Diwali The Festival Of Lights

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Diwali is also known as Deepavali, Dipavali, Dewali, Deepawali, or the Festival of Lights. It is celebrated in October or November each year and the Diwali celebrations can last for about five days. This festival gets celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world each year and is one of the most popular festivals in Hinduism, with families gathering to exchange gifts and spend the celebration together.

The festival hails the sign of new beginnings and the triumph of good over level, and light over darkness. This year (2022) the festival will be taking place from the 24th Of October. Every year the date slightly adjusts according to the Hindu lunar calendar.

The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, meaning “rows of lighted lamps”.

Houses, shops and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called diyas. People also enjoy fireworks and sweets too, so it’s really popular with children.

What’s the festival about? Hindus celebrate the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile. They also celebrate the day Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha.

Sikhs particularly celebrate the release from prison of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh in 1619. But Sikhs celebrated the festival before this date.

In fact, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the holiest place in the Sikh world, was laid on Diwali in 1577.

The founder of Jainism is Lord Mahavira. During Diwali, Jains celebrate the moment he reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss).

Traditionally the festival is filled with many lights and oil lamps on the streets and in houses. People visit their relatives and have amazing feasts together and it is a time when fireworks become an essential part of the occasion.

Lahkshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth, is worshipped as the bringer of blessings for the new year.

How can you celebrate Diwali?

Diwali or Deepavali can be celebrated for up to five days. Let’s talk about each day thoroughly

DAY 01 (DHANTERAS):- The first day is anciently known as Dhanteras. On this day, many people go to the market and buy new clothes, jewellery, utensils, and many new things. After buying, people do some rituals to celebrate the arrival of Goddess Laxmi in their house. On this day, the elder ones in the house touch the feet of the older ones to receive some blessing for a healthy and successful life.

DAY 02 (CHOTI DIWALI):- According to Hindu mythology, this day is known for the defeat of the demon king Narkasur while he fought against lord Krishna. On this day, Lord Krishna beats demon king Narkasur, and this shows the triumph of truth over lie or the triumph of lightness over darkness. On the behalf of that, people will light up some candles and oil lamps to celebrate Lord Krishna’s victory. This day is also known as “kali chaudas”.

DAY 03 (THE MAIN DAY- DIWALI):- The third day is the most important day of the festival of light (Diwali or Deepavali). On this day, people go to the markets and buy well-designed small statues of Goddess Laxmi, Lord Ganesh, Lord Shiv, and Goddess Saraswati made up of clay-type soil ( which is basically used to make statues ). According to ancient mythology, They also buy some toys, which are made up of sugar.

After that, all the members of the family succeeded in wearing the new clothes and gathered at a designated place to perform some rituals with these statues and toys. The older member of the family put some garland on these statues, also put some tika on the head part of the statues and joined both hands in front of the statues to pray for wealth and good fortune to the family. This whole ritual can be performed by each member of the family and after that, the elder ones touch the feet of the older ones to earn a lot of blessings for a healthy and successful life.

The women as well as men of a family light up their whole house with oil lamps (diya’s) and candles. After completing all the rituals, people visit each other’s homes and give Diwali sweets and give/take some blessings (ashirwad). Many of the people light up crackers in the night sky and lightning the whole sky. But now, crackers are banned by the Government of India to avoid pollution and save animals like birds, dogs, etc.

DAY 04 (GOVERDHAN PUJA):- On this day, The older women (Dadi Maa) of a family as well as men’s also asked to borrow some cow dung to make a horizontal statue of “Goverdhan Maharaj”. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna holds Goverdhan hill (which is situated in Mathura) on his little finger to provide a shed to people from heavy rain. After making that statue, the men of a family in the evening start the rituals with one man holding a small cylindrical utensil with a paan leaf inside and the rest of the ones holding some blooms ( kheel ) in their hands. Then, they start taking some 5 to 7 rounds of that horizontal statue and throw some bloom onto the statue. After completing that, both men and women in the family perform some rituals, and in the end, the older women (Dadi Maa) of a family give some prasad to all the members.

DAY 05 (BHAI DOOJ):- This day is considered the last day of Diwali. On this day, all the brother’s sisters come to their home to perform some ritual known as “tilak”. This day is almost the same as the day of Raksha Bandhan, in which sisters come to their brother’s home to tie the rakhi around their wrist, and in return, the brother has to give some gifts to the sister. But in Diwali’s Bhai Dooj, the sister simply puts a tilak on the forehead of her brother, and in return.

Food also forms a very big part of the Diwali Celebrations, with food often shared at feasts attended by families from samosas, aloo bonda, murukku, paneer tika and onion bhjai just to name a few.

Aloo bona is a popular South Indian snack and contains potato which is shaped into balls and fried.

Paneer tikka is a dish made from chunks of paneer marinated in spices and grilled in a tandoor, while murukku are a deep-fried snack made with rice flour and urad dal flour.

Sweet treats are also served, with gulab jamun and moong dal ka halwa often made for Diwali.

Gulab jamun is a milk-solid-based sweet and will be enjoyed by those with a sweet tooth.

Moong dal ka halwa is traditionally eaten for celebratory or festive occasions like Holi, Diwali and marriages, and is made from mung lentils and ghee (clarified butter).

How do you and your family celebrate Diwali? I would love to know! TAG me in your social media photos and #ShareThelove of your family with others.

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Shaun Zietsman https://www.thesomethingguy.co.za

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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