Diwali the Hindu Festival of Lights
Diwali Festival of India
Diwali is the Hindu Festival of India, celebrated every year in between mid-October and mid-November. The Diwali festival rituals extend over a five-day period, The spiritual signifies of the festival is to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Diwali Festival is also known as Deepawali and festival of lights. In Nepal it's celebrated with a different ritual and known as Tihar festival.
Why Do Hindu Celebrate Diwali
Most of Hindus believe that the Diwali festival was started, since a fanfare occasion of Lord Rama the seventh avatar (incarnation of the god Vishnu). He returned back to Ayodhya (his Kingdom), after 14 years and during this, he won a battle against demon king Ravana. Hindus consider it a victory of light over darkness and good over evil. The Citizen of Ayodhya, decorated the entire city with lights and dials. And since then Diwali tradition was started.
But at some part of India, people have different trust and stories for Diwali celebration.
Hindus trusts behind, Diwali celebration
- The Victory of Lord Rama over Ravana
- The Lord Krishna killed the Narkasur
- The Narsimhawatar of Hindu god Vishnu
- Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi
- The Birthday of Goddess Lakshmi
- Overcoming of Mahabali by Lord Vishnu
- Appearance of Goddess Kali
- The Enlightenment of Swami Dayananda Saraswati & Foundation of Jain Religion
- The Return of the Pandawas
- The Coronation of Greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya
- The foundation of Golden Temple of Sikhs in year 1577
- The Foundation of Arya Samaj
- Start of Hindu New Year
- Start of Harvest cultivation in Hindu Countries
- The pleasant weather of year
The Rituals of Diwali Festival
- First Day: Dhanteras
Diwali festival starts with Dhanteras that is also called Dhan Theras or Dhanwantri, when people believe the Dhanwantri (Hindu god of wealth) appears from the sea and to invite him at their place, people clean their houses, offices, work places and decorate the entrance of house with colorful decoration called Rangoli. Also Dhanteras is a major shopping day when people purchase gold, Silver, jewelry and household items. Hindus believe that this is a birthday of god Dhanwantri and goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity).
- Second Day: Choti Diwali (Mini Diwali)
The second day is celebrated as mini Diwali and also known as Narak Chatursashi. Hindus believe in this day, the god Vishnu and the goddess Kali killed the daemon called Asuras and a mini Diwali celebration and prayer is done at home and they decorated houses with lights.
- Third Day: Lakshmi Puja
The third day of the festival is a precious day when Hindus decorate their house with Rangoli, lights and lit the Diyas at their house, worship the goddess Lakshmi and wear new dresses. According to Hindus trust on 3rd day of Diwali Goddess Laxmi roam on earth and blesses for of wealth and prosperity.
Also, purchasing the sweets and distributing among family members, friends is very popular. And the bad part of this festival is some, people believe gambling and winning amount in gamble can give them blessing of goddess Laxmi, and now days it’s been popular in young generation, though it has no spiritual or traditional trust.
- Fourth Day:
Govardhan Puja (Mainly in Cantral and Northern India)
The Hindu believes an ancient story when Lord Krishna introduced this worship to his kingdom and since then it’s accepted as a tradition in the northern Indian states and similar prayers made in Nepal and some other Hindu countries. Hindus decorate and pamper their cattle and at some place they spread Cow dung outside of the house, Cow dung has many religious and Ayurvedic importance in Hinduism.
Padwa and Balipratipada
This day is celebrated and represent the love and devotion between husband and wives. On fourth day of frestival, wife get gifts from husband and at some places newly married girls and her husband will be invited by parents for dinner.
And Hindus new year start from this day.
- Fifth Day: Bhai Dooj
The fifth day of Diwali festival is devoted to respect the relation of brother and sister and known as Bhai Tika or Bhai Dooj. On the fourth day, the brothers gave gifts to sisters and promise for their safeguard. According to ancient story Yama (The god of death) visited on earth on this day to meet with his sister Yamuna and gave a shine to her sister the person who will visit to her sister on this day will be enlightened from sins.
Rituals and Trust to celebrate Diwali by other Religions
For Hindus, Diwali is the most celebrated festival and it’s a national festival and official Holiday in all over India, but the spiritual implication to celebrate Diwali varies regionally within India. It’s a five day celebrated for Hindus, by worshiping goddess Laxmi. But the Hindus from eastern India (Bengali Community) worship the goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi and call the festival Kali Puja and Nepali Hindus celebrate it at Tihar festival. Diwali is celebrated in other countries also, where Hindus are in majority. It’s an official celebration in the countries- Fiji, Guyana, Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago and Indonesia.
Sikhs celebrate Diwali as Bandi Choor Divas (Means, the day when they became independent), that was started since Sikh Guru Har Govind Singh freed himself from the Mughals, along with some other Hindu kings. It’s also a victory celebration against Mughal king Jahangir and it’s a day for them taken as annual meet to discuss the concerns of the Sikh Community.
The religious significance of Diwali in Jainism is, the last Tirthankar of Jain religion the Lord Mahavira got nirvana on this day and they celebrate this day to remember their Lord and do prayers and distribute sweets.
The Newar Buddhist community of Nepal and Theravada Buddhist community from Myanmar and celebrate Diwali. In Nepal Buddhist call it Hindu Diwali-Tihar, They celebrate it for five days and do the worship of Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu. And in Mayanmar Diwali is celebrated as Thadingyut Festival and the Tazaungdaing festival, they worship at Burmese pagodas and do the decorate home and temples with lights.
Indian Dishes During Festival,
Sweets have its own importance during festivals in India, especially at Diwali. People distribute sweets among friends, family on this occasion and this time you may find lots of varieties of sweets. Certainly this is the best time to enjoy different variety of delicious sweets in India. Some sweets are available all over in India, but some sweets and dishes are available only in few cities, if you like sweet dishes you may refer this picture to find specialty sweets around your place in India.
Sweets of IndiaClick thumbnail to view full-size
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