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Diwali

06-11-2023
Diwali
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most significant and widely celebrated festivals in India. It holds great cultural, religious, and social importance, and its observance extends beyond India to various parts of the world where the Indian diaspora resides. Diwali, often referred to as the "Festival of Lights," typically lasts for five days, and each day carries its own unique significance and rituals.

Diwali marks the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. The festival usually falls in the autumn season, and its date is determined by the Hindu lunar calendar, making it a movable holiday, typically occurring in October or November. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs, although the reasons and customs associated with Diwali may vary among these communities.

The historical origins of Diwali are deeply rooted in Hindu mythology. The most commonly celebrated story is the return of Lord Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu, to his kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. To welcome him and celebrate his return, the people of Ayodhya lit oil lamps, or diyas, which has become a central tradition of Diwali. In Jainism, Diwali commemorates Lord Mahavira's attainment of nirvana, and in Sikhism, it marks the release of Guru Hargobind Ji from imprisonment in the Gwalior Fort.

The five-day celebration of Diwali begins with Dhanteras, a day dedicated to wealth and prosperity. People clean their homes and purchase new items, particularly metal objects and jewelry, as a symbol of good fortune. The second day, Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali, signifies the victory of good over evil and is observed by lighting oil lamps and bursting firecrackers. The main Diwali day falls on the third day, during which people dress in their finest clothes, offer prayers to deities, exchange gifts, and illuminate their homes with earthen lamps and decorative lights. This day also involves indulging in a variety of sweets and special dishes. The fourth day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja, dedicated to Lord Krishna, and the fifth day is Bhai Dooj, a day to honor the bond between brothers and sisters.

The lighting of lamps and the bursting of fireworks play a crucial role in Diwali celebrations. The illumination of homes is believed to invite the goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of wealth and prosperity, into one's household. Fireworks are a symbol of the victory of light over darkness and are also a way to express joy and excitement during the festival.

The exchange of gifts and sweets is another vital aspect of Diwali. It is a way for people to strengthen their relationships and share their happiness with loved ones. Families and friends come together to celebrate, and it is a time for reconciliation, forgiveness, and starting anew.

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