- Diwali is one of the most auspicious Indian Festivals. It celebrates Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. On that dark winter night many years ago, the people of Ayodhya had welcomed Lord Rama with open arms, the entire town was lit with oil lamps and candles and the night sky filled with firecrackers.
- There are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali. Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.
- Ever since, Diwali has come to be celebrated on the dark Amavasya night in the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November). This year Diwali will be celebrated on Sunday, 27 October, 2019. The most significant aspect of Diwali is the Puja offered to Goddess Lakshmi and its distinction between good and evil.
- One of the most common aspects of the festival is the tradition of lighting Diyas (oil-lamps).
- It is believed that people of Ayodhya illuminated the entire town with diyas upon the return of Lord Rama from 14 years in exile.
- That tradition is carried on till today and people light hundreds of Diyas to decorate their homes. That is also how Diwali got its name as the Sanskrit word 'Deepawali' means rows of lights.
- It is believed that since it is a no-moon night, the light from the diyas helps Goddess Lakshmi to find her way to people's houses. Therefore it is tradition to leave the diyas burning all night.
- Another tradition, particularly in North India is the making of Rangolis, paintings from powdered color on the floor.
- These Rangolis have long been a part of Indian culture and there are many stories about their origin.
- People make these Rangolis to decorate their houses and to welcome guests into their homes.
Diwali Gift Ideas
- Over the past few years, as the Indian economy has strengthened and the advent of globalization have given rise to a new tradition, the exchange of gifts.
- It is now very common to see people exchanging gifts and sweets with each other on Diwali.
- This festival of lights is a testament to the fervent religious nature of the people at the heart of India. It is primarily a religious festival in nature, and is yet open to followers of all religions.
- It is a time bound custom to perform a ritual Pooja on this day for Goddess Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity. People invoke her blessing for a prosperous New Year.
- The most believed of all the Gods in the Hindu pantheon, the elephant headed Ganesha who is believed to be the remover of all obstacles is worshipped as well.
- In Bengal, Goddess Kali, the destructive avatar of Durga is worshipped.
What Do People Do?
Diwali celebrations lasts for five days. people clean their homes before Diwali and decorate their home and workplaces with tiny electric lights or small clay oil lamps.
On Diwali people, wear new clothes and give gifts of sweets to family members, close friends and business associates. Fireworks are set off in the evening in some areas. Melas (fairs) are held in many towns and villages.
Government and private offices, schools ,colleges and post offices and banks are closed in India on Diwali. Stores and other businesses and organizations may be closed or have reduced opening hours.
Interesting facts about Diwali
- The word Diwali means 'the row of lighted lamps (diyas)' in Hindi.
- People often think of Diwali as a Hindu festival, but it is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.
- It is the most famous, biggest festival of India, and is celebrated for five days.
- It's the start of the Hindu New Year. It is a tradition to clean the house, making it spotless before entering the New Year.
- Businesses also start new accounting books, and farmers end the harvest season. The festival also signals the onset of winter.
- Diwali dates change each year and are determined by the position of the moon - but it usually falls between October and November.
- Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month of Kartika.
- In Bengal people worship the goddess Kali, during Diwali. And in Nepalpeople celebrate Lord Krishna’s victory over the wicked king Narakaasura.
- Diwali is also celebrated in honor of the marriage of the Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi.
- Rangoli is a popular Diwali tradition.
- Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu achieved prominence as the firecracker and match-making factory for the whole of India. It contributed over 90 percent of all firecracker sales in the country.
- One of the most popular traditions during Diwali in north India is that of playing cards and gambling with money in the evening.
- Diwali is celebrated with much fervor in several countries including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand, Mauritius, Australia and Canada.
- The city of Leicester, in the United Kingdom, holds the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is the occasion associated with sweets and liveliness. As the festival is celebrated on Amavasya (new- moon night), lights play a significant role during this festival. Diyas and lights can be seen everywhere in India during Diwali time. Multicolored and impressive firecrackers can be seen in the night sky.
The celebration of Diwali is never complete without sweets and rangoli. In fact, any festival without desserts is incomplete in India.
Origin of Diwali
Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen yearlong exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.
In fact so diverse are the rituals and traditions of Diwali in different parts of the country that it is impossible to pin down just one way of celebrating this wonderful festival.