Friday, November 1, 2013

DIWALI - THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Hindu New Year starts on the commencement of this very festival, Diwali (a five day festival). The festival’s name Deeepawali (or Diwali) means “from the row (avali) of lamps (deepa)”.

This festival represents that it is always good which triumphs the evil. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Rama, the prince of Ayodhya was sent by his father Dasharatha, to 14 yrs of exile in the forest along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. 
When one day Ravana, a demon king in every true sense happens to see Sita, he abducts her and takes her away to his kingdom of Lanka. Later Rama with the help of Hanuman and other monkeys marched the land of Lanka. Rama then killed Ravana, rescued his wife Sita and after 14 long years of exile they returned to their kingdom. The homecoming news of the prince made people of Ayodhya very happy and so they lighted earthen lamps (diyas). It also led to bursting of crackers which brightened the darkness of the night. Whole city was lit up by the decorations.

And so the tradition of celebrating Diwali with lights, crackers and fireworks began.


When is Diwali Celebrated:
The date of festival depends on the cycle of the moon and is usually in the months of October and November. This year in India, Dhanteras (1st day of Diwali) is going to be on November 1. The festival comprises of five days and each day has its own way of celebration. However, the main celebration begins from the third day that is this year the main festivities of Diwali shall begin from 3rd of November (India).

Significance of each day in the five day festival:


1st Day, DHANTERAS: In the month of “Kartik” the thirteenth day is celebrated as Dhanteras also known as Dhantrayodashi. The word Dhanteras comes from the word “Dhan” which means wealth. On this day houses and business premises are decorated and Rangoli can be found at every entrance so as to welcome the Goddess of prosperity and wealth, Lakshmi.

2nd Day, NAKRA-CHATURDASHI: In the same month of “Kartik” the fourteenth day is celebrated as Nakra-chaturdashi also known as Choti Diwali. It is believed that it was on this very day that Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakasur. People on this day light lamps and believe that it will expel the darkness and bring joy and happiness in their lifes. 

3rd Day, LAKSHMI PUJA: The third day is considered to be the most important day as Lakshmi Puja is performed on this very day. It is accompanied with devotional songs “Bhajans” and traditional sweets. It is considered very auspicious to begin any new business or venture on this day.

4th day, PADWA OR VARSHAPRATIPADA: This day “Gudi Padwa” is celebrated as a symbol of devotion and love between husband and wife. On this day newlyweds are invited for special meals. Everyone exchange gifts as a gesture of affection and oneness.

5th day, BHAI-DOOJ: This day is especially celebrated by brothers and sisters. It is on this day that brothers gift their sisters and sisters in turn “tilak” their brothers. This day is a symbolic representation of love in sister-brotherhood.

However, Diwali-the festival of lights is very enthusiastically celebrated and is one of the most awaited festivals.