Diwali is one of the biggest festival of Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India and by Indians all over the world. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third days is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or ‘Festival of lights’.
Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. The festival of Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People send for diwali to their near and dear ones.
Oh yes and how can I forget the delicious diwali snacks. I try to make atleast 7-8 diwali snacks every year which comprises of sweet as well as savory snacks. You can find them all in my Diwali recipes archives. This year Diwali was more special as I used my own Diwali products from www.mefestive.com
Hindus interpret the Diwali story based upon where they live:
In North India they celebrate the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.
South India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
In this blog post I have penned down my this years Diwali Celebrations
Diwali celebrations start with Dhanatrayodashi.
On Dhanteras, Lakhsmi – the Goddess of wealth – is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. It is also the day for celebrating wealth, as the word ‘Dhan’ literally means wealth and ‘Tera’ comes from the date 13th.
In the evening, the clay lamp is lit and Dhan-Lakshmi is welcomed into the house. Alpana or Rangoli designs are drawn on pathways including the goddess’ footprints to mark the arrival of Lakshmi. Aartis or devotional hymns are sung eulogizing Goddess Lakshmi and sweets and fruits are offered to her.
People flock to the jewelers and buy gold or silver jewelry or utensils to venerate the occasion of Dhanteras. Many wear new clothes and wear jewelry as they light the first lamp of Diwali while some engage in a game of gambling.
After Dhanatrayodashi arrives the Choti Diwali or Narakchaturdashi
The festival is also called as “Kali Chaudas”, where Kali means dark (eternal) and Chaudas means fourteenth, this is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of Asvin month. In some regions of India, Kali Chaudas is the day allotted to the worship of Mahakali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the asura (demon) Narakasura. Hence also referred to as Naraka-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is day to abolish laziness and evil which create hell in our life and shine light on life.
On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali nazar (evil eye). Some say that those who are into tantra, learn their ‘mantras’ on this day. Alternatively, people offer Nivet is local to where they are originally from. This goddess is called their Kul Devi, in order to cast off evil spirits. Some families also offer food to their forefathers on this day. The second day of Diwali is known as Kali Choudas in Gujarat, Rajasthan & few part of Maharashtra.
On this day Hindus get up earlier than usual. The men will rub their bodies in perfumed oils before bathing. Afterwards, clean clothes are worn; some people wear new ones. A large breakfast is enjoyed with relatives and friends. In the evening, a mix of bright and loud fireworks are set off in an atmosphere of joyful fun and noise. Special sweet dishes are served as part of the midday meal. House are lit with oil lamps during the evening.
And then comes the Diwali & Lakshmi Pujan on 3rd Day
The third day of these festivities is the actual Diwali/ Deepawali, when Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped, along with Lord Ganesha. People light diyas and candles in their homes, and the streets all across India light up with millions of sparklers, crackers and fairy lights. After worshipping MahaLakshmi in the evening with their families, people visit temples, gurudwaras and even churches to light candles. They also exchange sweets as prasaad.
The celebration of Diwali is based on the episode when Lord Rama finally returned home from exile and was welcomed with a glittering row of lights radiating from every household. It also coincides with the Pandavas’ return from the forest. The word ‘Deepavali’ means an array of lights. Diwali, is, indisputably, among the most enlivening and significant festivals of India.
Balipratipada or Padva is the 4th Day of Diwali
The fourth day is celebrated in various forms all across India. In the Western states of India like Gujarat this day is celebrated with great pomp and show as Bestu Baras, the New Year as per their Calendar. In Northern states of India, this day is widely celebrated as Govardhan Pooja and Vishwakarma Day, when people worship their instruments, arms and machinery. Most or all business establishments, thus, remain closed on this day. This day is also called as Annakut.
In Maharashtrians, husband is supposed to get gifts for their wife on this auspicious day. Thus this my favorite day of Diwali…lol
These were my Padva gifts for this year
Last day of Diwali is Bhaiduj or Bhaubheej
The fifth day of Diwali festivities is celebrated as the Bhai Dooj or Bhai Beej or Bhai Teeka/ Tilak or Bhai Fota (In Bengal). Brothers visit their sisters on this day, and the sisters celebrate and prepare sweets specially in honour of their brothers, wishing a long, happy, healthy life and great success for them.
Diwali is incomplete without Diwali Parties so here is a glimpse of Diwali Party at mine and my friends place