The festival of lights is observed for a period of 5 days, starting from Dhanteras and ending with Bhai Dooj. Here’s how Diwali is enjoyed by one and all.
The Dhanteras is considered as an auspicious occasion when the Hindus worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
They start a new accounting year for their businesses on this special day. This is when people buy jewelry and items made of precious metals like gold and silver.
They also purchase new kitchenware on this special occasion. It is a common belief that buying precious metals will actually bring good luck and prosperity to one and all.
On Dhanteras, houses and business offices are renovated to give them a bright and festive look.
People indulge in Diwali decorations with rangolis, torans, diyas, and other items. Lamps are lit all throughout the night in order to show respect to Yama, the God of death.
On Dhanteras, people also celebrate the birth anniversary of Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods). Dhanvantari was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who was born during the churning of ocean by demons and gods.
The 2nd day of Diwali celebrations is known as Choti Diwali.
This festive occasion is observed as the day when Lord Krishna had slain the demon Narakasura who had established supremacy over the earth and heaven. Krishna beheaded the demon with his Sudarshan Chakra. To commemorate this victory, Choti Diwali is celebrated as a sign of the triumph of goodness over evil.
On Choti Diwali, people worship Lord Rama and Goddess Lakshmi. They take a fragrant oil bath and put on new clothes on this special occasion. The women decorate their homes with rangolis and offer special food to the deities before they start their worship.
In South India, people wake up before dawn on Choti Diwali and take their bath which they consider to be as holy as purifying themselves in the water of the Ganges, the sacred river of the Hindus.
The people of South India also break a bitter fruit on this auspicious occasion. They apply a paste of kumkum and oil on their foreheads as a traditional celebration of Choti Diwali.
In Maharashtra, people take a bath in early morning after they’ve applied oil and a paste of gram flour and fragrant powder on their skin. They relish having steamed vermicelli with milk and sugar and puffed rice with curd on this festive occasion
This is actually the day for the main Diwali celebrations. On this day, people worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. They clean their houses especially for the pujas, as they believe that Goddess Lakshmi would first visit the house which is clean, tidy, and purified.
On the 3rd day of the festival,people decorate their houses with rows of Diwali diyas, lanterns, and candles in order to create the perfect mood for their celebration. They burst a variety of fireworks with their dear ones on this occasion. They also prepare and send exciting recipes and sweets to their loved ones. People convey their warm wishes to their dear ones and business associates by sending Ecards and exchange gifts as well. Unlike Choti Diwali, the 3rd day of this festival witnesses celebrations on a large scale.
This festive occasion is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over Indra, the God of rain and heaven. Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain with his little finger to protect his people and the cattle from flood. So, people perform Govardhan Puja as part of Diwali celebrations on this day.
In North India, the 4th day of Diwali is known as Annakoot (mountain of food). People enjoy cooking a variety of recipes during the night. The food items are then piled up (symbolizing the Govardhan Mountain) and offered to the deities.
In South India, the 4th day of Diwali is observed in order to commemorate the victory of Lord Vishnu over the demon king Bali. People also celebrate the coronation of King Vikramaditya on this occasion.
The 5th day of Diwali festival is observed as Bhai Dooj. This is the day when sisters put an auspicious tilak on their brothers’ foreheads and wish that God protects their siblings from evil forces.
Brothers express their appreciation by offering exciting gifts to their sisters. This is followed by a special feast to enjoy the final day of Diwali.
The Bhai Dooj celebrations are based on the legend in which Yama (God of death) enjoyed a feast with his sister who wished for the former’s well-being by putting a tilak on his forehead.