Diwali - The Festival of Lights
Diwali or Deepavali
Diwali is the festival of lights - both literally and symbolically. It is a time to celebrate
by lighting the traditional lamps (diyas) in the courtyard of your house or decorate the
balcony of your home with candles or even electric lights. Symbolically, it is a time to
infuse one's inner being with light and drive away the negative energies of sloth, anger and
Thus Diwali is the time to celebrate, to shop, to clean and decorate the house. It is the time
for lanterns, rangolis, door hangings and clay lamps. Time to enjoy the fireworks with family
and indulge in sweet and savory snacks. It is also the time to seek the blessings of Goddess
Lakshmi (Goddess of Prosperity). But most of all, Diwali is the time for hope - when each one
of us lights a small lamp and as thousands of homes lit-up, even the dark - no-moon-night of
Diwali becomes the most radiant night and blesses our inner world with auspiciousness.
India is a diverse country with numerous languages and communities having their own festivals.
Even though Diwali is most widely celebrated across the country, the traditions of celebration
differs from place to place. In this lens, I will write about Diwali as I know and feel it.
Five days of Diwali
Yes, Diwali is a five day long festival.
These days are according to the lunar calendar and sometimes 2 of them can fall on same day.
Dhan teras or Dhan trayodashi (Dhan=wealth and teras or trayodashi = 13th day of lunar fortnight) - This day is mainly celebrated by the business community. For us, it meant the beginning of Diwali and lighting a few lamps in the evening.
Narak chaturdashi (chaturdashi= 14th day of lunar fortnight) - It is believed that on this day, Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasur.
Lakshmi Poojan - Main day of Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshiped on this day.
Bali pratipada or padva - First day of the new year. One of the 3 and 1/2 auspicious days in the year.
Bhai dooj or Bhau beej - The second day of the lunar fortnight. Sisters pray for brother's well being and brothers give gift to their sisters.
Celebrating Diwali With Rangoli
The colorful floor designs
Rangoli is an art form in India. These are the designs drawn with white and colored fine sand or rice flour in front of the doors.
In old days, every morning, women made rangoli in front of the house. This tradition continues in some households even today. Many others make rangolis at least on holidays and special occasions.
In our house, we used to make small rangoli designs from a few days before diwali. On the day of Diwali, we made a special and bigger design. Then we visited the neighbors to see each other's rangolis. In addition to the big rangoli in front door, small rangolis were made at all other doors of house and also at the place of pooja (worship).
Rangoli fun video - A family having fun with rangoli
Celebrating Diwali With Akash Diva
Akash diva or akash kandil are the lanterns hung outside house. You can either buy them or if you like crafts, you can make yourself.
Here are easy step by step instructions on how to make akash diva.
Celebrating Diwali With Toran
The flower and leaves door hangings
Bright yellow, orange and red marigold flowers bloom at the time of Diwali. It is also the season of chrysanthemum flowers. These flowers and the dark green leaves of mango trees are part of the festival. Markets are full of heaps of flowers and mango leaves on the morning of Diwali.
We were lucky to have a garden with marigold. Mother used to give us the duty of collecting flowers and making the torans (hangings) for doors and malas (garlands) for the Gods and Goddesses.
How to greet on Diwali?
In English, Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit
"Shubha Deepawali" is a Sanskrit greeting. However, as many Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit, it can be used in other languages too. More specifically, in Hindi you can say "Deepawali ki shubhakamanaye", in Marathi "Diwalichya shubhechha", both mean "best wishes for Diwali". The English greeting "Happy Diwali" is also commonly used.
As the day after Diwali marks new year as per Hindu calendar, happy new year is also wished with Diwali greetings.
Diwali Greeting Cards
on Greeting Card Universe
Now also available are custom photo and custom text cards. So personalize your Diwali cards this year with your photo!!!