“Deepawali” or “Diwali ” is certainly the biggest & the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights that’s marked by five days of celebration. Many interesting rituals & traditions have been attached to the celebrations of Diwali. The blissful festival calls for the exchange of gifts, sweets & heartfelt wishes. Fire crackers are burst & people enjoy wearing new clothes, on the auspicious day. Each of the five days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition.
Diwali is widely celebrated in other countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Nepal, Myanmar, Mauritius & Fiji. In fact, Diwali is a national holiday in each of these countries. Diwali celebrations in India is marked by multi-colored display of Rangoli designs at the entranceway of residents, special pooja ceremonies, lines of colorful and sparkling lights and earthen lamps (Diyas), exchange of sweets and gifts, fireworks & lots of shopping. Every home in the country shines with the glow of the dazzling lights & candles that are lit to welcome Goddess “ Maa Lakshmi” on Diwali.
Mythology states Diwali festival is the celebration of the marriage of goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. It also celebrate the return of Lord Rama along with Sita & Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile & in joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, illuminated the kingdom with earthen “Diyas” & burst crackers. In Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of “Maa Kali” the dark goddess of strength. In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of “Nirvana”.
Five days of Diwali
The first day of Diwali is known as ‘Dhanteras’. This day marks the birthday of Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity, and the birthday of “Dhanvantari” – the God of Health & Healing. On the night of Dhanteras, diyas (lamps) are ritually kept burning all through the nights in honor of Lakshmi & Dhanvantari.
People decorate their houses , workplaces on this day & make traditional ‘Rangoli’ on the entrance. It is considered auspicious to buy gold & silver on this day. Many people opt for buying new utensils on this day. In Maharashtra, offerings of lightly pounded dry coriander seeds with jaggery are made to the Goddess. Rural people revere their cattle on this day and cows are considered especially auspicious.
Second day of diwali is known as “Narak Chaturdashi” or “Choti Diwali” , people take bath before sunrise, Special bathing rituals such as anoint themselves with oil and ‘Ubtan’ held in some regions, followed by minor pujas.. Bengalis believe that Maa Kali killed the demon Raktavija on this day. A general customs followed during the second day of Diwali is to burst crackers. People illuminate their homes with diya, as to welcome the set the mood for celebrations in the following day.
Third day of diwali is the main day of the Diwali festival “Lakshmi Puja”. On this day, people wear new clothes, share gifts, sweets with their friends & relatives. Women prepare delicacies & whole house is illuminated with ‘diyas’ & candles. In the evening pujas are offered to Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Kubera. Lakshmi symbolises wealth, prosperity & her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.
As per tradition it’s also believed Maa Lakshmi is to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi, and place Diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her in. On this day, the mothers who work hard all year are recognized by the family & she is seen to embody a part of Lakshmi, the good fortune, prosperity of the household. However, people refrain from meat and alcohol on this day.
Fourth day of diwali “Padwa” or “Balpratipada” also marks the beginning of New Year, in some parts of India, where the Hindu “Vikram Samvat” calendar is popular. Merchants & shopkeepers close out their old year, start a new fiscal year with blessings from Lakshmi & other deities. This day ritually celebrates the love & mutual devotion between the wife & husband. The husbands give thoughtful gifts. In many regions, newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals. In some part of the country devotees perform Goverdhan puja in honor of Lord Krishna
Fifth day of diwali or the last day of this festival is called ‘ Bhai Duj ‘ celebrates the love & lifelong bond between siblings. On this day, sisters invite their brothers to their homes and treat them with sweets & variety of food. In turn, brothers offer them with gifts.
Even though the “Deepawali” is celebrated differently in the world , Five-day long festival celebration literally illumines the country with its joy & different rituals. What remains true & constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment & goodness with everyone, for everyone.
Diwali these days in India, Supreme Court biased decision and controversy
As depicted in various ancient pictures which clearly shows Fire Crackers as a part of ancient hindu Diwali celebration, but the Highest Court in India, the Supreme Court created a big controversy denying Hindus to buy Fire Crackers for Diwali in National Capital Delhi and NCR region. If it was on grounds of pollution then Supreme Court should have released a trend of 3 to 5 years and data to prove that fire crackers indeed cause considerable amount of pollution in the NCR region and world over, which it failed to do so.
All the first world countries do huge fireworks(whole night starting from evening 6 PM on Dec 31st). Does firecrackers burst on Christmas, English New Year or Weddings release Oxygen and purify the environment? If not then why did Supreme Court banned sale of Crackers only till 1st of Nov 2017 and not completely?
This did not go well with most of the Hindus. Even some of the hindu organizations took to offense and celebrated Diwali by bursting crackers in front of Supreme Court in Delhi and 14 people including women are booked by Delhi Police as per this news article by News18.
Decision of the court was ban on sale and NOT on use. Then without a valid reason, how could the police arrest 14 people, which even includes 2-3 women?
BJP Spokesperson expressed his freedom to celebrate Diwali the right way by distributing crackers to poor in Hari Nagar, which is indeed a humble activity and a strong answer to supreme court, who likes to sleep on barbaric and blood dripped events like Bakri Eid, where gallons of water is wasted and millions of innocent animals are killed ruthlessly but always come back to hurt sentiments of law abiding Hindus, who have been kind to everyone from centuries.
Last but not the least!!! “Have A safe & Happy Diwali to Everyone” !!!