Diwali is a five-days festival | Deepavali | Dipavali | Deepawali | Festival of Lights | 2019

Diwali Festival of Lights five-days festival, Deepavali celebrated on the third day the darkest night of the lunar month. During the festival, Hindus, Sikhs & Jains illuminate their homes, workspaces & temples with diyas, candles, and lanterns.

  1. Day 1 - Dhanteras, Dhanatrayodashi
  2. Day 2 - Naraka Chaturdashi, Chhoti Diwali
  3. Day 3 - Lakshmi Pujan
  4. Day 4 - Annakut, Balipratipada(Padwa), Govardhan puja
  5. Day 5 - Bhai Duj, Bhau-Beej

Description

 
Diwali celebrations include puja (prayers) to Lakshmi and Ganesha. Lakshmi is of the Vaishnavism tradition, while Ganesha of the Shaivism tradition of Hinduism.[96][97]

Diwali is a five-day festival, the height of which is celebrated on the third day coinciding with the darkest night of the lunar month. During the festival, Hindus, Jains and Sikhs illuminate their homes, temples and work spaces with diyas, candles and lanterns Hindus, in particular, have a ritual oil bath at dawn on each day of the festival. Diwali is also marked with fireworks and the decoration of floors with rangoli designs. Food is a major focus with families partaking in feasts and sharing mithai. The festival is an annual homecoming and bonding period not only for families, but also for communities and associations, particularly those in urban areas, which will organise activities, events and gatherings. Many towns organise community parades and fairs with parades or music and dance performances in parks. Some Hindus, Jains and Sikhs will send Diwali greeting cards to family near and far during the festive season, occasionally with boxes of Indian confectionery.

Diwali is a post-harvest festival celebrating the bounty following the arrival of the monsoon in the subcontinent. Depending on the region, celebrations include prayers before one or more Hindu deities, the most common being Lakshmi. According to David Kinsley, an Indologist and scholar of Indian religious traditions particularly in relation to goddess worship, Lakshmi symbolises three virtues: wealth and prosperity, fertility and abundant crops, as well as good fortune.[97] Merchants seek Lakshmi's blessings in their ventures and will ritually close their accounting year during Diwali.[97] Fertility motifs appear in agricultural offerings brought before Lakshmi by farming families, who give thanks for the recent harvests and seek her blessings for prosperous future crops. A symbolic piece of traditional fertiliser, a dried piece of cow dung, is included in the ensemble in Odisha and Deccan region villages, an agricultural motif according to Kinsley. Another aspect of the festival is remembering the ancestors.

Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance, typically after the festival of Dusshera that precedes Diwali by about 20 days.[70] The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter. Each day has the following rituals and significance:[32]

Dhanteras, Dhanatrayodashi (Day 1)

 
Dhanteras starts off the Diwali celebrations with the lighting of Diya or Panati lamp rows, house cleaning and floor rangoli

Dhanteras, derived from Dhan meaning wealth and teras meaning thirteenth, marks the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Kartik and the beginning of Diwali. On this day, many Hindus clean their homes and business premises. They install diyas, small earthen oil-filled lamps that they light up for the next five days, near Lakshmi and Ganesha iconography. Women and children decorate doorways within homes and offices with rangoli, colourful designs made from rice flour, flower petals and coloured sand, while the boys and men decorate the roofs and walls of family homes, markets, and temples. The day also marks a major shopping day to purchase new utensils, home equipment, jewellery, firecrackers, and other items. On the evening of Dhanteras, families offer prayers (puja) to Lakshmi and Ganesha, and lay offerings of puffed rice, candy toys, rice cakes and batashas (hollow sugar cakes).

According to Tracy Pintchman, Dhanteras is a symbol of annual renewal, cleansing and an auspicious beginning for the next year. The term "Dhan" for this day also alludes to the Ayurvedic icon Dhanvantari, the god of health and healing, who is believed to have emerged from the "churning of cosmic ocean" on the same day as Lakshmi. Some communities, particularly those active in Ayurvedic and health-related professions, pray or perform havan rituals to Dhanvantari on Dhanteras.

