day (Bhai Dooj), brothers visit the homes of their married sisters and are treated to a delicious repast.

To emphasize the triumph of light over darkness, people light up their homes, both inside and outside. They light small oil lamps or diyas inside the homes, while the exteriors are illuminated with electric lights. Spectacular fireworks displays will take place in many cities.

Some people also create elaborate and colorful displays using traditional designs, along with lights, mirrors, bells, flowers, and other objects, to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and fortune, into their homes. It is also the custom to buy new clothes for the festive occasion and make many sweets like laddoos, burfi, etc., and gift boxes of nuts and dry fruits to relatives and friends. Many also offer donations to orphanages and old age homes or perform acts of charity to help the needy.

Different Kinds of Diwali Celebrations

In India, Varanasi is one of the places to experience Diwali celebrations. You can go for a boat ride at sunset, feast your eyes on the beautifully illuminated homes and buildings along the shore, and watch the spectacular display of fireworks as well. Amritsar in Punjab is another place to visit during Diwali. The city’s most famous landmark, Golden Temple, will be well-illuminated for the occasion.

In the island nation of Sri Lanka, the celebrations are more toned down. The locals perform

colorful rituals and ceremonies in their homes and along the sea-shore. Whereas in Nepal, each of the five days of Diwali is dedicated to sacred animals, gods, and goddesses.

Diwali is also celebrated in unique ways in countries like the UK, USA, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Guyana.

Diwali 2022 starts with Dhanteras on October 22. It ends with Bhai Dooj on Oct 27. Lakshmi Pooja is the most auspicious day of the festival. It is celebrated as Diwali on Oct 24.

In the city of Chennai, Diwali Pooja muhurat is from 7.05 pm to 8.12 pm on Monday, Oct 24.

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