Welcoming positive energy and carrying an air of togetherness with it is the most auspicious time of the year, Diwali Festival 2020. Mostly celebrated in the months of October and November, this festival of lights coexists with the Hindu New Year. Moreover, the festivities are enjoyed by not just Hindus but Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists living across the globe. Crowded streets, homes decorated with fairy lights and scented flowers, kids rushing with firecrackers is the general view around the time of Diwali. Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped on the 3rd day, where devotees celebrate the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. On Diwali, diyas are lighted up, delicious meals are made, gifts are offered to loved ones and fireworks are enjoyed by families. To know more about Diwali and the customs followed, click here.
Importance of the Festival
One of the most awaited celebrations in the Hindu Festivals Calendar, Diwali marks the triumph of good over evil. According to the legend that is followed widely in India from the Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Rama returned to his homeland, Ayodhya after the exile of 14 years with Laxman and Sita. Lord Rama also defeated the King of Lanka, Ravan who took away Sita by deceit on this day and came back to his abode. To celebrate the return of Lord Rama, his kingdom lighted up oil lamps which signified victory of light over darkness; which till date is a tradition in homes.
Moreover, the legend behind Goddess Laxmi being worshipped on the 4th day of the festivities is that the deity was born out of the ‘drink of immortality’ which was basically the ocean the demons and Lords were churning. Hence, homes are decorated with rangoli, the padukas (footsteps) of Goddess Laxmi are made as the day is denoted as the birth of the Goddess of Wealth.
Take a look at some of the important celebrations that take place for 5 days during Diwali
Dhanteras: It is with Dhanteras, that the celebrations of Diwali begin in every home of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. Dhanteras denotes a special meaning where ‘Dhan’ means wealth and ‘teras’ refers to the 13th lunar day falling in the month of Karthik. This is the day when Goddess Laxmi is offered prayers and diyas(clay lamps) are lighted up to honor her. Along with the Goddess, Dhanvantari who is the God of Ayurveda is also worshipped. Homes are thoroughly cleaned and decorated with flowers, buying new utensils, gold and silver are brought on Dhanteras.
Choti Diwali: Some call it Choti Diwali others call it Naraka Chaturdashi, this day is celebrated on the 14th day of Krishna Paksha in the Vikram Samvat in the month of Karthik. Legend has it, that this was the day when Krishna, Kali, and Satyabhama killed the demon Narakasura.
Laxmi Puja: This is the third and most important day of Diwali festival where Goddess Laxmi is revered and offered love and prayers by devotees. It is also referred as the Hindu New Year and the day when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after spending 14 years whereas others believe that the Pandavas after the exile of 13 years returned to Hastinapur. Homes are cleaned and given a new look, people decorate their entrance with rangoli, flowers and small oil lamps. If you want to know how Diwali is celebrated in different parts of India, read this blog.
Govardhan Puja: This day is solely devoted in the worship of Lord Krishna and is applauded for his divine blessings. According to the Bhagavata Purana, it is believed that Lord Krishna protected the villagers of Vrindavan from rain by lifting the Govardhan Hill. And this is why food in the shape of a mountain is offered to the Lord which symbolizes that God protects its worshippers and keep them safe.
Bhai Dooj: Bhai Dooj celebrates the true bond of love between brother and sister. This day marks the end of the 5-day celebration of Diwali. On this day, brothers and sisters relish each others presence, exchange gifts and share meals with each other.
How to celebrate India’s biggest festival?
Enjoy Shopping: Any festival celebrated in India cannot be complete without shopping. And when its Diwali, the decorated malls, and shopping areas know how to pull people towards its exclusive offers. Shopping is one of the top things to do during Diwali as people like to not just renovate their homes but also buy new clothes which is an age-old custom.
Making Rangoli: To give a more traditional touch, rangoli and paduka(footmarks) of Goddess Laxmi are drawn on the entrance of homes on Diwali. It is another important way to add colours and joy to the festival as rangoli is symbolic of the sacred way of inviting the Goddess to cast her blessings.
Giving Gifts: As the harvest season bids goodbye, Diwali comes in with its charm and spreads happiness. The thought behind giving gifts to loved ones on Diwali, whether it be home-made sweets, chocolates or utensils, is to bring strengthen their bond and spread peace and prosperity.
Doing Charity: Apart from giving gifts to loved ones, offering sweets, clothes and other essentials to the underprivileged is another great thing people can do during Diwali. Buying greetings and goodies that NGOs prepare for the festive season is another such way to show kindness and support to them.
Offer Prayers at Temple with Family: It’s the traditions and rituals that bind families together, and Diwali is one such festival to celebrate hopes for the coming year. Along with cleaning home and making preparations for performing puja, you can also choose to visit temples and seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi for the well-being of your family.
Promote Pollution-Free Diwali: There are so many ways to rejoice on Diwali without harming the environment and keeping it safe. Avoiding firecrackers and spreading the same message not only helps in tackling problems related to breathing, land and noise pollution but also avoids the threat it causes to animals.
As you light up your homes and spread love and prosperity, we hope that your Diwali celebrations are fun-filled and extravagant.
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