Diwali is near, and our hearts are blossoming like beautiful flowers. Firecrackers are being heard in the mind, and remembrance of beautiful lamps glimmering in the dark is bringing a sweet smile on our faces.
More than words, Diwali celebrations in India is an emotion to be experienced.
But do you know why is Diwali So special? Let’s start by discussing why Diwali is so dear to our hearts!
Why Diwali Is Celebrated ?
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is celebrated from a Vedic perspective for various reasons:
Return of Lord Rama:
The first and the foremost reason for celebrating Diwali is that on this day of Diwali the Lord of our hearts, Sri Rama returned back in Ayodhya with Srimati Sita Devi, and Lakshmana after defeating the demon king Ravana.
The citizens of Ayodhya had waited long enough since 14 years to see once their sweet Lord! Their happiness knew no bounds when they heard the Lord is returning, in the joy they decorated the entire city with millions of lamps!
Their return symbolizes the restoration of dharma (righteousness) and the return of goodness to the kingdom.
Honoring the Goddess Lakshmi:
Diwali is associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the Vedic deity of wealth and prosperity. People believe that by invoking her blessings, they will be blessed with wealth and abundance.
Hindu New Year:
In some traditions of India, Diwali marks the beginning of their New Year. It is a time to cleanse one's home and life, both spiritually and physically, to welcome the new year with purity and positive energy.
Victory of Light over Darkness:
Diwali symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. In Vedic philosophy, this represents the victory of knowledge, wisdom, and righteousness over ignorance and the forces of darkness.
Yama and Yamuna:
Diwali is also associated with the history of Yama (the God of Death) and his sister Yamuna. On this day, it is understood that Yama granted a boon to Yamuna, ensuring that anyone who bathed in her waters would be free from suffering and attain moksha (liberation).
We see that every year millions of pilgrims go to Yamuna and take bath there in the month of Kartik on day of Diwali.
Celebration of Knowledge:
Diwali is a time when people light oil lamps, or diyas, and exchange knowledge and wisdom. This practice aligns with the Vedic tradition of valuing the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
The list does not end here, but our capacity to write does.. never the less, we now discuss how we should celebrate Diwali to make it a cherishing memory of our life.
And yes, these Vedic perspectives are deeply rooted in the spiritual and cultural significance of Diwali, making it one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals in Hinduism and various other Indian traditions.
How to Celebrate Diwali ?
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a festival celebrated by millions of people around the world. It's a time of joy, togetherness, and spiritual significance.
Before we learn the ways we should celebrate diwali we will first study how people generally celebrate diwali.
The way Diwali is celebrated can vary based on regional and cultural differences, but here are some common ways to celebrate Diwali:
How Diwali is generally celebrated ..
In line with arrival of Lord Rama back to Ayodhya or our homes 😊 devotees all over India clean and decorate their houses.
Cleaning and Decorating:
In the days leading up to Diwali, homes, and workplaces are thoroughly cleaned and decorated. This symbolizes the removal of impurities and the welcoming of prosperity and good fortune. People often decorate their homes with colorful rangoli (artistic designs made with colored powders), flowers, and decorative lamps (diyas).
Lighting Lamps and Candles:
Lighting oil lamps (diyas) and candles are a central element of Diwali. It signifies the victory of light over darkness and the dispelling of ignorance. People place these lamps throughout their homes and in doorways to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Fireworks and Firecrackers:
As when India wins over Pakistan in cricket we burst crackers similarly to express our jo on Diwali when Rama returns, devotees burst crackers.
Fireworks and firecrackers are a significant part of Diwali celebrations. They are used to celebrate the victory of light and to ward off evil spirits. However, it's important to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines when using fireworks.
Worship and Puja:
Diwali is a time for religious and spiritual reflection. Many people offer prayers and perform puja (ritual worship) to deities of Lord Vishnu, and Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity and wealth.
However we do not find any shastric reference for worship of Laxmi Ganesh, but there are evidences for worship of Lord Vishnu & Laxmi together.
Temples are beautifully decorated, and special Diwali ceremonies are conducted.
It is customary to exchange gifts and sweets with family and friends during Diwali. Giving and receiving gifts symbolizes love and affection. Traditional Indian sweets, such as mithai, are popular Diwali gifts.
It's common for people to wear new clothes during Diwali, symbolizing the idea of starting fresh and leaving behind the old. Many people choose to wear traditional Indian attire.
Diwali is a time for delicious feasts with family and friends. Special, homemade dishes and sweets are prepared. The feasts often include a variety of vegetarian dishes.
