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DIWALI- INDIAN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
DIWALI- INDIAN FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
The word diwali comes from the Sanskrit word DEEPAVALI, which means a row of lamps. This festival is celebrated in almost all parts of India on a new moon night in October or November.
In north India, Diwali is a five day celebration. In Gujarat the first day, Dhanteras is the day to buy new clothes, and ornaments. The second day people celebrate the victory of lord Krishna over the demon Naraka, and the highlight of the day is ‘oil bath’. The third day is the day to worship the goddess Lakshmi- Goddess of wealth. On the fourth day the GoverdhanMountain is worshiped. The fifth day is Bhaiyedooj, when women invite brothers and their family for lunch and are given gifts in return.
History of Diwali
Diwali also celebrates the return of lord Rama to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile, and homes lit with lamps to welcome him home. In Gujarat, Diwali is the beginning of a new year, Laksmi Pooja has a key role in this celebration. In Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshiped and so it is celebrated as Kali Pooja. Diwali is a joyous celebration marked by the brilliant glow of fireworks and thousands of flickering lamps.
Diwali is basically a family festival, a time for relatives to meet and exchange sweets and gifts. New clothes, mouthwatering delicious dishes, the thunder and brilliance of fire works… all make Diwali truly India’s favourite festival!
In south India,Diwali is celebrated with many similarities.Oil bath, Lakshmi pooja, etc are there here also. Bali padyami-is another day here.It recalls the suppression of King Bali when he wanted to rule the heaven, the kingdom of gods. Calling of brothers by sisters is not in the south.
For Jains, Diwali means something extra. On this day, Bhagawan Mahaveera,the 24th Thirthankara(preceptor) ,left his physical body and attained deliverance. So long he was alive, the light radiated from his body kept the environment lightened. When he died, that light extinguished. So people lighted lamps to celebrate his salvation and also to lighten the environment.
One thing is common all over India.That is-firing of crackers in enjoyment. Children rejoice this festival much more.
Those who visit India during this festival, find extra sights to see and enjoy.
This festival now (in 2009) was celebrated from October ,from 17th to 20th.
On this occassion, diwali gifts are presented to dear ones all over the country.Diwali gifts to India, are sent by Indians living in foreign countries, to their dear ones in India.Diwali shopping , is a joyful event for family people. They purchase clothes,diwali sweets, etc, for the youngsters.Malls and shopping streets are crowded.Gifts to India from USA are also sent, as many Indians reside there.
Diwali greeting cards
Indians celebrate diwali by wishing good to their friends and relatives, by sending diwali cards.These cards are beautifully prepared by various companies.Now a days, online gifts to india is also sent by NRIs either by booking through online shopping agencies or even by sending electronic greeting cards.Diwali pictures on these cards are very beautiful and delighting.
Thus, diwali festival is ,beyond doubt, the national festival of India.Though it is a Hindu festival, people of other communities also wish the best to their Hindu counterparts.It is the festival of lights,festival of gifts, festival of sweets, and above all, festival to hearts!