Diwali Festival is one of the major and most celebrated Indian festivals. Diwali is celebrated as the ‘Festival of Lights‘ in India. Entire country looks magnificent on Diwali as people illuminate their homes with traditional earthen diyas, candles and luminous strands of electric bulbs. Hindus believe that brightness on the day of Diwali helps to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and spread the light of knowledge all around.
This is a huge festival all across India and is a wonderful time to visit. Of course, many family members visit their homes. The large Indian community in London, UK, USA is just one example of Hindu people who visit for the period, so it may be considered as a time to come back home for Indians.
Diwali is on Sunday, October 27, 2019 (Date may vary)
When is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali in India is celebrated on the Amavasya or no moon day that comes on the 5th day of the dark fortnight in the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November). The date of Diwali comes about 20 days after the festival of Dussehra or Vijayadashmi.
Importance of Diwali
Diwali brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, people get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions. The people of all age groups and classes with equal zeal and enthusiasm celebrate Diwali throughout India. They put on new apparels and participate in the various activities that are related to Diwali celebrations. It is a festival of celebrations such as lightings, crackers, cleanliness, colorful rangoli making, social gatherings to exchange greetings and sharing sweets with loved ones.
The first day of this festival begins with ‘Dhan Trayodashi’ or ‘Dhanteras‘. After the Dhanvantari Trayodashi, the second day of Diwali is ‘Narak Chaturdashi‘, which is popular as ‘Chhoti Diwali’. The third day of Diwali, which is also called ‘Badi Diwali’ is the main day of celebrations of the festival of Diwali. People perform Lakshmi Pujan (worship of divine Goddess Lakshmi) on this day and offer prayers to her to bless them with wealth and prosperity. The fourth day of Diwali is devoted to Govardhan Pooja. The fifth day of the Diwali is Bhai Dooj, the time to honor the brother-sister relationship.
Legend Behind Diwali Festival in India
According to legends, Diwali Festival in India marks the coronation of Lord Ram as the King of Ayodhya on his return to the Kingdom after 14 years of exile and slaying of demon King Ravana. People of Ayodhya were so delighted to have Ram as their King that they lit diyas and burnt firecrackers. To this day people, Hindus carry on this ritual by celebrating Diwali Festival.
Diwali – Festival of Lights
Sanskrit word for Diwali is Deepawali, which is a combination of ‘Deep’ and ‘Avali’ where ‘Deepa’ means lamp and ‘avali’ means row. Deepawali, therefore, means a row of lamps. Diwali is so called as people celebrate Diwali as Festival of Lights. On the Diwali day, people illuminate their houses by lighting diyas and candles all around. During the evening firecrackers are burst and there is radiance everywhere.
Preparations for Diwali Festival start months before the festival. Those staying away from their homes make plans for a visit home as everybody wishes to celebrate Diwali with loved ones. Elaborate shopping takes plays before Diwali as everyone buys new clothes and decorative for home. People also buy Diwali Gifts like sweets, dry-fruits, candles, puja thalis, showpieces, and other items to express their good wishes. This is considered important in India as people celebrate Diwali as the biggest gift-giving festival.
On the day of Diwali people wake up early and spruce up their house. Auspicious Rangoli patterns are drawn in front of the house or in the courtyard. Womenfolk prepare traditional festive goodies like laddoos, mathris, dahi badas etc. During the day people visit their friends and dear to exchange Diwali greetings and traditional Diwali Gifts. Later in the evening all members of the family wear new clothes and participate in the Laxmi Ganesh Puja. This is followed by a lavish Diwali feast and bursting of crackers.