Diwali also known as the Festival of Lights is a five days Hindu festival, Diwali varies across cultures, religions and regions. Find out about the five days of Diwali, the celebrations on each day and the stories behind them.
Diwali is the most significant festival in Indian history. It is celebrated by millions of people every year.
The celebrations for this five-day festival commences with Narak Chaturdashi, which celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over the evil demon Narak. It falls in the months of October-November as per the Hindu lunar calendar. The festival is celebrated over a period of five days.
Dhan-trayodashi or Dhanteras is one of the five days of Diwali and takes place two days before Diwali in honor of Dhanavantri, the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu. Dhan means “wealth” and Trayodashi means “13th day”. Thus, as the name implies, this day falls on the 13th day of the first half of the lunar month or the month of Ashwin. The day is of great significance to the prosperous mercantile community in Western India.
Choti Diwali is also known as Narak Chaturdashi. It is the second day of Diwali. Legend has it that the demon king Narakasur, the ruler of Pragjyotishpur (a province to the south of Nepal) defeated Lord Indra in a fierce battle. He then snatched the glittering earrings of the Mother Goddess, Aditi (the ruler of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama, Lord Krishna’s wife). The evil demon king also abducted and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the Gods and Saints in his harem
Lakshmi Pooja, third day of Diwali, or the worship of the goddess of wealth, is the main event on Diwali in North and West India. It is extremely important to keep the house spotlessly clean and pure on Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi likes cleanliness, and she will visit only the cleanest of houses first. This is also the reason why the broom is worshiped on this day with offerings of haldi and kumkum (turmeric and vermilion). Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome the goddess. They are believed to light up Her path.
Padhwa and Govardhan Puja are celebrated on the 4th day of Diwali. They are both celebrated in different geographical halves of the country. While Gudi Padhwa is popular with the Maharashtrans and few others in Western India, Govardhan Puja is predominantly associated with North India.
Bhai dhuj is the day when brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection for each other. Diwali is not only a festival of lights and firecrackers
but also a festival to renew and strengthen relationships. In keeping with the above, Bhai Dhuj is an important part of Diwali and is generally celebrated two days after Diwali on Shukla Paksha Dwitiya’ in the Hindi month of ‘Kartik’. It is the fifth and last day of Diwali.