Crackers and Lighting Displays:
In some regions, grand lighting displays and fireworks are organized by local authorities or communities. These displays can be quite spectacular and are a source of entertainment for many.
How we should celebrate Diwali ?
Diwali is the day when we have a great opportunity to get closer to the Lord of our heart Sri Rama.
It is good that we celebrate this day with joy and pomp, but it is equally important to keep the attitude through out the day remembering Lord Rama.
Expressing and creating environment which increases our love for Him. Some ways that help with this is :
Conducting Worship :
Keeping a worship of Lord Rama in the night, and inviting friends and relatives will help every one to remember about God. children can be given tasks to
- Make garlands from flowers,
- To light the diyas,
- To decorate the altar with flowers
- To apply tilaka to everyone after worship
- To distribute prasadam,
By these simple yet sweet things, children learn our tradition.
Along with worship, we can also invite saints to our homes to do Rama Katha, this can engage everyone in our home for several hours, from inviting people, cooking for prasad after katha, for arranging the katha hall and so on.
Good way for absorbing in Lord Rama’s Lila.
Community and Social Activities:
Diwali is a time for community involvement and social gatherings. Many cities and towns host cultural events, fairs, and parades. People come together to celebrate and share the festive spirit.
Best is to keep them as centric to Lord Rama, we can arrange for dramas by young children on Rama Lila that will make the events very loveable.
Charity and Acts of Kindness:
Giving to those in need is an essential aspect of Diwali. Many individuals and communities engage in acts of charity, donating to charitable organizations and helping those less fortunate.
while we donate we can also take care where we are donating, good is to donate in organisations where our donations will be used to spread sanatan dharma not otherwise.
Remember that Diwali is a time for positivity, gratitude, and harmony. It's essential to be considerate of the environment and the well-being of others, especially when using firecrackers and fireworks.
Additionally, check local customs and traditions, as the way Diwali is celebrated can vary in different parts of India and among different communities.
What are 4 interesting facts about Diwali?
Festival of Lights:
Diwali is often referred to as the "Festival of Lights" because it involves the lighting of countless lamps, candles, and decorative lights. The illumination symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali is not just a one-day festival; it is typically celebrated over a five-day period.
Each day has its own significance and customs. These days include
- Naraka Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali),
- Govardhan Puja, and
- Bhai Dooj.
History of Firecrackers
While Diwali is known for its colorful fireworks and firecrackers, the noise generated by these explosions can be quite loud. It's believed that the loud noises and bright lights are meant to drive away evil spirits.
Some ancient traditions have images of people bursting some items like fire crackers, which hints that use of firecracker is not modern invention and the link of firecrackers with diwali is from many thousands of years.
Diwali is not limited to India. It is celebrated by millions of people around the world. In countries with significant Indian diaspora communities, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, Diwali has gained popularity and is celebrated with enthusiasm and grandeur. Landmarks in major cities are often illuminated to mark the occasion.
These facts showcase the diversity, cultural richness, and widespread celebration of Diwali, making it one of the most significant festivals not only in India but also globally.
Five-Day Celebrations of Diwali
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a five-day celebration that holds religious and cultural significance in India and other countries with a significant Indian diaspora. Each day of Diwali has its unique rituals and customs. Here's a brief overview of the five-day celebration:
- Day 1: Dhanteras (Dhanatrayodashi):
- Dhanteras marks the beginning of the Diwali festivities.
- People clean and decorate their homes on this day.
- It is considered an auspicious day for purchasing gold, silver, or utensils, as it is believed to bring wealth and prosperity.
- In the evening, lamps are lit, and prayers are offered to Goddess Lakshmi for blessings.
- Day 2: Naraka Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali):
- Also known as Choti Diwali, this day commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura.
- People take an oil bath before sunrise and apply aromatic oils.
- Traditional sweets are prepared and shared with family and friends.
- In some regions, prayers and rituals are performed in honor of Lord Krishna's victory.
- Day 3: Diwali (Lakshmi Puja):
- Diwali, the main day of the festival, is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity.
- Homes are illuminated with oil lamps, candles, and decorative lights.
- Families gather for a grand feast and exchange gifts.
- Fireworks and firecrackers are lit to celebrate the victory of light over darkness.
- Day 4: Govardhan Puja (Padwa):
- This day is observed as Govardhan Puja or Annakut.
- It commemorates Lord Krishna's lifting of the Govardhan Hill to protect the people of Gokul from heavy rainfall.
- Devotees create a mountain of food (annakut) as an offering to the deities.
