Traditions and Significance of the festival of Diwali

Hand Lit Diya Dark

India is a nation that binds multiple races, castes, creeds and ethnic groups in a common chord of mutual respect, love and harmony. Festivals form the most integral part of Indian society. Filling the air with vibrant colors, the colossal churches, temples and mosques, threshold of the houses illuminated with rows of lamps, traditional attires, folklore, singing and dances and unwavering jubilance mark the festival in India. The concept of 'unity in diversity' encompasses all the festivals, making India a land that upholds multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious harmony.

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated in India with full vim and brio. Diwali is known as the festival of lights. Diwali is celebrated on the last day of the last month of lunar calendar. According to the Hindu calender, last day of the last month of lunar calendar is 'Amavasya' (No moon Day). If you are wondering when is Diwali? then note that this festival generally falls in between mid -october and mid-november. and according to the hindu calender it falls on the darkest night of lunisolar month called kartika. Triumph of the good over the evil and ascendancy of wealth and prosperity is the main essence of the festival.

Essentially, Diwali is a five-day long festival. The first day of Diwali is known as 'Dhanteras' or 'Dhan Trayodashi'. Dhanteras is referred to as “Yamadeepdaan”. To mark the occasion, lamps are kept illuminated throughout the night, in reverence of Yama, the God of Death. The festival of Dhanteras is also celebrated to honor the Dhanavanthri, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this day, people decorate their houses and workplaces, make traditional 'Rangoli' motifs on the entrance, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. It is considered auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day.

The second day of the festival is 'Narak Chaturdashi', or 'Chhoti Diwali'. According to mythology, the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna on this day. On the other hand, Bengalis believe that Goddess Kali killed the demon Raktavija on this day. Different traditions are followed on this day in different parts of the country.  However, a custom that is followed unanimously on this day is bursting of crackers. People light diyas and lamps and adorns their houses.

Door Step Flower Diya Rangoli

The third day is the main day of the Diwali called 'Badi Diwali'. It is the day when Goddess Laxmi is worshiped and offered "Naivedya". It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya from exile after defeating the demon of Lanka, Ravana. On the eve of Diwali, every corner of the house are illuminated with earthen diyas, lamps and candles. Colorful 'Rangoli' motifs are used to beautify and decorate the entrances of the houses. This practice of beautifying the floor of the entrance is practiced as a tradition of welcoming Goddess Lakshmi who is believed to bestow the people of the house with wealth and prosperity.

The next day, that is the fourth day is 'Govardhan-Puja' or 'Annakoot'. In home, usually 56 different food items are prepared and arranged in a thali and are placed before Lord Krishna. The fifth and the last day is Bhai Dooj. This occasion has a number of traditions associated with it. However, the tradition of putting a tilak of roli (vermilion), kesar (saffron) and rice on the brother's forehead by their sister as a mark of their love and protection, is observed everywhere.

Exchanging gifts on this holy occasion holds a special place. However, there are a number of Indians who reside offshore and cannot be with their families on Diwali. On such a predicament, they often seek aid of the advanced technology available. Thanks to the advancement of internet that these NRIs can send a gift to their loved ones in India, online. There are a multiple online gifting portals that facilitates e-gifting to India. Online gifting is less time consuming, and one may browse through a thousand gift articles with recurring clicks of the mouse. Easy payment process, secured payment gateways, proficient delivery service and the option to track the status of the order placed - all these make e-gifting a hassle-free affair to send gifts to India.

Not only helping the global NRIs with the service to send gifts to India, these e-gifting websites also aid the families in India to send gifts to abroad. Those who have their dear ones settled abroad, can now send gifts to India from US. Enfolded with the selfless affection, love and best wishes, these gifts will surely convey the heartfelt emotions to them.

Diwali is the celebration of illuminating one’s own soul with the light of hope and positive energy. It brings people together in spite of religious, cultural, social or geographical barriers. With passing time, the mode of Diwali celebration have undergone several changes, yet the spirit of this auspicious festival remains the same.Since you known when is Diwali, enjoy this festival with joy and gaiety.

Aparna Published: Sep 22, 2010 | Last Updated: Aug 31, 2019

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