Last Updated: 1st November, 2018
Diwali also known as Deepawali is the most auspicious festival celebrated in India. Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali, is believed to be the beginning of the Hindu New Year. The festival is the symbol of victory of good over evil, light over darkness and hope over despair. On this day Lord Rama, the son of King Dasaratha, who went to live in exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana for 14 years returned to his home Ayodhya. People lit lamps to welcome the Lord on that day and decorated their houses. Since then this festival is celebrated with full fervor and enthusiasm.
Diwali is usually celebrated in the Hindu month of Ashwin or Kartik depending on the cycle of the moon. In 2018, Diwali will fall on November 7.
Deep means 'diyas' and avali means 'a row'. So, the word Deepawali means a row of lights. It is also known as the festival of lights. People light clay lamps to signify the good over the evil. The festival marks the beginning of the holiest month Kartik. All Indians celebrate this festival with full fervor and enthusiasm.
There are several reasons to celebrate Diwali in India as per beliefs and customs but the most popular one is the return of Lord Rama, the son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya who went to live in exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana for 14 years. It is believed that on this very day Lord Rama returned to his home after winning a battle against demon and demon king Ravana. It is also believed that the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi, one of the principle deities was born on this day. According to mythology, she was the first one to be incarnated on the new moon day of the Kartik month(Kartik Amavasya) during the churning of the ocean (Samudra Manthan). This is the reason she is closely associated with Diwali.
Throughout the festival, various sweets and savory items are prepared. Ranging from traditional sweets like Laddoo, Barfi and Son Papdi to occasional sweets like Sweet Samosas, Puran Poli, and Gulab Jamun etc are prepared on this day.
It is during Diwali season families and friends gather and celebrate together. People arrange for large feasts and wear new clothes. Large fireworks are displayed and diyas made of clay are used for decoration. It is during Diwali when the returning of Lord Rama is celebrated with full fervor and enthusiasm. Festivities start a week earlier. Homes are cleaned, painted, and decorated at the time of Diwali. It is during Diwali that people visit each other's homes exchanging sweets and conveying warm wishes.
Indians around the world celebrate Diwali with full merriment. People around the globe get a chance to share the cultural tradition by wearing traditional dresses and performing rituals. Indians living in various countries around the world try to follow several rituals and customs. Ladies apply henna on their hands to prepare for festivals. They decorate their houses with various kinds of lights flowers and wall hangings. Family get-togethers are arranged and prayers are performed by the whole family to offer gratitude to the lord.
Hindus celebrate Diwali for five days. However, all five days have different significance and celebrations. Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana after killing the demon king Ravana and bearing an exile of 14 years. The festival is also celebrated as it is believed that the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi was born on this day. Hindus clean their houses, decorate them and at night offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Ganesha. Not only this, they also worship Lord Rama and Lady Sita and pray to God to bestow blessings over them. Diwali symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It falls on the day of Amavasya, the no moon day. So, in order to eliminate darkness people burst crackers and a huge display of firework is seen in the sky.
Rangoli, which is a folk art of India is drawn on floors using various colors during special occasions and celebrations. Apart from colors material like rice and other seeds or flower petals are used. The main purpose of drawing Rangoli is decoration and also to welcome the Gods and Goddesses which are going to visit the house during festival seasons. The designs used to draw Rangoli reflect traditions, folklore, and practices which vary from area to area.
|Day 1||Dhanteras / Dhantheran / Dhantrayodashi / Dhanwantari Triodasi / Yamadeepdaan / Dhan Teyras|
|Day 2||Choti Diwali / Kali Chaudas / Narak Chaturdashi|
|Day 3||Diwali / Lakshmi Puja / Baddi Diwali|
|Day 4||Govardhan Puja / Annakoot/ Pratipat /|
|Day 5||Bhai Duj / Bhhaya Dooj / Bhai Beej / Dvitiya|
|Thu||23rd of October||2014|
|Wed||11th of November||2015|
|Sun||30th of October||2016|
|Thu||19th of October||2017|
|Wed||7th of November||2018|
|Sun||27th of October||2019|
|Sat||14th of November||2020|
|Thu||4th of November||2021|
|Mon||24th of October||2022|
Many rituals are observed during the five day long joyous and auspicious festival of Diwali.
The first day of Diwali is known as Dhanteras. This comprises two words Dhan, which means wealth and teras, which is the 13th day of a lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar. Thus, Dhanteras is a celebration of prosperity. On the day, people purchase gold, utensils etc and also welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their homes.
This is the second day of Diwali. According to a legend, the demon Narakasura was killed on this day by Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali and 16,000 princes who were taken into captivity by the demon were freed.
The third day, this is the main day of the festival and is very significant, especially in north and western part of India. The day is marked by fireworks and the lighting of candles. In the evening, Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped.
The fourth day of the festival is known as Goverdhan Puja. While in North India, the day marks the victory of Lord Krishna over Indira, the God of Thunder, in the South people worship the demon King Bali. In Gujarat Goverdhan Puja marks the beginning of the New Year.
The fifth and final day is known as Bhai Dooj. This festival is similar to Raksha Bandhan. On this day sisters apply tilak on the forehead of their brothers who in turn take a vow to protect them. It is a wonderful festival, which exhibits the bonds of love between a brother and sister.
Fireworks and diyas form an important part of the festival. As per legend, when Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya along with Sita after defeating Ravana, people celebrated by lighting diyas. From then onwards people started celebrating the day by bursting crackers and lighting diyas. Days before Diwali, people decorate their house and get it painted. On the day of Diwali, women decorate the porch of their homes with elaborate and fancy rangolis, which is prepared with colored rice or powder. Family and friends visit one another and exchange sweets and greetings. People dress up in new clothes and visit temples to offer their prayers and seek blessings. During evening people worship Goddess Lakshmi.
Apart from their homes, people also decorate their offices and organize Lakshi Puja to usher in success and prosperity. People usually worship pens, ink bottles and account books, the traditional items that are associated with businesses.
Apart from Hindus, Jains, Newar Buddhist and Sikhs also celebrate Diwali on the same day. Jains observe the festival in celebration of Mahavira attaining Moksha. The Sikhs celebrate it as Bandi Chhor Divas. On this day the Guru Hargobind was released from a Mughal prison. The Newar Buddhists worship Goddess Lakshmi on this day.