November 03, 2021 11:24
Diwali or Deepavali is a Sanskrit word that literally means 'row of lighted lamps'.
India is a diverse and multicultural country and this festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists all alike around the world on the darkest night of the Hindu Lunar calendar between mid October to mid November. For Hindus this festival is celebrated to mark Lord Ram killing the demon Ravana, rescuing Sita from Ravana's captivity and returning to his home after a 14 year exile. For Sikhs it is celebrated Bandichor Divas the day when their 6th Guru was released from the clutches of Mughal emperor Jahangir. For Jains it marks the anniversary of Mahavir's Nirvana. That is why it is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. People wear their finest clothes, distribute sweets, exchange gifts, light fireworks, partake in family feasts, and most importantly illuminate the interiors as well as exteriors of their homes with lamps and welcome the Goddess of prosperity and wealth Lakshmi. Rangolis that are elaborate designs made with rice, turmeric and flower petals are made at the entrances of the houses to welcome the Goddess.
The celebrations last for five days starting with:
1. Dhanteras: the term is derived from Dhan meaning wealth and teras meaning thirteenth, marks the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight. It symbolises renewal, cleansing and the auspicious beginning of the new year. The term "Dhan" also alludes to Dhanvantri, the God of health and healing so rituals are done to please him to have a healthy new year.
2. Narak Chaturdashi: is the second day of festivities and chaturdashi literally means the 14th day and Narakasur was the demon killed by Lord Krishna on this day and hence the name. Women apply a special ubtan (skin masque) made with chickpea flour, special oils and herbs with turmeric today as a part of cleansing ritual.
3. Lakshmi Puja is the main day of the festival, the new moon day or the darkest night, its celebrations at its highest and at dusk special puja is done to please Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha to bring prosperity for the rest of the year.
4. Govardhan Puja: the first day of the bright fortnight and is celebrated with preparing mountains of food and that then is distributed amongst the community, not only spreading light but letting no one go hungry is one of the most important aspects of the festival.
5. Bhai Dooj: the last day of celebrations is to mark the bond between brothers and sisters where sisters pray for the wellbeing of their brothers and brothers take oath to protect them. Gifts and sweets are exchanged at large.
Diwali is India's most important festival and although there are many stories as to why we celebrate this festival depending on the region and religion the essence is that this is a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil and the beginning of a new year. So let's celebrate this festival together by fighting evil and make this world a sweeter, brighter one.
Satyamev Jayate ( Truth alone Triumphs)
HAPPY DIWALI TO EVERYONE!!
By- Simmi Malhotra