Indian festivals are full of colours, affection, devotion and lights. Every religious celebration is unique and has a charm of its own. All the occasions has some or other kind of significance to their past. They are either celebrated to bid a goodbye to a particular season or welcome the harvest, homecoming of god and goddess, seeking blessing for health and prosperity of family, and lots more. The biggest of all the festivals is Diwali. The happiness it brings for people is so endless that the celebration goes on for five days in continuity. All these five festive days are auspicious for Indians. It starts from the 13th lunar day of Krishna paksha (fortnight). It either falls in the mid of October or November when the Ashwin month starts.
The Hindus, Jains and Sikhs celebrate Diwali. It is purely a festival of light that overshadow the dark fortnight of Krishna paksha. People are happy, excited and energetic for the celebration. Sincere efforts are taken to enjoy it to the fullest since it comes once a year. The streets, and markets lighten up with lamps. The Sanskrit meaning of this festival is lighting lamps in a row. The mood and enjoyment during this period is proliferating.
Legend of Diwali
Diwali is celebrated for two important events happened during the mythology period. But the most famous and widely revered is the coming back to home of Lord Ram after defeating Ravana. Till this time Lord Ram not only rescued his wife, Sita but also fulfilled his stepmother's wish of staying in exile for 14 years.
Another story that signifies Diwali celebration is the killing of Narakasura. He was the most tyrant ruler of his time who had no feelings for his subjects. He used to get pleasure by torturing and killing innocent people. There was no match for him in his kingdom. The hapless people then requested Lord Krishna to save them from the oppression. Their request was accomplished with the killing of Narakasura. Hence, Diwali is also celebrated for the death of the demon king.
India literally bathe in lights during this festive period. The countless lamps and lanterns is the symbol of the triumph of good over evil. The illumination helps in overshadowing the darkness prevailing on the night of Diwali. The celebration start much before the 'D' day. As the Hindus believe that goddess Lakhsmi reside in those place where there is cleanliness and excess lights, people dust and clean their homes. Many resort to the painting of the home few weeks before to make it attractive and bright with new colours.
Markets are ready with various types of decorative items. Colourful paper-made lanterns are displayed along with designer lamps. The jewelery and the garment market also come up with new and attractive designs to lure customers. As the purchasing power of people has risen due to the bonus, they shop delightfully and extravagantly. Family go together for shopping and purchase new clothes to be worn on the auspicious day. There are several stalls of crackers sprawling up in every nook and corner. The tempting fragrance emanating from every house because of the preparation of the traditional sweet dishes are simply irresistible.
The first day of the festival is the 13th lunar day and is famous as Dhanteras. It is also known as Dhanvantari Trayodashi in some regions. It is believed that Lord Dhanvantri appeared from the ocean with a pot in his hand that had the healing power of Ayurveda. It was for the benefit of humankind. It is a tradition to purchase new utensil, jewelry and a broom on this day which symbolizes good luck.
The second day is the Narak Chaturdashi. On this day, people get freedom from the demon Narkasura. To commemorate the victory, it is a custom to have a bath after an oil massage on this day. People also believed that skipping a bath on this day brings bad luck and one who does so goes to the hell.
The third day is celebrated as Lakshmi Puja. Though lighting of diyas and lanterns start from the first day, the intensity of illumination increases on this day. It is said that goddess Lakshmi descend on earth this day and enters the home that is immensely illuminated. She is worshipped for wealth and prosperity. After pooja and offerings of the delicious meals to the goddess, people burn crackers and wish each other 'Happy Diwali.' Neighbours exchange home-cooked sweets with each other.
The fourth day is dedicated to Govardhan. It is a huge mountain that helped Sri Krishna in saving his village from heavy rains and flood. It is also believed that on this day Lord Krishna performed the Govardhan pooja for the protection of his people.
The fifth day is celebrated as Bhai Duj. On this day, brothers visit their sisters for a tilak. Yamraj has visited his sisters and blessed her that all the brothers who apply the tilak by their sisters on this day will nullify their sins.
Diwali is a festival of full of lights, crackers, and sweets. It is the time to wish to each other for prosperity and good luck. These five days in a year are special for all the Hindus and they honour each day with devotion.