It is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Karthik (Oct-Nov) every year. This year it falls on November 2nd. To drive away the darkness, lights are lit symbolically representing, that always light would triumph darkness.
Houses are cleaned of all dust and doorways are decorated by hanging torans of mango leaves or artificial hangings. Rangolis or kolams are drawn with rice flour and colored powder. Foot prints of Lakshmi or Shripada are drawn to invite her into the household and stay there always.
GANGA SNAN OR HOLY BATH
Diwali is celebrated to rejoice the killing of the demon Narakasura.
On this day alone, it is said that Goddess Lakshmi resides in the gingely oil and Goddess Ganga resides in the water. So, bath in the early hours of the morning is called Ganga snan.
One uses til oil and bathes in hot water. By doing this bad negative vibrations of the past year are washed away and pave way for a new beginning.
New Clothes And Morning Pooja
After the bath, family members assemble for prayer offerings with homemade sweets and savories and many other food items. New clothes are offered to the divine as thanksgiving and after lighting lamps, all wear the new clothes and partake food offered to God. Then fire crackers are burst with great joy and celebration.
Sweets and Snacks
Some of the sweets made are laddu, carrot halwa, Mysore pak, badam halwa, gulab jamoon, kaju katli, badushah, wheat halwa, rava laddu, athirasam and many more. Snacks that are popularly made are mixture, karasev, thatai, chakli, murukku, ommapodi. They are distributed among friends and neighbors and many go around visiting near and dear ones.
It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi incarnated from the milky ocean on the new moon day in the month of karthik. She is welcomed into all households by way of pooja to her in the night of the new moon day. Lamps are lit in the prayer room; rangolis are drawn to invite her. She is worshipped along with Ganesha to get the blessings of prosperity and abundance. The doors are left open with lamps lit on doorways to usher in positive energies. The bija mantra for Lakshmi is “Shreem”. It has to be chanted whilst doing pooja to her in a ritualistic manner