Reasons behind the greatness of the festival of lights!
Ever wondered what makes the festival of Diwali so important in India, what is it about all the colors and lights in the sky? Where did all this begin or what are the reasons behind
people celebrating this particular festival in such a grand, royal and vibrant way.
We'll tell you why !! In fact, through some beautiful photos, we'll even give you a small history lesson behind the history of Deepavali and what are the practices and traditions involved throughout this widely celebrated festival.
Do read about another festival in India called Karwa Chauth.
Source: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS
Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month or Karthika and the festival spans a five day period. Day 1: Spring clean or tidying up the home takes place. Day 2: Houses are decorated with rows of burning diyas /lamps. Day 3: Families gather to worship Goddess Lakshmi, have tasty dishes and watch fireworks in the sky. Day 4: This marks the start of the Hindu New Year where families and friend s exchange greetings and gifts among them. Day 5: On the final day brothers gift their sisters and later the sisters feed their brothers with a meal.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated for a day while the same Deepavali festival is celebrated for a period of 5 days in the Northern states of India, with both regions offering prayers to a different higher power.
Rangoli Glory !!
Source: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS
Other than bursting crackers, there is an artistic tradition that is also carried out on the festival of Diwali, and that is Rangoli. Designed with beautiful patterns made by using color powder and flowers, people draw/design a Rangoli on a wide floor right in front of their homes as a way of welcoming the Gods who bring in good luck with them.
A global festival
Source: Xinhua/Umar Qayyum/IANS
Though it is actually a national holiday in India, the festival of Diwali is celebrated in places like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia and even in Australia and Canada.
The Diyas !!
One of the most commonly used things in Diwali are earthen pots or lamps. These diyas are filled with ghee or oil, and a cotton wick is placed inside the lamp which is used to contain the flame after it is lit.
Return of the Gods!!
The festival of Diwali’s origin traces back to the period of Ancient India, with the most popular story believed to be linked to that of Lord Rama. It is said that the people celebrated the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and his younger brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya after a 14-year long exile, the celebrations were later named Diwali or Deepavali.
The Gambling Game !!
The festival also has a tradition of people who actively take part in gambling. According to mythology, when Goddess Parvati was playing a game of dice against Lord Shiva and finally emerged victorious , she announced that anybody who tried their luck through gambling on Diwali would be granted wealth throughout the year.
Festival of lights !!
The concept of Diwali revolves around the act of eliminating darkness through the light which is why streets, shops, and homes decorate their places with earthen lamps or diyas . It is believed that the lamps may act as a guiding pathway to Goddess Lakshmi who is on her way to bless people on this auspicious day.
Narakaasur’s final wish !
In the southern parts of India, it is celebrated to acknowledge the defeat of the demon Narakasura by the hands of Lord Krishna. Narakasura’s final wish to Mother earth was that his death be celebrated with lights and colors across the lands for all the forthcoming years.
Guru Gobind’s escape !!
Diwali’s tradition dates back thousands of years ago, the most recent traditions associated with Diwali is Sikhism. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as a reason to remember the teacher, Guru Hargobind Ji who was released from the imprisonment of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan along with other Hindu kings.
Ganesha and Durgadevi !!
Idols of the gods, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Durgadevi are placed side by side and are worshiped by the people during pujas, prayers, and rituals. With Ganesha being worshiped first as a way of removing any obstacles that may interfere with the wealth and prosperity from Lakshmi
Peace at the Border
While India and Pakistan have had problems with each other in the past, things are friendly and peaceful on the Indo-Pak border on the day of Diwali. Army men from both sides put all their differences aside and distribute sweets to each other.
Other Religions too !!
Source: Xinhua/Umar Qayyum/IANS
While Diwali is primarily considered a Hindu festival but the occasions is also celebrated by other several religions like Jainism, Sikhism, and other religions
Spring Clean !!
Right before the commencement of the festival, family members clean up their household leaving it neat and tidy as it is also considered an auspicious activity. The cleaning up is done as the first stage of beginning the preparations and celebrations for the festival.
Harvest Season !!
During the festival of Deepavali, it also marks the end of the harvest season So farmers offer thanks to the gods for being blessed with the harvest they earned during the present year and pray that they can once again have another prosperous harvesting season the next year .
Crackers Culture !!
Source: Ravi Shankar Vyas/IANS
The most common game or activity that takes place during this festive season is the bursting of crackers. However this culture started only a century ago cos back in the day, firecrackers were too expensive and couldn’t be afforded by everyone and were only used by people of royal blood.
Leicester’s tribute !!
Source: IANS News
The city of Leicester in the United Kingdom is famous for holding one of the largest celebrations of Diwali outside India. Every year during the festival of Diwali, around ten thousand people gather in the streets to witness some of the greatest Diwali celebrations that take place in the form of beautiful light shows, music, and dance.
The Golden Temple !!
While not many people might be aware of this fact, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali which was also followed by Sikhs celebrating the event during the year of 1577.
Shopping Mania !!
The festival of Diwali is also one of the major seasons for shopping in India. Shops, markets, malls, bazaars offer special Diwali discounts to their customers. During this season, these places are usually filled with customers looking for buying new stuff as they're getting ready to celebrate Diwali.
The Greeting !!
On this festive occasion, people greet each other by saying,’’Shubh Deepavali”’ which also translates to ‘’have an auspicious Diwali’’. But if you find trouble pronouncing those words, you can just say,’’Happy Diwali!”