India’s grandest and most significant holiday of the year, Diwali or Deepawali, is celebrated with great zest and zeal every year.
The name of this festival has been derived from the row (Avali), of the lamps made of clay (Deepa), that are lit outside homes, offices, and roads across the country, to signify the inner light that wards off spiritual darkness.
This festival (Diwali or Deepawali) of lights is most significant to Hindus, similarly as the festival of Christmas is for the Christians. Diwali is a festival that is not only celebrated by the Hindus but also by non-Hindu communities.
In Jainism, the day commemorates the spiritual awakening, or the nirvana, of God Mahavira in the year 527 BC on October 15.
In Sikhism, it honors the freedom of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji. The Buddhists are also among the ones who celebrate this festival of lights.
The stories behind the celebration of this day are many. One of them being the return of Lord Rama, who was considered the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and his wife Sita, the incarnation of Goddess Laxmi (Lakshmi), to the kingdom of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
The day was marked by people lighting Diyas, and decorating their house, and burning firecrackers. Another story depicts the birthday of Goddess Laxmi, the day when Lord Vishnu married her. The day is also believed to mark the day when Lord Krishna defeated Narakasura and celebrated peace on earth.
Five-Day Festivities Of Diwali
The five-day festivities of Diwali begin with Dhanteras and end with Bhai Dooj:
- Dhanteras: On the first day of Diwali, devotees perform puja, keep tea lights around the entryways of their houses, and buy new utensils, which are said to bring good fortune.
- Narak Chaturdashi: Different places celebrate this day differently, but most people spend time at home and exchange sweets with their loved ones. They also decorate their homes with rangolis.
- Lakshmi Puja: The focus of all the celebrations during this festival is the auspicious day of Laxmi Puja, to worship the goddess Lakshmi. Families get dressed and come together for prayer to worship her, which is usually followed by a dinner, a display of fireworks, and much more.
- Govardhan Puja: This day commemorates Lord Krishna and the Gujarati new year. A lot of food dishes are prepared for this Puja.
- Bhaiya Dooj: The last day celebrates the bond of brothers and sisters. On this day, brothers visit their sisters and bring gifts for them.
How Is The Festival of Lights Celebrated?
The weeks leading to Diwali are generally a period for redesigning the home, purchasing new garments and jewelry, and giving presents, for example, sweets, dry fruits. This is the season for evening gatherings, food celebrations, and huge festive fairs, all of which are just the beginning of the festival of lights, Diwali.
Card playing, particularly in North India, is important for traditional festivals, and games are played around quite a long time before Diwali. People indulge in drinking and eating a lot of finger food at these gatherings, with platters of kebabs, baked barbecues, flavored sweets, and savories.
Diwali is a festival that enlightens the Earth just as the Skies and flourishes the world with happiness. It is a celebration when the entire of India rises above, the magic of lights. Deepavali, the Festival of Lights has all the appeal, greatness, and magnificence that can even enlighten our psyches and hearts while also looking after harmony, brotherhood, and tranquility concordance among the people. It is a festival that brings together every home, religion, and heart.
This year the auspicious day will be observed on October 25 (Happy Diwali 2022).