Diwali is one of the most popular festivals of Hindus and is celebrated all over India with great happiness and enthusiasm. This festival of lights is celebrated by Sikhs, Hindus, Jains for various reasons, though the main theme is the triumph of light over darkness and evil. It is a five day festival where the third day is mainly celebrated as the festival of lights. Every year, Diwali is celebrated in the months of October or November based on the auspicious Hindu calendar.
Diwali- the festival of lights as it is popularly known inspires people to have faith in the power of good no matter how dark the path may be. During this four day celebration, every house is decorated with flowers, diyas and lights to symbolize the inner light that protects us from the spiritual darkness. Diwali celebration marks the last harvest of the year and since India is an agricultural society, people seek blessings of Lakhsmi and Ganesha before closing their accounting books and starting the new financial year. Today, this practice has extended and Diwali is celebrated all over the country.
The History behind the Celebration:
According to the popular legend, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya from his 14 years of exile after defeating Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lighted diyas to celebrate his return to the kingdom and hence Deepavali celebration started. Another legend says that the Pandavas from the Mahabharata also returned to their homeland after 13 years and the day is celebrated for their return. The Jains celebrate this day as they believe that Lord Mahavira attained enlightenment on this day. Whatever be the reason behind the celebration, Diwali festival is associated with the victory of light over darkness.
The five days of Diwali Celebration:
Each day of Dipawali is associated with its own tale. On the first day, housewives clean the home and wash the curtains. They also shop for gold ornaments or kitchen utensils. The second day is the time when people decorate their homes with clay diyas and even create beautiful rangolis made with flower or colored powders or sand. The third day is the main day of the festival when families and relatives gather together to perform the Lakshmi puja in the evening.
People make various mouth watering Diwali recipes and enjoy with their relatives. The next day marks the beginning of the New Year and friends and relatives meet each other with gifts and best wishes of the season. Govardhan puja is also performed on this day. On the last day of Diwali, bhai dooj is celebrated where brothers visit their sisters who perform a ceremony for their well being and offer them a lavish meal and gifts.
The burning of firecrackers and tradition of gambling in Diwali:
During the celebration, the houses are beautifully decorated with lights and diyas and children burn firecrackers. Many offices and families arrange Diwali party where gifts and sweets are exchanged. According to beliefs, it is said that the sound of firecrackers indicates that the people on earth are living with joy making the gods aware of their peaceful and plentiful condition. There is also another reason which has a more scientific basis of burning crackers. The fumes produced by the crackers are said to kill lots of mosquitoes and insects that are found in plenty after the monsoons.
Gambling also hold a place in the Diwali celebration and it is believed that Goddess Parvati played dice with Lord Shiva and she decreed that whoever will gamble on Diwali night would prosper though the entire year. This is the time to celebrate the victory of good over evil and cherish every relationship in our lives. From darkness to light, from sorrow to joy, from ignorance to knowledge, the festival of Diwali brings peace and harmony in life.
When is Diwali this year?
Deepawali is a festival that is celebrated in various parts of our country and this year it will be observed on 11th of November. So gear yourself up for the main festival at least a month before as you have lots to do like shopping for clothes, buying gifts for relatives, cleaning and decorating your house and preparing lots of Diwali food that you are going to share with your near and dear ones.