Diwali, a religious festival of lots of rangoli decorations using variety of colored powder, a festival of lights and happiness, a festival of removing darkness, a festival of sweets, a festival of puja, and etc which is celebrated all over the India as well as outside the country at many places. It is also known as the row of lights or the festival of lights. It is mostly celebrated by the Hindus and Jains all across the world. At this day there is a national holiday in many countries such as the India, Tobago, Singapore, Surinam, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia and Fiji.
It is a five days (Dhanteras, Naraka Chaturdasi, Amavasya, Kartika Shudda Padyami, Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj) Hindu festival begins at the Dhanteras (first day of festival in the month of Ashwin) and ends at the Bhau-beej (last day of festival in the month of Kartik). The date of the Diwali festival is determined by the Hindu Lunisolar calendar. It is celebrated very happily by decorating homes with lots of lights, diyas, candles, fireworks, reading arti, distributing gifts, sweets, greeting card, sending sms messages, making rangolis, playing games, eating delicious foods, hugging each other and many other activities.
Thursday, 19th of October
Dhanteras Date: at Tuesday, 17th of October 2017.
Naraka Chaturdashi (Chhoti Diwali) Date: at Wednesday, 18th of October 2017.
Lakshmi Puja (Main Diwali) Date: at Thursday, 19th of October 2017.
Bali Pratipada or Govardhan Puja Date: at Friday, 20th of October 2017.
Yama Dwitiya or Bhaiduj Date: at Saturday, 21st of November 2017.
Celebrating festivals and offering puja to Gods bring us from darkness to light, give power to us to do good endeavor and work and bring us much closer to the divinity. Lighting diyas and candle all around the houses enlighten the every corner. It is considered as the festival never completes without puja and exchanging gift to near and dear ones. People do puja at the evening of festival in order to get the divine blessings from God. Diwali festival brings the most beautiful and peaceful time of the year which offers the real joy of moment in the life of human beings.
A national holiday is declared at the festival of Diwali so that everyone can enjoy the festival together with their friends and family. People wait for this festival from a long time and when it come closer they clean their houses, offices, rooms, garage, whitewashing, issue new checkbooks, diaries and calendars in offices. They believe that they will get peace and prosperity in their life by thorough cleaning and celebrating this festival. The real meaning of the cleaning is the cleaning of the every corner of the heart from all the bad thoughts, selfishness and sights about others.
Businessmen check their balance sheet to known their expenditure and profit of the year. Teachers check the performance and progress of their students for any subjects. People make friendship to everybody and remove enmity by sharing gifts. College students offer Diwali greeting cards, messages and sms to their family members, friends and relatives. Recently, sending Diwali eCards or Diwali SMS through internet is the most popular trends. At some places in India Diwali Mela helds where people go and enjoy by buying new clothes, handicrafts, artworks, wall hangings, posters of Ganesha and Lakshmi, rangoli, jewelry and other needed things of their home.
Children of the home are used of watching funny animation movie, visiting the zoo with their friends, sing Diwali poems, songs and aarti with their parents, blast fireworks at night, lit diyas and candles, give handmade Diwali greeting cards, play board games. Mothers at home make rangoli in the center of rooms, new and attractive sweets, prepare new recipes and dishes like Gujia, laddo, Gulab Jamun, Jalebi, Peda and many things.
When Diwali is Celebrated
Diwali is celebrated at 13th lunar day of the Krishna paksha (also known as the dark fortnight) according to the Hindu calendar in the month of Ashwin. It is traditionally celebrated every year between the mid October and mid November, 18 days after the Dussehra festival. It is the most important festival of the year for the Hindu.
Diwali celebrations comes every year with a lot of happiness and completes over five days from Dhanteras to Bhaiduj. At some places such as Maharashtra it completes over six days (starts with Vasu Baras or Govatsa Dwadashi and ends with Bhai Duj).
