Diwali – Celebration of life. - (Celebration series - Part 5)13, Nov, 2012, by Seema Bhatnagar
The Krishna paksh of Kartik month of Hindu calendar, which aligns with October month of English calendar, marks the celebration time of the year. This is the time when weather is perfect without extremes and harsh moods, also a time when nature is loaded with bounty and about to slip into winters which means an autumn is about to set in.
Diwali, which is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindus in India, is not just one day but a five days celebration. This is a time of the year when all family members come together for celebrations to share their love and bonding.
Day 1 - Dhanteras
The first day of the festival is known as “Dhanteras”, The word 'Dhanteras' is from Hindi language, the word 'Dhan' means wealth and the word 'Teras' means thirteen. Thus, on the day of Dhanteras, Hindus worship Goddess Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth and it falls on the thirteenth day of the Kartik month, according to the Hindu calendar. It is a custom to buy new utensils, gold and/or silver on this day to mark the celebration. This is done to invite the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi to receive more of precious wealth. Lord Kuber, who is a God of wealth, is also worshipped on the same day.
Day 2 - Naraka Chaturdasi
The second day of the festival is known as Naraka Chaturdasi, which is a fourteenth day of Kartik month, commemorates the vanquishing of Naraka, the demon, by Lord Krishna. Also popularly known as “Choti Diwali”. On this day, homes are cleaned of any waste or unwanted stuff and all the preparations are made for the next big day.
Day 3 - Diwali
The third day of Diwali is Amavasya, marking the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. This is night of celebration of Diwali with lights and sweets. According to a legend, it is an occasion to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It marks the grand celebration of welcoming Lord Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman on their return to Ayodhya, the home city (situated in Uttar Pradesh, India), after killing the demon, Ravana, and also completing 14 years of exile for forest.
On the night of Diwali, which is an amavasya (a full dark night), all family members dressed up in new clothes come together for offering special chants and sweets to worship Lord Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshman, Lord Hanumaan, Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) and Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of wisdom). After completion of pooja, children happily burst crackers. Homes are enthusiastically decorated with lights, earthen lamps, flowers and beautiful rangoli (color design decoration on floor); people gift each other sweets and other items.
The night of Diwali is a breath taking site, the whole skyline of city changes to a beautiful array of colorful lights of various shades. The aerial view of city gives a feeling as if mother earth is wearing a golden dress for celebrating Diwali.
Day 4 - Goverdhan pooja
The fourth day of Diwali is a Goverdhan pooja, which commemorates the day when Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill on the little finger to provide shelter to the villagers of Vrindavan from the torrential rains. On this day, special dishes, Karhi Chawal and mix vegetables curry are offered as bhog to Lord Krishna.
Day 5 - Bhai Dooj or Yama Dvitiya
The fifth day is Yama Dvitiya, more popularly known as Bhai Dooj. It is on this day that sisters invite brothers to their homes to put tilak on their forehead. The legend says, the Lord Yama and river Goddess Yamuna were brother and sister. Lord Yama was very busy and could not visit sister’s place. But on this day, he arrived and sister Yamuna made special preparations to welcome her brother. He was pleased to receive such a warm welcome and asked his sister to choose a boon. She asked that brother who visit his sister and consume food prepared by her on this day will never go to hell and sister who invites her brother will never become a widow.
Diwali and Personal growth
Diwali brings us a spirit to celebrate life with gaiety and in full colors. All the folklores behind it convey only one message- good or the truth has a power, and will always win over evil or falsehood, doesn't matter how powerful the evil is, it has to come to an end.
Our life is full of evils with which we are either face-to-face or completely ignorant of, here evils I mean, the impurities that are inherent in us, like lust, greed, indolence, anger, jealousy and dishonesty etc..
Diwali bestows us opportunities to introspect about these impurities. People who are on spiritual path, understand the importance of how important it is to contemplate about personal impurities. The most significant step in personal development is awareness, with complete awareness sooner or later, an individual will be able to overcome personal impurities and will reach to a higher level of personal growth.
May Diwali brings you prosperity and abundance in all areas of life, and above all, you may attain the required wisdom and awareness to reach the best of personal potential. May throughout the year, you keep celebrating life every moment.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy Diwali.
Bhai-Dooj - Celebration of Sister-Brother Relationship (Celebration Series - Part 6)
Ahoi Ashtami - Celebration of Motherhood (Celebration Series - Part 4)
Karva Chauth - Celebration of love (Celebration Series - Part 3)
Dusshera – Celebration for victory of good over evil.(Celebration Series - Part 2)
Celebration of Feminine Power (Celebration Series - Part 1)