Diwali is a festival of lights, is one of the most colorful events of the world. Every year around October and November, this festival takes place. Hindus around the world celebrate this event splendidly. This is a celebration of over 2,500 years. In India, the five-day festival marks the biggest holiday of the year.
What is the Diwali Festival?
Diwali, Divali, Deepavali is a Hindu festival, usually they celebrate in the Hindu month Lunisolar Kartika (mid-October and mid-November). The Diwali celebration lasts for five days and it is one of the most popular Hindu festivals. Diwali symbolizes ‘the triumph of light in the darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance’. The word Diwali came from a Sanskrit word, which means Row of Lights.
In the lead-up to Diwali, people will repair, clean, and decorate their homes and workplaces. During Diwali people like to dress in their finest clothing, light their homes with diyas (oil lamps or candles). And they pray for their prosperity and wealth to the goddess Lakshmi.
Some Key Facts About the Diwali Festival:
- They associate the Diwali festival with the goddess Lakshmi.
- Diwali is also a major cultural event for Hindus and Jain diaspora from India. But in many regions, Buddhists and Sikhs also celebrate this occasion.
- Diwali is not a festival for many Buddhists. But the Newar people of Nepal who pay homage to various gods in Rajrayana Buddhism and celebrate Diwali.
- Diwali is a name derived from Sanskrit, which means a row of lights.
- The festivities include decorating houses and public spaces with thousands of lights, candles and colorful designs. Fireworks, family gatherings and gifts are also part of these festivities.
- Diwali holiday is the largest festival holiday of India. It lasts for five days.
- The rich and salty dishes made during Diwali play a major role in the celebration. Families will prepare and share meals at home with guests who come and exchange gifts.
Festivals vary throughout India, and each region has its unique customs and cultures. Diwali is a very important Hindu holiday that is celebrated every year in India and worldwide. Diwali is predicting a new Hindu year. So, they consider it a pleasant time to get rid of old and unwanted items.
What is the History of Diwali?
We can trace Diwali history back to ancient India. There are various myths about the origin of this festival. Some believe that it is the wedding ceremony of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Lord Vishnu. Some believe that it is Lakshmi’s birthday.
In West Bengal, they celebrate Diwali as “Kali Puja”, and they worship Kali, the wife of Shiva, during Diwali. The Diwali festival in Southern India often commemorates the defeat of Asura Naraka. He was an Assam king who imprisoned many people. They believe Krishna has freed the prisoners and declared that celebrations should mark the day.
One of the basic stories happening in Diwali in Hindu mythology is that the day marks the return of Lord Rama. He, his wife Sita Devi and his brother Lakshmana, to his home state of Ayodhya after 14 years spent in exile. To illuminate the road to Rama, the demonic king Ravana had conquered which, the citizens used candlesticks and other decorations. The renaming of the Ramadayana, the story of Lord Rama, is part of the festivals in some places.
Many Buddhists in India mark the anniversary of the conversion of Emperor Ashoka to Buddhism during Diwali.
When is the Diwali Festival Celebrated?
They hold the Diwali festival between October and November, depending on the new moon – on the 15th day of the Hindu month Kartik. While the full festival goes on for five days, the third day is usually an enormous event – though each day has its unique significance.
- First day: Dhanteras. Dhan means wealth and Teras means the 13th day of the lunar month in the Hindu Calendar. On the first day of the festival, people celebrate the arrival of the goddess Lakshmi. They believe Lakshmi has come from the sea on this day.
- Day 2: Naraka Chaturdasi or Chhoti Diwali (Little Diwali). On this day, people believe that Lord Krishna and Kali destroyed the demon Narakasura. They celebrate this day with morning rituals and Puja.
- Day 3: Amavasya or Lakshmi Puja. Amavasya is the darkest day of the month. This day is also very important, dedicated to the celebration of Lakshmi.
- Day 4: Govardhan Puja. On this day Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the god of thunder and rain, and the beginning of a new year. So, they dedicate this day to Lord Krishna.
- Day 5: Bhai Dooj. A day to celebrate the bond between siblings, the sisters prayed for long and happy lives for the brothers and shared food and gifts.
