Diwali: The Festival of Lights
Wild Films India) Diwali is one of the biggest, brightest, and most important festivals in India. Diwali is popularly known as the "Festival of Lights." The celebration of the "victory of good over evil" refers to the light of higher knowledge dispelling ignorance.
Although the story behind Diwali and the manner of it celebration differs greatly depending on the region, the essence of the festival remains the same: the celebration of life, its enjoyment, and its goodness.
The Hindi word Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit term Deepavali, which translates as "rows of lamps." Based on the Hindu lunar calendar, Diwali falls between October and November on an Amavasya or "moonless night." The festival is associated with the legend of the Hindu god Ram's return to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after 14 years in exile.
The demon-king Ravan of Lanka had abducted Lord Ram's consort Sita only to invite his own death as a result. Lord Ram, along with his brother Laxman and an army of monkeys, defeated then killed the demon king and returned to the kingdom with Sita.
According to mythology the people of Ayodhya lit up clay lamps known as diyas to welcome him on his return from exile.
Diwali is a five-day affair and kicks off on the first day with Dhanteras. Dhan means "wealth," hence this day is considered auspicious for buying items related to prosperity like utensils or gold. Vijay and his family also plan to buy something in keeping with the customs of Dhanteras.
The day after Dhanteras is known as Narak Chaudas or Choti Diwali. In short, the second day is Diwali on a smaller scale, with fewer rituals. Hindus get up before dawn, clean their houses, take a fragrant bath, and dress up in festive clothes. Vijay and his family follow suit; they decorate their house with much excitement to invite Goddess Lakshmi. The whole family rejoices on the occasion by singing aartis or religious hymns while they take part in the puja or devotional ritual.
The third day of the festival, known as Lakshmi Puja, is the main Diwali celebration. This day is devoted to Goddess Lakshmi (Laxmi), the goddess of wealth and Lord Ganesh, the lord of auspicious beginnings and the remover of obstacles. Devotees worship them seeking prosperity and wealth.
Govardhan Puja is the fourth day of the Diwali festival. In some parts of India this day is also known as Annakoot. Legend says that Lord Indra (Sakka), the Hindu god of rain and the king of the gods in Buddhism, once got angry with the people of the land of Gokul, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. To punish the villagers, the rain god poured endless rain, flooding the village. However, Lord Krishna came to the rescue of the village and sheltered the villagers under Govardhan Hill by lifting the entire hill onto his little finger, thereby saving the villagers and their livestock. Since then this day is celebrated to thank Lord Krishna.
This day is also known as Padwa in some parts of the country when people visit friends and family with gifts and goodies. Vijay's family has a tradition celebrating this day: The women of the family and neighborhood make a cow dung hillock to perform the day's ritual. The hillock is built symbolizing Govardhan Hill then decorated with flowers and other elements. The men pay obeisance to this symbolic hillock by circling around it and singing religious songs. Vijay and Vishal join the prayers.
Bhai Dooj marks the end of the five days of Diwali. The festival of lights has so many rituals and traditions that it is also called the festival of sweets, gifts, fireworks, and family.
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Diwali 2019, date and time: 5 days of Diwali celebration
- Day 1: Oct. 25, 2019: Govastsa Dvadashi, Vasu Baras, Dhantrayodashi, Dhanteras, Dhanvantari Trayodashi
- Day 2: 10/26/19, Yama Deepam, Kali Chaudas, Hanuman Puja, Kali Puja
- Day 3: 10/27/19, Narak Chaturdashi, Tamil Deepavali, Lakshmi Puja, Diwali, Kedar Gauri Vrat, Chopda Puja
- Day 4: 10/28/19, Diwali Snan, Deewali Dev Puja, Govardhan Puja, Annakut, Bali Partipada, Dyuta Krida
- Day 5: 10/29/19, Gujarat New Year, Bhaiya Dooj, Bhau Beej, Yama Dwitiya
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