Monday, October 25, 2010

Diwali 2010 Festival: Diwali Hindu Festival of Lights

Diwali or Deepavali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya (the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin). It is the ‘Festival of Lights’ and an important and popular five-day festival, which is celebrated in India with lot of enthusiasm. During the five day of Diwali celebrations the entire country is lit with beautiful lights and lots of fireworks are used to celebrate Diwali. It is also known as a festival of wealth and prosperity. The festival of Diwali in India brings a lot of excitement across all the sections of society irrespective of their socio-economic background.

On the occasion of Diwali, homes and premises are decorated and beautifully colored. People wear new clothes. To celebrate the victory of good over evil, earthen lamps are lit. Diwali is celebrated after 20 days of Dussehra. It is also called ‘Deepavali’, is the abstraction of the Sanskrit word Deepavali - 'Deep' means diya (small pots made from clay) or light and 'Avali', means a row - meaning a row of small earthen lamps. Therefore, earthen lamps are kept burning during the days of Diwali. Lights indicate the victory of good over evils.

The Five Days of Diwali

Diwali is five day festival. Each of the five days is separated by different traditions. The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras, which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. It is the one of the most auspicious day of Diwali. The word ‘Dhan’ means wealth. Purchasing of utensils and jewelry is considered auspicious on this day. Special pooja is performed of goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. This day is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanvantari Triodasi.

The Second day is called 'Narakachaturdashi', which falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Ashwin. It is also called Roopchaudas. Roop chaudas and Kali Chaudas are celebrated on this day. Goddess Kali is worshipped and it is believed that goddess Kali killed the demon Raktabija on this day. According to another legend, on this day the demon Narakasura was killed by lord Krishna and Satyabhama. These both incidents signify the victory of good over evil. On this it is believed that to bath before sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky is equivalent of bathing in the holy Ganga.

The third day of the festival of Diwali is the most important day. It is the main day of this great festival. Delicious sweets are made and distributed among friends and relatives and gifts are exchanged. On this day, Hindus worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi and then light lamps in the streets and homes to welcome prosperity and well-being. The cattle are also worshipped. The fourth day of Diwali, in northern part of India celebrated as Govardhan Pooja, while in the western parts of India the same festival is celebrated as Padva or Bali Prativpada. Govardhan Pooja is also known and celebrated as Annakoota that means ‘the mountain of food’. On this day, lord Kridhna defeated Indra, the king of the demigods, by the lifting of Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods. The fifth day of Diwali is called Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooja). On this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.

The legend of lord Rama

For Hindus, Diwali is associated with the return of lord Rama (an incarnation of lord Vishnu) to Ayodhya, after his 14 years of exile and victory over the demon king Ravana. On that day, he was welcome to the kingdom of Ayodhya and on his return, people of Ayodhya lighted lamps throughout the kingdom. Thus, there is a tradition of lighting oil lamps that symbolize the victory of good over evil and freedom from darkness.

Diwali is considered a national festival in India and Nepal. Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. This festival is enjoyed and celebrated enthusiastically by people of every religion, thus this festival is not only significant to Hindus, but, has importance in Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

Diwali 2010 Festival: Diwali 2010 date is November 5


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