Best Places to Celebrate the Diwali Festival in India:
They celebrate Diwali almost every part of the world. This is a Hindu festival but people of other religion such as Buddhist and Jains are also celebrating this day.
For those who want to celebrate the festival differently than usual, here are a few suggestions:
- Varanasi: Varanasi is witnessing Diwali celebrations in blue, with millions of lights and millions of people. Start your day with the Ganga Snan (a Ganges bath), followed by the bustling street markets selling sweets and colorful clothes.
- Amritsar: The Golden Temple town is a treat at any time of the year, but especially for Diwali, which coincides with the Sikh festivals of the Bandi Chhor Divas. They celebrate it to mark the return of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind.
- Jaipur: The celebrations in Jaipur begin at Dikantera, the first of the five-day festival of Diwali. Popular views such as the Nahargarh Fort provide exciting backdrop views of the festive darkness, including the stunning views of the walled city.
- Udaipur: The city of Udaipur looks exactly the same, with its stunning lakes illuminated by lantern lights and fireworks, creating endless images.
- Goa: Goa is another superb place to celebrate Diwali in India. Here the focus is on the destruction of the demon Narakasura by the god Krishna.
- Kolkata: Though most people in India worship the goddess Lakshmi in Diwali, Kolkata praises the goddess Kali. Do not miss the largest places in the Kalighat Temple or the Dakshineswar Temple.
Essential Tips to help You Enjoy the Diwali Festival:
- As Diwali is the largest holiday of India, you must book your hotels and tickets earlier.
- This is a peak time for the travelers. There might be an immense crowd. So get to the spot at least 2 days earlier.
- Take ear plugs with you. Crackers and other explosions are loud so you might need them.
- Wear a mask, because this is the peak time of air pollution.
- If you want to experience the real Diwali rituals, visit the house of your host.
- Don’t forget to eat the local special dishes made for Diwali.
- Bring a photographic camera with you. You can capture the beautiful and colorful memories.
- Wear appropriate dresses for the occasion as Indians are very much conservative.
- Don’t forget to wish people ‘Happy Diwali’.
Safety Concerns During the Diwali Festival:
- Keep your eyes on the belongings.
- Sound of the crackers can be dangerous for your hearing, so be cautious.
- Don’t let kids go play with crackers and lights alone.
- Keep a fast-aid box a with you.
- Don’t play with crackers and fireworks in closed areas.
Diwali is one of the most colorful and lively events of India. Though after this festival the air pollution of India rises up, this festival has its own traditional meaning. So, experiencing this colorful event is must be a bucket-list for you.
Frequently Asked Question About Diwali Festival:
Q. What food do you eat on Diwali?
Answer: Diwali is about eating sweets. Simple snacks include gooey barfis to pepper mathris. Each state of India has its own style of adding flavor to make Diwali more beautiful. Special meals prepared in Diwali include Shankarpale, Cheer, Jalebis, Gulab Jamun, Gajar Ka Halwa, Kajoo Barfi and Karanji. These items are among the most popular dishes.
Q. Which city is famous for Diwali?
Answer: Varanasi is one of the famous places where Diwali is celebrated with a huge pump and show. At sunset, many devotees filled the Ghats in this great Hindu festival of illuminating diyas before leaving them in the river to float.
Q. What do you wear for Diwali?
Answer: Here are the many choices men and women should wear to Diwali Party. For men, they can wear Kurta Pajama, Nehru Jacket, Indo Western Outfits, Jodhpuri Suit, Sherwani. For women, they can wear Salwar Kameez, Kurtis, Sarees. Anarkali dress, Lehengas.
Q. When is the Diwali in 2020?
Answer: Saturday, November 14.
Q. Is there any place where Diwali is not celebrated?
Answer: Diwali literally the “Festival of Light” is the most important Hindu festival celebrated throughout India with great joy. However, there is one area where people do not celebrate Diwali at that distance as celebrated in other parts. Kerala is the only state in India where Diwali is not a great festival. The indigenous people of Kerala do not celebrate Diwali. The people of Kerala are very much conservative on their custom and culture. So, they have been able to observe their own customs and traditions.