So the five day long festivity came to conclusion today with Bhaiya duj. The festivity actually started from Karvachauth, eleven days before Diwali a much celebrated festival in which women fast and pray for the longevity of their husband, then comes Ahoi Ashtami four days after Karvachouth another fasting festival in which mothers fast and pray for health and longevity of their children. These two festivals though celebrated by majority of Indians are also controversial as they are considered regressive and sexiest by certain class of people. But Diwali is one such festival which is celebrated by majority of Indians irrespective of thoughts , class and even religion.
Origin and legends.
Diwali typically falls towards the end of October or first half of November. According to Hindu Calendar it falls on fifteenth day of Hindu month of Kartik. In ancient times Diwali marked the end of summer harvest, hence it was an extremely important harvest festival. Over the time different stories got associated with the festival. Most importantly ancient Hindu traditions commemorates Diwali as the return of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana, after a fourteen year long exile. On his return people of Ayodhya celebrated by lightening the entire kingdom with earthern lamps.
Diwali a five day long festival
Diwali is a five day long festival, which formally begins two days before the night of Diwali and ends two day after. These five days have their own significance and are celebrated in different ways.
Dhanteras History and Significance: The festivity starts with the first day of Dhanteras which marks the birth ceebration of Goddess Laxmi , Goddess of wealth and prosperity and also the birth of Dhanvantari, Goddess of health and healing. People on these day buy ornaments of gold and silver , buying utensils is also considered auspicious on this day.
Naraka Chaturdarshi History and Significance: The second day of Diwali is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdarsi or Choti Diwali. Commemorating the defeat of demon Narakasur , a demon king , by Lord Krishna according to another legend on this day the Vamana avtar of lord Vishnu conquered the powerful and arrogant king Bali . this day is celebrated as victory of good over evil.
Dipawali History and Significance: The third day is the main day when major celebration happens, goddess Laxmi is worshipped on this day. People decorate their house with lights , earthern lamps are lighted in the evening as a mark of ancient tradition. Fireworks are done and sweets are distributed. This is an occasion when people meet and greet their relatives and friends. As per mythology, this day is celebrated as the return of Lord Rama from fourteen year long exile. This is also celebrated as solemnisation of marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi.
Govardhan Pooja History and Significance: Next day of Diwali is Govardhan Pooja in which devotees offer food to the God. This day commemorates the incident in the in which Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill to provide the villagers of Vrindavan shelter from torrential rains. Which signify the fact that God will protect all those devotees who take refugee to him.
Bhaiya Dooj- History and Significance: The last day of Diwali is celebrated as Bhaiya Dooj A significant festival of brother and sister , in spirit similar to Raksha Bandhan. This day sister invite their brothers at their home. Sisters pray for the well being of their brother. As per mythology Yamraj, the God of death, visited his sister Yami at this special day. His sister welcomed him by aarti and tilak ceremony and offered him sweets. On that day Yamraj declared that a brother who would receive tilak and aarti by his sister on this day should never be frightened. That’s why the same day is called as the Yama Dwitiya. According to another legend on this day lord Krishna returned to his sister Subhadra after killig the demon king Narakasur, he was welcomed by his sister with tilak , aarti and sweets.
Diwali is an occasion of great enthusiasm especially for children; all of us undoubtedly have great memories of Diwali in childhood. Being greeted by distant relatives, getting new clothes, seeing elders decorating the home, fragrance of homemade delicacies , eating sweets , the most exiting fireworks and gifts and sweet exchange, it was the most waited festival in childhood and still is. Our Festivals keep us united in a way in otherwise fast moving life where we hardly get time to meet and greet our friends and family and there are plenty of such wonderful festivals in India.