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Deepavali (Deepawali), the Festival of Lights with photos

Updated on September 9, 2016

Deepavali is an important festival of India. It is also known as Diwali. This festival is celebrated with decorative illuminations and fireworks. Deepavali literally means festival of lights. Different myths are associated with this glittering festival, but the central theme of all myths is that Good wins over Evil.

Deepavali Firecrackers and Deepavali Sweets

Deepavali firecrackers
Deepavali firecrackers
All Photos courtesy: flickr
All Photos courtesy: flickr

How Deepavali festival is Celebrated?

Deepavali is a 3-day festival in South India, and in north India it is celebrated for 5 days, with each day having its own religious significance.

1) Dhan-trayodashi - the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month. It is an auspicious day for shopping, and it is the beginning of the festivities. After a thorough cleaning, houses are decorated with colorful rangoli, and the first day of Deepavali.

2) Naraka Chaturdasi - Lord Krishna is said to have killed the demon Narakasura, on this day. The family members awake at Brahma Muhurtham (4 a.m) and starts taking oil bath one by one, and everyone finishes before the sunrise.Then prayers are offered for the destruction of sins and evils, bursting crackers.

3) Amavasya - Third day of Deepavali, the darkest day of the year. After having an oil bath, the family members worship Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. The houses are adorned with diyas (deepas) to welcome Goddess Lakshmi in. Business people worship Goddess Lakshmi, their account books, and cash boxes.

4) Balipadyami - Lord Vishnu, in the form of Vamana, stamped Asura King Bali and sent him to the netherworld. His request to see his people once a year was sanctioned. This day is celebrated as his annual visiting day. It is believed that purchases made on this day bring prosperity. In Karnataka, holige (a sweet dish) is made as a customary dish. On this day, the employers distribute sweets and gifts to their employees, as a part of their Diwali celebration.

5) Bhayiduj or Yamadvitiya - It is a significant festive day for the married sisters to meet their brothers.

It is believed that River goddess Yamuna invited her brother Lord Yama on this day for dinner and also offered him sweets, and he then blessed all brothers who eat at their sister's house on this day.


Deepavali Rituals and Celebration

Diwali is a unique confluence of happiness, bliss, and prosperity. In Southern India, Naraka Chaturdashi is very important and burst firecrackers at the dawn. Deepavali celebration in Tamil Nadu is to commemorate the killing of Narakasura, the demon king, by Lord Krishna. In Karnataka, it is called as Bali Paadyami to mark the annual visit of King Bali to see his people. For some, Diwali celebration is the joyous return of Lord Rama, to his kingdom, after a long 14 years of exile. They also consider this occasion as the Festival of Wealth and Prosperity. In South India, especially in Tamil Nadu, people greet each other by asking "Have you performed your Ganga Snaanam?".

In some parts, they believe that departed souls return during this time. As a mark of respect to them, their favorite foods are prepared and placed on banana leaves before photographs of the departed and offer prayers to them.

People of India celebrate Deepavali in different ways. Some celebrate it with great excitement and enthusiasm, buying many gifts, sweets, and gold ornaments, for their dear ones, bursting crackers, lighting diyas and sparkles in their houses. For some others, it is a time for doing good things for the humankind. They celebrate it with orphans and the less fortunate, by giving them good food, sweets, dresses, crackers and sparklers, bringing some smiles on their faces. Some of them even forego their new dresses for Deepavali, and other enjoyment, to help the less fortunate on this important day.

In the nights of this Festival of Lights, the cities and villages of India will be illuminated with colorful electrical bulbs, diyas , sparklers, and flaming lights of fireworks, creating kaleidoscopic designs,and it is beautiful to see the colorful India in her festive mood.


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    • mabmiles profile image

      mabmiles 6 years ago

      Awesome hub and photos!Thanks for sharing.

    • lex123 profile image
      Author

      lex123 7 years ago

      Thanks Rik Ravado for your visit and fantastic comment. Deepavali celebrations can be seen in many parts of the world, where there is an Asian community. In London, it is a highly celebrated event among Asian community.

    • Rik Ravado profile image

      Rik Ravado 7 years ago from England

      Really interesting Hub - My daughter lived in Ealing until recently near London where there is a big Asian community and there are fantastic Diwali celebrations in Southall thanks for the background information.

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