Why Diwali is Celebrated
Diwali is celebrated every year by the Hindu and many other religions as a main festival of the year. According to the Hindu mythology, Diwali festival has many reasons to celebrate it and it plays a great role in the human life to freshly start their new year. People beliefs that what they do at the festival of Diwali they will do that for whole year. That’s why people do good work, do more shopping at Dhanteras, lighten the every corner of their home with lamps, distribute sweets, make friendship, offer puja to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi to get peace and prosperity, take well and healthy diet, eat luxurious food, decorate their home and other activities so that they can do all that for whole year. Teacher take regular classes, students practice their study for more hours at Diwali, businessmen take care of their accounts very well ad etc to maintain for the whole year. According to the Hindu Mythology, these are the following mythological, legendary and historical reasons of why do we celebrate Diwali:
Return and Victory of Lord Rama: According to the great Hindu epic, Ramayana, Lord Rama had returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya after a long period of time (14 years) on the new moon day in the month of Kartik with wife Sita and brother Lakshman after vanquishing the demon king Ravana as well as conquering his kingdom Lanka. The people of the Ayodhya were very happy with the coming of their dearest and mankind King Rama with his wife and brother. So they had celebrated the returning day of the Rama by decorating their home and entire kingdom with the earthen lamps and firing crackers.
Birthday of Goddess Lakshmi: Goddess Lakshmi is Owner of wealth and prosperity. It is considered that Goddess Lakshmi had came into the universe on the new moon day (known as Amavasya) in the month of Kartik month after the long churning of the ocean of milk (ksheer Sagar) by the group of Demon and God. That’s why, that day was started being celebrated as the festival of Diwali to commemorate the birthday of Mata Lakshmi.
Lord Vishnu Saved Lakshmi: According to the Hindu Mythology, once there was a great demon king Bali who wanted to become the owner of all three Bali Loka (Earth, Sky and Patal) as he was booned by the Lord Vishnu to have unlimited power. There was only poverty all over the world on the earth as all the wealth was detained by the king Bali. Lord Vishnu had to save all the three Loka (in his Vamana avatar, 5th incarnation) and Lakshmi from his prison to continue the rule of the universe made by God. From then, that day was started being celebrating as a victory of God over the evil power and rescuing the goddess of wealth.
Lord Krishna Killed Narakaasur: A day before the main Diwali is known as the Naraka Chaturdashi. A long ago there was demon king Narakaasur (ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram) who had tortured the people and arrested around 16000 women in his prison. Lord Krishna (8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) had saved the life of all those women from the custody of Narakaasur by killing him. From that day, it is celebrated to commemorate the victory of truth over the evil power.
Return of the Pandavas to Kingdom: According to the great Hindu epic, Mahabharata, Pandavas had returned to their Virata kingdom at the Amavashya in the month of Kartik after the long period (12 years) of banishment. They got exile for 12 years after got defeated by the Kauravas in the game of dice (gambling). The people of the kingdom of Pandavas were very happy for coming kingdom of the Pandavas and started celebrating the returning day of the Pandavas by lighting the earthen lamps and firing crackers.
Coronation of Vikramaditya: Raja Vikramaditya was a great Hindu king was coroneted at the special day which was then celebrated historically as the Diwali.
Special Day for the Arya Samaj: Maharshi Dayananda was the great Hindu reformer as well as the founder of Arya Samaj and achieved his nirvana at the new moon day in the month of Kartik. From that day it was being celebrated as Diwali to commemorate this special day.
Special Day for the Jains: Mahavir Tirthankar who had founded the modern Jainism, attained his nirvana on the special day which is commemorated as Diwali in the Jainism.
Marwari New Year: According to the Hindu calendar, Marwari celebrate their new year at the great Hindu festival Diwali at the last day of Krishna Paksha of Ashvin.
New Year for Gujrati: According to the Lunar calendar, Gujrati also celebrate their new year a day after the Diwali at the 1st day of Shukla paksha in the month of Kartik.
Special Day for the Sikhs: Amar Das (third Sikh Guru) had traditionalized the Diwali as their Red-Letter Day at which all Sikhs get together to get the blessings of their Gurus. The establishment of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was also done on Diwali in the year 1577. Hargobind Ji (6th Sikh Guru) was released from the Gwalior fort from the custody of Mughal Emperor, Jahengir in the year 1619.
In 1999, Pope John Paul II had performed the extraordinary Eucharist (about festival of light) in the year 1999 in the Indian church by putting the tilak on his forehead. That is then commemorated as Diwali.
