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Diwali - Hindu Festival of Lights - Festivals of India

Updated on January 13, 2021
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Diwali 2021

Diwali this year is on 4 November 2021

Lighting On The Occasion Of Diwali Festival
Lighting On The Occasion Of Diwali Festival | Source

Overview

Diwali also called Deepawali, is a festival of India, especially celebrated by Hindus where ever they may reside. People from other castes too celebrate it with vigour, though for different reasons. But for whatever reasons it is celebrated the fervour in people at all times is at a high pitch.

Besides India, Diwali festival is celebrated in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, Myanmar, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago And Fiji.

It is one of the most celebrated festivals, marked by the illumination of homes, offices, workplaces, etc, and bursting of firecrackers. In the good old days bursting of crackers would start almost a month before Diwali.

Diwali is celebrated when the new moon is seen, sometime between mid-October to mid-November. The dates keep changing every year because the lunar calendar is followed.

Earthen lamps are filled with oil and lighted to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The lamps are kept lighted at night along with the illuminations and bursting of crackers, into the wee hours of the morning. Garlands made of mango leaves and marigold flowers are hung in the doorways.

Diyas (earthen lamps) being lit on Diwali
Diyas (earthen lamps) being lit on Diwali | Source

Diwali- A Five Day celebration

Diwali festival is in fact a conglomeration of 5 events... one event or occasion being celebrated each day.

First Day - The first day of Diwali is Dhanteras day. People buy utensils on this day as also some ornaments of gold or silver, hoping that this would bring them good luck.

In the evening earthen lamps are lit and Laxmi Puja is performed-the Goddess Laxmi(Goddess of wealth) is worshipped for prosperity.

Second Day - This is the day prior to Diwali also called Choti Diwali day (small Diwali day). It is also known as Naraka Chaturdashi day. Naraka was a demon who was killed by Lord Krishna and this day celebrates the killing of the demon.

Third Day - This is Diwali day. People get dressed in new clothes. Sweets and gifts are given to relatives and friends. In the evening Laxmi Puja is performed( Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth, is worshipped). This day also marks the last day of the financial year for businessmen. New account books are worshipped on this day and the new financial year starts on the next day, the fourth day, also called Padwa day.

Colorful Rangoli drawn on the floor
Colorful Rangoli drawn on the floor | Source
Garlands For Diwali Made Of Marigold Flowers
Garlands For Diwali Made Of Marigold Flowers | Source

Rangoli- a colourful floral pattern is drawn on the floor near the entrance to the home to welcome guests and the Goddess Laxmi.

Homes, offices, workplaces, etc, are illuminated with lights from outside and inside and doors and windows of homes are kept open in the hope that Goddess Laxmi only visits homes having their doors open.

Many people especially those rich have made a ritual of gambling on this day, by playing cards, believing that gambling today will bring them prosperity all the year.

Fourth Day - It is called Govardhan Puja day and Padwa( New Year) day. It is the first day of the new year. Govardhan Puja (worship of Govardhan) also is done today. Lord Krishna is worshipped on this day. Legend has it that Lord Krishna lifted the mountain Govardhan to save the people from the deluge caused by incessant rains and hence on this day Govardhan Puja is done.

Fifth Day - Bhai Dooj Day (sisters' day). On this day, brothers visit their sisters' homes, partake food, give gifts expressing love and affection and enquire about their welfare.

The fifth day marks the end of the 5 days of Diwali festival celebrations.

Diwali Sweets
Diwali Sweets | Source
Fireworks Display During Diwali
Fireworks Display During Diwali | Source

Some Important Historical Events Associated With The Diwali Festival

1. Lord Rama returned home after 14 years of exile and vanquishing Raavana in war.

2. Narakasura, the demon was killed by Lord Krishna.

3. The Pandavas returned home after 13 years of exile which includes 1 year of living incognito.

4. Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana or Eternal bliss on this day.

5. This day has a special significance for Sikhs. The 6th Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji was released from Gwalior prison. He refused to leave until the other 52 imprisoned princes too were released, compelling the authorities to release them too. A condition was attached however that as many as could hold on to the cloak of Guruji would be released. Guruji got stitched a special cloak having 52 tails one each for a prisoner and this way all the 52 princes could come out holding 1 tail.

Sikhs celebrate this day as Bandi Chorrh day or the day of freedom of the imprisoned.

6. In Bengal Diwali is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Kali- the goddess of strength.

Diwali is the most enthusiastically, nationwide celebrated festival. People from all walks of life get together forgetting cast, creed, religion and background differences and come together to share love and joy.

Diwali festivity is a sight to watch and experience through nowadays the old pomp and splendour is not very evident because of the economic crunch faced by everyone. Still, parents have to give in to the demands of the children and one can see children especially, celebrating Diwali by bursting crackers without care.

Sweets and other food prepared during Diwali.

Raw Papaya Halwa

Malpua Recipe - Diwali & Holi Festival Recipe

© 2011 Rajan Singh Jolly

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