Diwali, Deepavali

Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya(dark moon) - the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month,Ashwin(October-November) Diwali,is the festival of lights which projects the rich and glorious past of India.On Diwali, all people exchange sweets, wear new clothes and buy jewelry.On Diwali day,people get up early in the wee hours and take a sacred bath by applying a scented powder called 'Utna' and perform pooja.

Youngsters start the fireworks to celebrate the opening of Diwali day.After the day starts,the youngsters,all wearing new attractive and traditional clothes go for a Diwali stroll in big groups of boys and girls.

In the wee hours of Diwali,at dawn time,special musical programmes are organised by various groups to celebrate the 'Diwali Pahat'(Dawn Of Diwali).Popular vocalist are invited to begin the Diwali morning with soothing mealodies.Classical and traditional dance programmes are also arranged in the morning.

Every year on the dark nights of Diwali the sound of firecrackers announces the celebration of the favorite festival of Hindus. Homes are decorated with lamps and lanterns, sweets are exchanged house to house. On the day of Diwali festival, entrances are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds.Rangolis are drawn with different colored powders to welcome guests.

The traditional motives are often linked with auspicious symbols of good luck. Oil lamps are arranged in and around the house.The festival is called Dipawali or Diwali meaning 'a rows of lamps'. On this day, people buy something for the house or some jewelry for the women.

It is auspicious day to be buy something metallic, such as silver etc.Of all the festivals celebrated in India. Diwali is the most glamorous and important which is enthusiastically enjoyed by people of every religion. Its grandeour creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity.

Diwali is the day when King Rama's victory was celebrated in Ayodhya after his epic war with Ravana, the demon king of Lanka.The cities and outskirts of these kingdoms were lit up with rows of lamps, glittering on dark nights to welcome home the divine king Rama and the queen Sita,after their 14 years stay in forest, ending with the war in which the whole of the kingdom of Lanka and demon Ravan was destroyed.

Celebration

Five Days Celebration Of Diwali Diwali is very enthusiastically celebrated for five continuous days and each day has its significance with a number of myths, legends and beliefs.

The First Day : Dhanteras

The first day of Diwali is called Dhan Theras. It is the festival that marks the beginning of the diwali celebrations.Dhanteras is celebrated to seek blessings of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. 'Dhan' means wealth. God Yama is also worshiped on this day to provide prosperity and good health.

The Second Day : Narak Chaudas

The Second Day is called Narak-Chaturdashi or more Chotti Diwali which falls on the 14 day of the month of Kartik. On this day Lord Krishna defeated the demon king, Narkasur.On this day King Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana.

The Third Day : Diwali or Deepavali

The Third Day of this festival of Diwali is called,Lakshmi Pujan.This is on the dark new moon night when the entrances of houses,offices etc. are lit up with colourful lights and Rangoli(Colour Powder) designs are drawn on floors of doors, to welcome Mata Lakshmi. Being the last day of financial year, businessmen perform Chopda Pujan(account books worship) This Diwali day is the "Time to shop or start new ventures".

The Fourth Day : Padwa or Varshapratipada

he fourth day of diwali celebrations is 'Padwa or 'Varshapratipada'. In the North India Govardhan Puja is performed.The day after the Lakshmi Puja, most families celebrate the new year by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewellery and visiting family members and business colleagues to give them sweets and gifts.

The Fourth Day : Bhai Dooj (Bhaubij)

Bhai Dooj is the occasion which is celebrated on the fifth day of diwali and it falls on second day after diwali that is on 'Shukla Paksha Dwitiya' in the Hindu month of 'Kartik'.Bhai Dooj is observed as a symbol of love and affection between brothers and sisters and is the last day of Diwali.

Lakshmi Poojan

In Diwali pujan or Laxmi pooja mainly Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi in her three forms are worshipped.It is the main event on Diwali in North and West India. It is believed that Goddess Laxmi visit everyone during Diwali and brings peace and prosperity to all.

Keep the house very clean.Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess. They are believed to light up Her path. Lord Ganesha is worshipped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighnaharta; Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in her three forms - Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money), Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning), and Mahakali; Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshipped.

* On a raised platform spread a new cloth.

* Place a handful of grains in the centre and, on this, place a kalash, lota(pitcher). Fill three-fourth of the kalash with water and place a betel nut, a flower, a coin, and some rice grains in it. Place the mango leaves in the kalash.

* Place a small dish on the kalash and fill it with rice grains. Draw a lotus with turmeric powder haldi over the rice grains and place the idol of goddess Lakshmi over it, along with coins.

* In front of the kalash on the right (South-West direction), place the idol of Ganesha. Also place ink and books related to your business or occupation on the platform.

* Light a lamp and the Agarbatti (incense sticks) begin the puja by offering haldi, kumkum , and flowers to the platform on which the kalash is placed.

* Sprinkle this water on all utensils to purify them. Make a Panchamrit with 5 ingredients ie milk, curd, ghee(clarified butter), sugar & Honey.

* Start with Ganesh Puja and make an offering of sweets, coconut and fruits.

* Now invoke goddess Laxmi by reciting the Laxmi mantras.Then offer the flowers to the idol.

* Place the idol of Lakshmi in a plate and bathe it with water, panchamrit and then with water containing some gold ornament or a pearl. Wipe the idol clean and place it back on the kalash.

* Offer sandal paste,flowers and a garland to the goddess,then make an offering of sweets, coconut and fruits.

* Then worship the writing implements and business books. Open the first page of each book and draw a Swastika in the clockwise direction,then write '' Shubha Labh '' on it.

* Wash all your gold and silver coins with water, panchamrit and then with water Make an offering of puffed rice and batasha to the Gods.

* Finally, perform the aarti for goddess Laxmi.At the end distribute the prasad to all the members.Now light the lamps and candles all around the house.

The Legends

1) King Shri.Ram
Diwali is the auspicious day when King Rama's victory over demon king Ravan of Lanka,was celebrated in Ayodhya,by the royal families of Ayodhya and Mithila.To Welcome back home the victorious and divine king Rama,his queen Sita with brother Lakshman,the cities and all boundaries of the kingdoms were lit up with colourful lamps and firewoks.

2) Harvest Festival
Diwali is the festival,which is celebrated at the end of the cropping season.The harvest is the prosperity.The celebration was first started in India by farmers after they reaped their crops. The farmers celebrated with joy and offered praises to the God for granting them a good crop and prosperity.

3) Narkasur
The demon Narakasura, was a great harassment to the gods and the sages,who disturbed their penance and created havoc during the rituals.He also challenged the king of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama,Lord Krishna's wife.The annoyed Indra and other gods approached Lord Krishna and pleaded with him to protect them from the demon 'Narakasura'.Narakasura was given a curse that he would be killed by a woman.

Knowing this,Satyabhama requested Krishna to grant her the opportunity,to fight with the demon.Accordingly Satyabhama entered the battle field and killed the demon, Narakasura,which was a victory of good over evil. Bhudevi,the mother of Narakasur,announced that his death should be an occasion to celebrate and rejoice.This festival is known as Diwali.

4) Mata Lakshmi
Diwali is the day,when Mata Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk called the Ksheer Sagar and brought wealth and prosperity for mankind. So,on this day,Lakshmi Pooja is performed to honour her. Many people believe that Lakshmi,the Goddess of wealth and good fortune,visit the homes on this day after the evening lights are lit.So the worship of Lakshmi is performed in the evening.