Diwali is the festival of cultural, religious and spiritual significance (means the awareness and celebration of the inner light) for Hindus. According to the Hindu mythology it is believed that there is something which is pure, never-ending, unchanging and eternal beyond our physical body as well as mind called Atman. People celebrate Diwali to enjoy the triumph of truth over the sin.
History of Diwali
Historically, the Hindu festival Diwali is being celebrated from long years from the ancient in India when people were celebrating it as their important harvest festival. However, some celebrate it with the belief of the marriage of Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Bengalis celebrate this festival by worshipping their Goddess Mother Kali (dark goddess of strength). Hindu celebrates this auspicious festival by worshipping their Lord of wisdom Ganesha (elephant-headed God) and Mata Lakshmi (Mother of wealth and prosperity). According to the mythology it is considered the origin of Diwali in this way; at this day the Goddess Lakshmi had came out from the ocean of milk (Ksheer Sagar) after a long churning by demon and God. She was brought to the universe for the mankind to offer people the wealth and prosperity. To welcome and honor her, people had performed Lakshmi puja and prayer. They were very happy so they had distributed sweets and gifts to each other.
The festival of Diwali is of five days festival, each day of Diwali has its own story and legends.
- The first day of Diwali is known as Dhanteras which means the coming of wealth and prosperity to home. People buy utensils, silver or gold coin or other things and bring those to home in the myth coming wealth to home.
- The 2nd day of Diwali is known as Naraka Chaturdasi which is celebrated in the myth of defeating the demon Narakasura by the Hindu God Lord Krishna.
- The third day of Diwali is known as Amavasya which is celebrated in the myth of worshipping Hindu Goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) who fulfills all the wishes.
- The fourth day of Diwali is known as Bali Pratipada which has the story of Lord Vishnu who had defeated the demon king Bali in his Vamana avatar. Bali was great king but gradually he became greedy about ruling the earth as he was booned for having unlimited power by the Lord Vishnu. Govardhan Puja is also celebrated at this day in the myth of Lord Krishna had defeated the proud Indra for his intolerable work.
- The fifth day of Diwali is known as Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj which is celebrated in the myth of Lord of death “Yama” and his sister Yami. People commemorate this day for the love and affection of brother and sister for each other.
People enjoy having yummy sweets, lighting the lamps for sparkling Diwali celebration. The festival is being celebrated for ages in the India and outside the country. The tradition of celebrating Diwali is older than the history of our country. The history of origin of Diwali in India involves various kinds of legends as well as mythological tales which are written in the ancient Hindu scriptures known as Puranas. It’s not very easy to identify the accurate reason behind the historical origin of the Diwali. There are many historical originations of the Diwali according to the ancient history.
The most famous and well known history after celebrating Diwali is noted in the great Hindu epic, Ramayana. According to it, Rama came back to his kingdom after living a long life in the forest for 14 years. There was the great purpose behind the exile of the Rama to kill the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. People of Ayodhya had celebrated the returning of their Lord Rama to his kingdom. From that year it became the great Hindu tradition to celebrate every year.
Another great story associated to the Diwali history is written in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata which reveals that five Pandav brothers known as Pandavas had returned to their kingdom, Hastinapura on Kartik Amavashya after 12 years of exile and one year of Aghyatvas as they got defeated by the kauravas in the game gambling. They were welcomed by the common public of the Hastinapura by lighting dazzling earthen lamps everywhere in the kingdom. Celebrating Diwali is believed as commemorating the homecoming of Pandavas.
Other legendary history behind celebrating the Diwali is the birth of the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi from the ocean. According to the Hindu scriptures, a long ago there was need to churn the ocean by both Devas and Asuras in order to get Amrita (the nectar of immortality) and navratnas. The Goddess Lakshmi (daughter of king of milky ocean) arose on the new moon day of the month of Kartik which got married to the Lord Vishnu. That event is commemorated annually in the form of Diwali festival.
According to the sacred Hindu text, Bhagavata Purana, Lord Vishnu had defeated a powerful demon king ruling the earth; Bali in his Vamana avatar to save all three Lokas. Lord Vishnu approached to him and asked to take 3 feet place. Bali said yes, so Lord Vishnu had measured all three Lokas in his three feet place. Diwali is celebrated every year to remember this victory over evil power.