Naraka Chaturdashi, Chhoti Diwali (Day 2)

 
Choti Diwali is the major shopping day for festive mithai (sweets)

Naraka Chaturdashi also known as Chhoti Diwali, is the second day of festivities coinciding with the fourteenth day of the second fortnight of the lunar month. The term "chhoti" means little, while "Naraka" means hell and "Chaturdashi" means "fourteenth". The day and its rituals are interpreted as ways to liberate any souls from their suffering in "Naraka", or hell, as well as a reminder of spiritual auspiciousness. For some Hindus, it is a day to pray for the peace to the manes, or deified souls of one's ancestors and light their way for their journeys in the cyclic afterlife.[106] A mythological interpretation of this festive day is the destruction of the asura (demon) Narakasura by Krishna, a victory that frees 16,000 imprisoned princesses kidnapped by Narakasura.[105]

Naraka Chaturdashi is also a major day for purchasing festive foods, particularly sweets. A variety of sweets are prepared using flour, semolina, rice, chickpea flour, dry fruit pieces powders or paste, milk solids (mawa or khoya) and clarified butter (ghee). According to Goldstein, these are then shaped into various forms, such as laddus, barfis, halwa, kachoris, shrikhand, and sandesh, rolled and stuffed delicacies, such as karanji, shankarpali, maladu, susiyam, pottukadalai. Sometimes these are wrapped with edible silver foil (vark). Confectioners and shops create Diwali-themed decorative displays, selling these in large quantities, which are stocked for home celebrations to welcome guests and as gifts.[81][96] Families also prepare homemade delicacies for Lakshmi Pujan, regarded as the main day of Diwali. Chhoti Diwali is also a day for visiting friends, business associates and relatives, and exchanging gifts.[96]

This day is commonly celebrated as Diwali in Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Karnataka. Traditionally, Marathi people and South Indian Hindus receive an oil massage from the elders in the family on the day and then take a ritual bath, all before sunrise. Many visit their favourite Hindu temple.

Lakshmi Pujan (Day 3)

The third day is the height of the festival, and coincides with the last day of the dark fortnight of the lunar month. This is the day when Hindu, Jain and Sikh temples and homes are aglow with lights, thereby making it the "festival of lights". The word Deepawali comes from the word the Sanskrit word deep, which means an Indian lantern/lamp.

The youngest members in the family visit their elders, such as grandparents and other senior members of the community, on this day. Small business owners give gifts or special bonus payments to their employees between Dhanteras and Lakshmi Pujan. Shops either do not open or close early on this day allowing employees to enjoy family time. Shopkeepers and small operations perform puja rituals in their office premises. Unlike some other festivals, the Hindu typically do not fast during the five-day long Diwali including Lakshmi Pujan, rather they feast and share the bounties of the season at their workplaces, community centres, temples and homes.

 
Lighting candle and clay lamp in their house and at temples during Diwali night

As the evening approaches, celebrants will wear new clothes or their best outfits, teenage girls and women, in particular, wear saris and jewellery. At dusk, family members gather for the Lakshmi Pujan, although prayers will also be offered to other deities, such as Ganesha, Saraswati, Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman, or Kubera. The lamps from the puja ceremony are then used to light more earthenware lamps, which are placed in rows along the parapets of temples and houses, while some diyas are set adrift on rivers and streams. After the puja, people go outside and celebrate by lighting up patakhe (fireworks) together, and then share a family feast and mithai (sweets, desserts).

The puja and rituals in the Bengali Hindu community focus on Kali, the goddess of war, instead of Lakshmi. According to Rachel Fell McDermott, a scholar of South Asian, particular Bengali, studies, in Bengal during Navaratri (Dussehra elsewhere in India) the Durga puja is the main focus, although in the eastern and north eastern states the two are synonymous, but on Diwali the focus is on the puja dedicated to Kali. These two festivals likely developed in tandem over their recent histories, states McDermott. Textual evidence suggests that Bengali Hindus worshipped Lakshmi before the colonial era, and that the Kali puja is a more recent phenomenon. Contemporary Bengali celebrations mirror those found elsewhere, with teenage boys playing with fireworks and the sharing of festive food with family, but with the Shakti goddess Kali as the focus.

 
A child playing with phulbaja or sparklers during Diwali.

On the night of Laksmi Pujan, rituals across much of India are dedicated to Lakshmi to welcome her into their cleaned homes and bring prosperity and happiness for the coming year. While the cleaning, or painting, of the home is in part for goddess Lakshmi, it also signifies the ritual "reenactment of the cleansing, purifying action of the monsoon rains" that would have concluded in most of the Indian subcontinent. Vaishnava families recite Hindu legends of the victory of good over evil and the return of hope after despair during the Diwali nights, where the main characters may include Rama, Krishna, Vamana or one of the avatars of Vishnu, the divine husband of Lakshmi. At dusk, lamps placed earlier in the inside and outside of the home are lit up to welcome Lakshmi.[109] Family members light up firecrackers, which some interpret as a way to ward off all evil spirits and the inauspicious, as well as add to the festive mood. According to Pintchman, who quotes Raghavan, this ritual may also be linked to the tradition in some communities of paying respect to ancestors. Earlier in the season's fortnight, some welcome the souls of their ancestors to join the family for the festivities with the Mahalaya. The Diwali night's lights and firecrackers, in this interpretation, represent a celebratory and symbolic farewell to the departed ancestral souls.

