Women light earthen lamps on Diwali. Image Source: IANS

June 26 : On November 13, 2012, North India celebrated 'Diwali' and South India celebrated 'Deepavali' on the same day, an alliance that was not to happen for the next several years, until the year 2019. For 6 years since 2012, South Indians (specifically Kerala & Tamil Nadu) have been celebrating the festival of lights one day ahead of their fellow countrymen in the North.

This year, i.e, in the year 2019, India will unite on October 27, Sunday to celebrate one of its most important and brightest festivals.

Diwali festival date is based on the Hindu calendar . It falls on the 15th day (amavasya tithi of Krishna paksha) of Kartik month which is usually late October or early November.

Up in the north, for Hindus, Diwali is a series of festivals lasting for 5 days starting with Dhanteras followed by Chotti Diwali(Naraka Chaturdasi), Lakshmi Puja , Govardhan puja and ending with the celebration of Bhai Duj on day 5. The day of Lakshmi Puja is celebrated as the day of Diwali, commemorating the return of Sita Devi, Ram and Lakshman to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. The day when Amavasya prevails during Pradosha kala is chosen for Lakshmi puja.

Image Source: IANS

The day of Lakshmi Puja is celebrated as the day of Diwali

Down south, Deepavali marks the victory of Lord Krishna and Sathyabhama over Narakasura, a wicked demon. The day falls on Chaturdashi tithi, a day ahead of Amavasya. Festival day should also satisfy the condition that moon rise happens before sunrise on chaturdashi. This explains why the date differs in South India and North India.

In 2018, Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi continued upto 10:27 pm on November 06 followed by Amavasya upto 9:32 pm on November 07. Therefore south celebrated Deepavali on November 06th and north celebrated Diwali on November 07th.

However in the year 2019, though Chaturdashi tithi starts at 3:46 PM on October 26 and lasts upto 12:23 pm on the 27th, 26th fails to satisfy the condition that moon rise should happen before sunrise on chaturdashi. Thus Naraka chaturdashi is celebrated on October 27, the day which satisfies this condition. With the end of Chaturdashi starts Amavasya tithi. Amavasya continues upto 9:08 am on October 28, however the condition that 'amavasya prevails during pradosha kaal' fixes lakshmi puja date on October 27, Sunday for which Pradosh kaal is from 5:48 PM to 8:21 PM when Amavasya is the tithi in effect.

Image Source: IANS

'Deepavali' marks the victory of Lord Krishna and Sathyabhama over Narakasura (Image shows an artist gives finishing touches to the masks of damon Narakasura ahead of Naraka Chaturdashi)

After a gap of 6 years, the celestial bodies have assumed a favorable alignment to enable India celebrate Diwali as one. This year, Diwali will be celebrated across the country on October 27, Sunday.

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