Diwali, Deepavali, Deepotsav – many names for India’s biggest, most widely celebrated festival.
A religious and social festival symbolic of joy and wealth that is celebrated with pomp and full gusto in every part of India, cutting across regions and dialects, across the length and breadth of our nation.
Diwali, an integral part of Hindu culture presents an auspicious occasion to rejoice with family, rejuvenate oneself spiritually, connect with India’s rich cultural past and traditions and invest in valuable assets like gold.
Let’s explore what Diwali signifies and how the festival that has captured the imagination of Indians across generations, is celebrated.
With the wait finally over and the festive season just around the corner, families across India are gearing up to celebrate the grandest festival of all – Diwali. Diwali is one the most important Hindu festivals celebrated on Amavasya or the no-moon night on the fifteenth day of the month of Kartika as per the Hindu calendar. This year Diwali falls on:
Diwali is a five-day joyous celebration where family and friends come together to strengthen the spirit of cultural oneness and invoke the Divine in various forms across India.
Throughout the 5 days, Hindu homes are decorated with bright lights and gleaming Diyas, the home-Mandirs look grand with the lavish decoration of flowers and auspicious items, the kitchen is full of mouth-watering traditional Indian sweet treats, savouries and delicacies, the lively chatter of the visiting friends and family members builds life-long memories to be cherished and the sound of crackers echo along with the gleeful laughter of children, making the most of the festival celebrations.
The history of Diwali is deeply rooted and closely interconnected with India’s rich tradition and ancient culture.
In India, there is a deep meaning attached to every festival.
Each one must try to understand the associated teachings and imbibe those valuable learnings into their lives via the festivals.
Diwali represents the victory of good over evil and guides us to adopt the light of knowledge, follow the path of enlightenment and exhort us to move away from the darkness of ignorance.
The 5-day Diwali celebration is a culmination of multiple festivals across regions, with each having its own cultural importance. Broadly, the 5 days comprise the following:
Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi marks the start of the 5-day Diwali festival.
As per the Hindu calendar, Dhanteras falls on the thirteenth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Kartik.
This was the day Shri Dhanvantari, the God of Health emerged from the divine ocean with the Amrit Kalash during the Samudra Manthan. Buying gold on this auspicious day is believed to attract good fortune.
Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi is the 2nd day of the 5-day Deepavali Mahotsav that falls on the fourteenth day of the Krishna Paksha in the month of Kartik.
People celebrate this day by lighting diyas, consuming sweets and bursting firecrackers.
Diwali is celebrated in honour of the return of Shri Ram Ji to Ayodhya and to observe the origin day of Sri Lakshmi Devi.
As per tradition, residents across India light up diyas, burst crackers, adorn themselves with ornaments and draw colourful Rangolis.
By performing Puja ceremonies and buying gold, devotees seek the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.
Govardhan Puja is performed in honour of Shri Krshn Ji who held the Govardhan Hill on His little left finger for 7 days and 7 nights and protected the residents of Vraj from the fury of Indra.
Indra, the Rain god, mercilessly tried to deluge the region of Vraj in Uttar Pradesh but his attempts were rendered futile by the divine power of Shri Krshn Ji.
On this day, a grand puja is performed with lavish 56 varieties of delicious savouries called Chappan Bhog that is offered as Prasad during the Annakoot puja.
The Deity of Shri Krshn Ji at home and in Mandirs are bathed with milk and adorned with new clothes and jewellery.
Bhai Dooj stands as a reinforcement of the sacred bond of unconditional affection between siblings i.e. sisters and brothers.
It is celebrated with great enthusiasm on the last day of the 5-day Deepotsav.
On this day, sisters apply Tilak of good luck on the foreheads of their brothers and present coconut with kalawa thread.
Brothers present gifts to their sisters and both feed sweets to each other. On this day, after killing the cruel demon Narakasura, Shri Krshn Ji visited His sister Subhadra and was warmly welcomed by her with a Tilak of victory and sweets.
Another incident relates to Yama, the god of death, who visited his sister Yamuna on this day. Across the nation, Bhai Dooj is celebrated with different names namely:
Here’s a look at how Diwali is celebrated in certain regions of India:
Diwali is celebrated in every part of India.
Though the external flavour of the festival differs, the intrinsic nature remains the same – a time of spiritual rejuvenation and cultural celebration, bonding with family and most importantly purchase of valuable items like gold that bring good luck to the family.
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