 
Such Diwali Patrikas are distributed in Sindh

In Tharparkar, Sindh during this festival the Brahmins irrespective of their social and economic prosperity follow their Brahmin Dharma by going door-to-door to get Bhikhsha Daan and provide people such Diwali Patrikas (leaflets or stickers). During the Muhurt Chittan or Lakshmi Chittan ritual, this Diwali Patrika having image of Lakshmi is placed or applied within the drawn door frame.

The celebrations and rituals of the Jains and the Sikhs are similar to those of the Hindus where social and community bonds are renewed. Major temples and homes are decorated with lights, festive foods shared with all, friends and relatives remembered and visited with gifts.

Annakut, Balipratipada(Padwa), Govardhan puja (Day 4)

The day after Diwali is the first day of the bright fortnight of the luni-solar calendar. It is regionally called as Annakut (heap of grain), Padwa, Goverdhan puja, Bali Pratipada, Bali Padyami, Kartik Shukla Pratipada and other names. According to one tradition, the day is associated with the story of Bali's defeat at the hands of Vishnu. In another interpretation, it is thought to reference the legend of Parvati and her husband Shiva playing a game of dyuta (dice) on a board of twelve squares and thirty pieces, Parvati wins. Shiva surrenders his shirt and adornments to her, rendering him naked. According to Handelman and Shulman, as quoted by Pintchman, this legend is a Hindu metaphor for the cosmic process for creation and dissolution of the world through the masculine destructive power, as represented by Shiva, and the feminine procreative power, represented by Parvati, where twelve reflects the number of months in the cyclic year, while thirty are the number of days in its lunisolar month.

 
Annakut community meals (left), Krishna holding Govardhan ritually made from cow dung, rice and flowers (right).

This day ritually celebrates the bond between the wife and husband, and in some Hindu communities, husbands will celebrate this with gifts to their wives. In other regions, parents invite a newly married daughter, or son, together with their spouses to a festive meal and give them gifts.

In some rural communities of the north, west and central regions, the fourth day is celebrated as Govardhan puja, honouring the legend of the Hindu god Krishna saving the cowherd and farming communities from incessant rains and floods triggered by Indra's anger, which he accomplished by lifting the Govardhan mountain. This legend is remembered through the ritual of building small mountain-like miniatures from cow dung. According to Kinsley, the ritual use of cow dung, a common fertiliser, is an agricultural motif and a celebration of its significance to annual crop cycles.

The agricultural symbolism is also observed on this day by many Hindus as Annakut, literally "mountain of food". Communities prepare over one hundred dishes from a variety of ingredients, which is then dedicated to Krishna before shared among the community. Hindu temples on this day prepare and present "mountains of sweets" to the faithful who have gathered for darshan (visit). In Gujarat, Annakut is the first day of the new year and celebrated through the purchase of essentials, or sabras (literally, "good things in life"), such as salt, offering prayers to Krishna and visiting temples.

Bhai Duj, Bhau-Beej (Day 5)

A sister ritually feeding her brother on Bhai Duj-Diwali (left), a lit rangoli (right)

The last day of the festival is called Bhai Duj (literally "brother's day"), Bhau BeejBhai Tilak or Bhai Phonta. It celebrates the sister-brother bond, similar in spirit to Raksha Bandhan but it is the brother that travels to meet the sister and her family. This festive day is interpreted by some to symbolise Yama's sister Yamuna welcoming Yama with a tilaka, while others interpret it as the arrival of Krishna at his sister's, Subhadra, place after defeating Narakasura. Subhadra welcomes him with a tilaka on his forehead.

The day celebrates the sibling bond between brother and sister. On this day the womenfolk of the family gather, perform a puja with prayers for the well being of their brothers, then return to a ritual of feeding their brothers with their hands and receiving gifts. According to Pintchman, in some Hindu traditions the women recite tales where sisters protect their brothers from enemies that seek to cause him either bodily or spiritual harm. In historic times, this was a day in autumn when brothers would travel to meet their sisters, or invite their sister's family to their village to celebrate their sister-brother bond with the bounty of seasonal harvests.

The artisan Hindu and Sikh community celebrates the fourth day as the Vishwakarma puja day. Vishwakarma is the presiding Hindu deity for those in architecture, building, manufacturing, textile work and crafts trades. The looms, tools of trade, machines and workplaces are cleaned and prayers offered to these livelihood means.

Source > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali

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