- In some regions, this day is celebrated as a day of mutual respect and love between husbands and wives.
- Day 5: Bhai Dooj (Yama Dwitiya):
- Bhai Dooj is a day dedicated to the bond between brothers and sisters.
- Sisters apply tilak on their brothers' foreheads and pray for their well-being.
- Brothers give gifts to their sisters as a token of their love and affection.
- It symbolizes the importance of family relationships and is a day for strengthening sibling bonds.
The five days of Diwali hold deep cultural and religious significance, and the celebrations vary in different regions of India. It is a time for families to come together, express gratitude, and seek blessings for prosperity and happiness in the coming year.
Diwali & Birth of Lakshmi, the goddess of Wealth.
Diwali is often referred to as the Festival of Lights, and it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. It typically lasts for five days and is observed by people of various faiths, including Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs.
Diwali is also associated with the legend of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana, and the lighting of lamps to guide him back. In the Jain tradition, Diwali is celebrated to commemorate Lord Mahavira's attainment of nirvana.
So, while Diwali doesn't specifically celebrate the birth of Goddess Lakshmi, it is a festival that honors her and is a time for people to seek her blessings for wealth and prosperity.
Diwali is also the end of the harvest season
Yes, you are correct. Diwali is also associated with the end of the harvest season in many parts of India. In the agricultural calendar, it is often considered a time to give thanks for the successful completion of the harvest and to celebrate the abundance of food. The festival is an occasion for people to express their gratitude for the bountiful harvest and to pray for a prosperous year ahead.
During Diwali, it is common for people to prepare special dishes using the newly harvested crops and to share these festive meals with family and friends. This aspect of Diwali reflects the agrarian roots of the festival and the importance of agriculture in the lives of many people in India. It's a time to rejoice in the fruits of the harvest and to look forward to a period of abundance and prosperity.
Preparation for the Diwali Celebration.
Diwali is a vibrant and joyous festival, and its preparation typically involves several key activities and rituals to ensure that the celebration is both spiritually significant and visually captivating. Here are the essential preparations for Diwali:
- Cleaning and Decorating Homes:
- Cleaning: In the weeks leading up to Diwali, people thoroughly clean their homes. This practice, known as "Diwali cleaning," signifies the removal of negativity and the welcoming of positive energy.
- Decoration: Homes are decorated with oil lamps (diyas), candles, and colorful rangoli designs. Decorative lights, lanterns, and strings of electric lights are also used to illuminate homes. The idea is to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
- Shopping for New Clothes: Many people buy new clothes to wear on Diwali, symbolizing a fresh start and a sense of renewal.
- Purchasing Gifts: Gifts for family and friends are purchased and wrapped in colorful paper or packaging.
- Buying Decorations: People purchase decorative items like diyas, rangoli colors, candles, and flowers for their homes.
- Preparing Traditional Sweets and Savories:
- Preparing Mithai: Many households prepare a variety of traditional sweets and mithai like laddoos, barfis, and jalebis.
- Savory Snacks: Preparing savory snacks such as namkeens and samosas is also common.
- Puja (Prayer) Preparation:
- Cleaning the Puja Room: The place of worship in the home, often a small prayer room or temple, is cleaned and adorned with fresh flowers.
- Puja Essentials: Devotees gather items like idols of deities, incense, oil lamps, and other offerings for the Lakshmi Puja (worship of Goddess Lakshmi).
- Lakshmi Puja:
- On the main day of Diwali, families perform the Lakshmi Puja in the evening. This is a special prayer dedicated to the goddess of wealth, prosperity, and good fortune.
- Diyas and oil lamps are lit to welcome the goddess, and prayers are offered for blessings and abundance.
- Fireworks and Crackers:
- In many regions, Diwali celebrations include the lighting of fireworks and firecrackers. Families often gather to enjoy these displays of light and sound.
- Exchanging Gifts:
- Families and friends exchange gifts and sweets during the festival to express love and good wishes.
- Visiting Relatives and Neighbors:
- It is common to visit relatives and neighbors to exchange greetings, gifts, and good wishes during Diwali.
- Cultural Activities:
- In various parts of India, cultural activities, including dance performances, music, and drama, are organized to celebrate the festival.
- Charity and Giving:
- Giving to those in need is an important aspect of Diwali. Many people donate to charity and help those less fortunate during this time.
Preparations for Diwali vary from region to region and family to family, but the core elements of cleaning, decorating, worship, and celebration are common to the festival. It is a time of joy, togetherness, and the celebration of light over darkness.
Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali.
Do share with us how did you celebrate your diwali!