Diwali-A Festival of Lights

Diwali or Dewali is a five-day long Hindu festival. It’s a festival of lights. On the thirteenth day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin, the festival of Diwali begins with the Dhanteras festival. The festival ends with the Bhaiphonta ceremony on the second day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik. Diwali begins 16 days after the end of Navaratri festival. According to the Gregorian calendar, Diwali is celebrated from mid-October to mid-November. Diwali is a public holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

Diwali Rituals in Different Communities

Diwali is a very important religious festival. The Hindu devotees organize various ceremonies at home. According to the Jains, Mahavira attained Moksha or Nirvana on the day of Diwali in 528 BC. The Sikhs celebrate this festival as Hargobind, the sixth Guru of the Sikhs, and 52 princes were released on the day of Diwali in 1819. They call this day ‘Prisoner Release Day’. They also observe this day as “Sharadiya Nab-Shasyesti”. On this day Hindus light small earthen lamps in their houses. Lighting the lamps is a symbol of expulsion from evil. Hindus believe that Goddess Lakshmi comes to the house after cleaning the house and keeping the lamp on all night. Fireworks are also burned to ward off evil. There is also a tradition of wearing new clothes, distributing sweets among family and friends during Diwali. Dhanteras Day marks the beginning of the financial year of many Indian business communities. The second day is called Naraka Chaturdashi. Lakshmi is worshipped on the third day of the new moon. On this day Kali Puja is performed in West Bengal. On the fourth day (Kartik Shukla Pratipada) Vaishnava devotees worship Govardhana. On the fifth day Yamadvitiya or Bhaiphonta festival is celebrated. On this day the sisters invite their brothers to their house. It is also known as Diwali, Dipanwita, Deepalika, Sukhratri, Sukhsuptika and Yaksharatri. Ulkas are lit to show the way to the ancestors who come to earth after leaving Yamloka for Shraddha in Mahalaya. For this reason, lighting and fireworks are burnt for 7 days. Some devotees light candles on their doors and windows at night; Someone light a lamp made of paper on a long bamboo head; It is called Akash Pradeep in the regional language. Diwali means festival of light. Every year Diwali comes before the joy of Durga Puja is over. Kali Puja is usually performed in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Ganesha puja and Lakshmi puja are also performed on this day in other regions of the sub-continent.

Stories Behind Diwali Festival

According to the story of Ramayana, on the day of Diwali, in the age of Treta, Sri Rama killed Ravana and returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. Fourteen years after Shri Ram’s return, lamps were lit all over the state. The people were happy. Now many people think that the rituals of Diwali are observed following that story of Ramayana.

Diwali is basically a five-day long festival. The Chaturdashi of the day before Diwali (this day is called the first day of the Diwali festival) is called ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’. The day of the new moon after Chaturdashi is the second day of the festival of Diwali, but this day is considered as the day of the festival. At night, the followers of Shakta religion worship Shakta Goddess Kali. Moreover, Lakshmi Puja is also performed on this day. It is said that on this day, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fulfills the desires of the devotees. According to the Vishnu Purana, Vamana Avatar (the dwarf incarnation) of Lord Vishnu sent Asura (demon) Vali to the underworld; On the day of Diwali, Asura Vali was allowed to come to earth and light a lamp to dispel darkness and ignorance, to ignite the flames of love and knowledge. The third day of Diwali is called Kartika Shuddha; On this day, Asura Vali came out of hell, purified himself and ruled the world with Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is Bhatridwitiya; It is also called Yamadwitiya, Bhai Phonta, Bhai Dooj etc. On this ausicious day the sisters pray good health and happy life for their brothers. Besides the sisters tie rakhi on the hands of the brothers and apply phonta on the foreheads of the brothers. On this day, after killing a demon named Narakasura, Lord Krishna came to his sister Subhadra and Subhadra applied tilaka on his forehead and served sweetmeats to him. Since then, the Bhaiphonta festival has been traditionalized.

Significance of Diwali

Diwali is celebrated to signify the victory of good over evil. This day of festival is also a day to dispel the darkness of ignorance. It is also the day to ignite the eternal flame of love from country to country, from region to region.

Lamp Lighting Mantra

Shubham Karoti Kalyaannam-Aarogyam Dhana-Sampadaa |
Shatru-Buddhi-Vinaashaaya Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||
Diipa-Jyotih Para-Brahma Diipa-Jyotir-Janaardanah |
Diipo Haratu Me Paapam Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||

Om Asato Maa Sad-Gamaya |
Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya |
Mrtyor-Maa Amrtam Gamaya |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Talker:Krishna Das

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