Another history according to the Bhagavata Purana, there was powerful, cruel and terrible demon king, Narakasura who conquered both the heavens and the earth. He was killed by the Hindu God Lord Krishna in order to recue many women who were locked by the demon. People were very happy by the killing of Narakasura and celebrated that event with much joy. Now it is traditionally believed to remember through the annual ceremony of Diwali.
Another legendary history behind celebrating the Diwali is, a long ago there a demon who defeated all the Gods in the battle and detained the whole earth and heaven. Then Goddess Kali had taken birth from the forehead of Goddess Durga in order to save the Gods, heaven and earth. After killing demons she had lost her control and started killing anyone who came in front of her. Finally She was stopped only by the intervention of Lord Shiva at her way. In order to make that moment memorable, in some parts of country it is celebrated by worshipping Goddess kali at the same time as Diwali.
It is believed that Vikramaditya was a great and legendary Hindu king of India who was well known for his wisdom, courage and large heartedness. He was crowned and announced to be a king with the magnificent celebration by citizens of kingdom. That event is believed as the annual observance of Diwali. A great reformer of Hinduism, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, had attained his nirvana on a new moon day of the month of Kartik. He had also found the Arya Samaj (Society of Nobles) in the year 1875. He is remembered at the Diwali by the Hindus all over India. The founder of modern Jainism, Vardhamana Mahavira, got enlightenment at the same day. That’s why the people of Jain religion also engaged in Diwali celebrations. Diwali has the special significance for the Sikhs as well as their Guru Amar Das had institutionalized an occasion on the same day (Diwali) to receive the blessings of Guru by getting together. At some places, Diwali is believed to be celebrated to commemorate the release of sixth religious leader, Guru Hargobind Ji, from the custody of Mughal Emperor Jahengir from Gwalior fort.
The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations are
Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras or Dhanwantari Triodasi: The meaning of Dhanteras is (Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day) the coming of wealth to home at the 13th day of the 2nd half of the lunar month. At this auspicious day people buy the utensils, gold and bring that home in the form of Dhana. It is also celebrated to commemorate the Jayanti (Birthday Anniversary) of the God Dhanvantari (the Physician of Gods) who had arisen during the Samudra manthan (while churning the ocean by the gods and the demons).
Naraka Chaturdashi: Naraka Chaturdashi falls at the 14th day, it is the when the demon Narakasura was killed by the Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). It is celebrate to indicate the triumph of good power over the evil power or darkness. At this day people wake up early in the morning (before sunrise) and take an aromatic oil bath as well as dress up in the new clothes. Then they lit lot of lamps all around the houses and make rangolis outside the home. They also carry out a unique puja of their God Krishna or Vishnu. The significance of taking bath before sunrise is just equal to taking bath in the holy water of Ganges. After doing puja they burn up firecrackers in the significance of defeating the demon. People have their breakfasts and lunches altogether with their family and friends.
Lakshmi Puja: It is main day of the Diwali which completes with the Lakshmi Puja (the goddess of wealth) and Ganesh puja (the God of knowledge who removes all obstacles). After the great puja they light clay deeyas on the streets and homes in order to welcome the prosperity and well-being to their home.
Bali Pratipada and Govardhan Puja: It is celebrated as the Govardhan Puja (Annakoot) in North India. The significance of celebrating this day is, Lord Krishna had defeated the proud Indra by lifting the big Govardhana hill and saving the life of lots of people (Gokulvashi) and cattle from the continuous rain and floods. The significance of celebrating Annakoot, people decorate large quantities of food (the symbol of Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna) and offer puja. This day is also celebrated at some places as Bali-Pratipada or Bali Padyami in order to commemorate the triumph of Lord Vishnu (Vamana) over the demon king Bali. At some places like Maharashtra this day is also celebrated as Padava or Nava Diwas (means the new day) and all man offer a gift to their wives. In Gujrat it is considered as the first day of the calendar named Vikram Samvat.
Yama Dwitiya or Bhaiduj: This is the festival of brothers and sisters in order to symbolize their love and care for each other. The significance of celebrating it is the story behind Yama (lord of Death). At this day Yama had visited his sister named Yami (the river Yamuna) and welcomed by his sister with an Aarti as well as ate together. He had given a gift to his sister.
Other important festivals: