Diwali is a religious Hindu festival, celebrated as festival of lights by lighting lamps everywhere on the homes, streets, shops, temples, markets, etc.
Essay on Diwali
People of Hindu religion wait very eagerly for this special festival of Diwali. It is the most important and favorite festival of everyone especially for kids and children of the home. Use following essay on Diwali to make your kids smart enough at home or school and motivate them to know the history and significance of celebrating Diwali festival every year. You can select anyone of these Diwali essay according to your need:
Diwali Essay – 1 (200 Words)
Diwali is the most significant and famous festival of the India which is being celebrated every year all over the country as well as outside the country. People celebrate it very enthusiastically to commemorate the returning of Lord Rama to his kingdom, Ayodhya after a long period of time of 14 years of exile after defeating the Ravana.
On the returning day of Lord Rama, people of Ayodhya had illuminated their homes and pathways to welcome their Lord with the great enthusiasm. It is a sacred Hindu festival which symbolizes the triumph of goodness over badness. It is also celebrated by the Sikhs to commemorate the release of their 6th Guru, Sri Hargobind Ji, from the Gwalior jail by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
Markets are decorated with lights just like a bride to give it a marvelous festive look. At this day market is full of big rush specially the sweet shops. Kids get new clothes, fire crackers, sweets, gifts, candles and toys from the market. People clean and whitewash their houses and decorate with electric lights some days earlier to the festival.
Diwali Essay – 2 (250 Words)
India is the great country known as the land of festivals. One of the famous and most celebrated festival is Diwali or Deepawali which falls every year 20 days after the festival of Dussehra in the month of October or November. It is celebrated to commemorate the returning of Lord Rama to the Kingdom after the 14 years of exile. People of Ayodhya shown their their joy and happiness by lighting the lamps in the whole kingdom and firing crackers.
Diwali is known as the festival of lights or row of lights which is the symbol of coming of Lakshmi to the home and victory of truth over the evil. At this day Lord Rama had killed the demon king of Lanka, Ravan in order to save the earth from the bad activities. People do whitewash and clean up of their houses, offices, and shops to welcome the Lakshmi. They decorate their houses, lighting lamps and firing crackers.
It is common beliefs of people that buying new things at this day would bring home the Lakshmi. People buy gifts, clothes, sweets, decorative things, fire crackers and diyas. Kids buy toys, sweets and crackers from the market. In the evening, Lakshmi puja is held by the people at their home by lighting lamps. People take bath, wear new clothes and then start puja. After puja they distribute prasad and share gifts to each other. They pray to God for the happy and prosperous life. And in the last they enjoy burning fire crackers and playing games.
Diwali Essay – 3 (300 Words)
Diwali is the most important and significant festival for the people of Hindu religion. It has many rituals, traditional and cultural beliefs of celebrating it. It is celebrated all over the country as well as outside the country with great enthusiasm. This festival is associated with many stories and legends. One of the great legends behind celebrating it is the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana. That’s why Diwali is celebrated as a symbol of victory of goodness over the badness.
People celebrate it by getting together with their relatives as well as nearest and dearest ones. They celebrate it by sharing gifts, sweets, greetings and best wishes for Diwali. They enjoy a lot of activities, playing games, firing crackers, puja and many more. People purchase new clothes for all the family members according to their own capability. Kids enjoy this festival by wearing glittering and blazing clothes.
People enlighten their home and pathways with the clay diyas to remove the single bit of the darkness and to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. People indulge in playing games, eating a variety of dishes at home and many more activities. Government offices are also involved in getting clean up and decorated. Everywhere looks enchanting and enthralling because of the cleaning, white washing of walls, decoration and lighting with diyas or candle.
In the evening, after the sunset men and women perform puja of the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi and God of wisdom, Ganesh. It is believed that clean up, decoration, lighting diyas are very necessary at this day as Goddess Lakshmi come to visit the houses of everyone. It is celebrated all over the India as a symbolization of the unity.
Diwali Essay – 4 (350 Words)
Diwali is the most important annual festival for Hindus which falls during the month of October or November. There is a lot of religious and cultural beliefs behind celebrating this festival. The great cultural belief behind celebrating it, is to commemorate the returning of Lord Rama to his home after 14 years of exile after defeating the demon king, Ravana. It is also celebrated as the symbol of coming of the winter season after the rainy season. It indicates the starting of new annual account for the businessmen.
During this festival, people visit their relatives and friends in order to share gifts and say them good wishes for Diwali. People distribute the gift packets such as sweets, dry fruit packets, gift hampers, cakes and many other things. People offer puja to the Goddess Lakshmi to get more blessings for the bright future and prosperity.
Lamps are lighted everywhere to remove the evil from home and welcome the God and Goddess. People get busy in the activities of Diwali (such as purchasing, clean up, whitewash and other religious activities) almost a month before from the real date of festival. It looks bright and dazzling everywhere because of the lighting lamps and candles.
Children are very keen to celebrate it and show their interest by involving in all the activities related to the Diwali. They learn many stories, making rangolis, playing games from their teachers in the school. Many events on Diwali takes place in the schools by the kids two weeks before the main date of Diwali. Teachers familiarize the students about how to use crackers and fireworks, how to do puja, legends of Diwali and many more things.
Diwali festival includes five days long celebration which are celebrated with joy and delight. The first day of Diwali is known as the Dhanteras, second day is Naraka Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali, third day is Main Diwali or Lakshmi puja, fourth day is Govardhan puja and fifth day is Bhaiya Dooj. Each of the five days of Diwali celebration has its own religious and cultural beliefs.
Diwali Essay – 5 (400 Words)
India is the most festival celebrating country every year, where people of all the religions celebrate their different festivals according to their own culture and tradition. Diwali is one of the most celebrated, important, traditional and cultural festivals of India for the people of Hindu religion which they celebrate very enthusiastically every year by gathering together with relatives, family, friends and neighbors. It is also known as festival of lights or Deepawali.
It is the festival of great joy and enthusiasm which falls every year in the month of October or November. The coming of diwali festival brings a lot of story and legends which every kids must know. One of the great reason behind celebrating the Diwali festival is the returning of Lord Rama to his Kingdom, Ayodhya, after getting a big victory over the demon king Ravana of the Lanka. Diwali is celebrated every year to symbolize and remember this history by the people as a victory of truth ever over the evil. People of Ayodhya had welcomed the returning their most loved King Lord Rama to their own Kingdom after the long period of time, 14 years of exile, with their wife Sita and younger brother Lakshman. People of Ayodhya had expressed their love and affection towards their King by their heartily welcome. They had enlightened their home including whole kingdom and burned fire crackers to welcome the Lord Rama.
They had prepared a lot delicious recipes to offer their Lord, everyone was happy and greeted to each other. Children were also happy, they run from here and there to show their happiness.
People worship the Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh after the sunset according to the Hindu calender. They prayer to the God and Goddess to get more blessings, health, wealth and bright future. They cook delicious dishes of foods and sweets all the five days of the Diwali festival. People play a variety of games such as dice, card games and various other at this day. They come close to the good activities and throw away bad habits to get the real victory over the evil power.
They believe that doing so would bring a lot of happiness, prosperity, wealth and progress in their life. They send messages, good wishes and gifts to their friends, relatives and neighbors.
Diwali Essay – 6 (450 Words)
Diwali festival is well known as the festival of lights which brings a lot of beliefs and culture to celebrate it. It has many importance and significance for people of Jain, Hindu and Sikh religions. It is the five days celebration which falls every year 21 days after Dusshera. It has great cultural belief of celebrating behind. It is the returning day of the Lord Rama to his kingdom, Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. People of Ayodhya had welcomed their King Rama by enlightening lamps everywhere and burning fire crackers.
People clean up and white wash their houses, offices and working places at Diwali festival. People belief that lighting lamps everywhere and opening all the doors and windows of the home or offices makes the way of Goddess Lakshmi to come to the houses to visit and give blessings, wealth and prosperity. People make rangolis and decorate their houses to welcome their relatives and guests.
People wear new clothes, eat delicious foods, sweets, burn crackers and share gifts to each other. The five days celebrations of Diwali festival includes:
First day is known as Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi which is celebrated by worshiping the Goddess Lakshmi. People sing aarti, devotional songs and mantras to make happy the Goddess.
Second day is known as the Naraka Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali which is celebrated by worshiping Lord Krishna as he had killed the demon king Narkasur. It has religious belief of taking bath with oil in the early morning and worshiping Goddess Kali by applying Kumkum on the forehead.
Third day is known as main Diwali day which is celebrated by worshiping Goddess Lakshmi, distributing sweets and gifts among relatives, friends, neighbors and burning fire crackers in the evening.
Fourth day is known as Govardhan puja by worshiping Lord Krishna. People make Govardhan of cow dung at their doorstep and worship. It is considered that Lord Krishna had lifted the Govardhan Parvat at his little finger to save the life people from Gokul from the unnatural rain by the God of rain, Indra.
Fifth day is known as Yama Dwitiya or Bhaiya Dooj which is celebrated by brothers and sisters. Sisters invite their brothers to celebrate the festival of Bhai Dooj at their home.
The burning of fire crackers takes place in the night after Puja of Goddess Lakshmi. AT this day people exclude their bad habits and include good habits to get blessings for the whole year. At some places in India the day of Diwali is the start of new year. Businessmen starts their new accounts books at this day.
Diwali is the most favorite festival for all as it brings a lot of blessings and happiness. It indicates the victory of God over the evil power as well as start of new season. Because of the many reasons people celebrate it heartily with lots of preparations.
Diwali Essay 7 (1000 words)
Diwali is the most significant Hindu festival celebrated all over the India in the autumn season every year. The spiritual significance of this festival indicates the victory of light over darkness. It is a five days long festival celebrated by the people with huge preparations and rituals. It falls every year in the month of October or November. Many days ago of the festival, people start cleaning, renovating and decorating their homes and offices. They purchase new dresses, decorative things like diyas, lamps, candles, puja materials, statue of God and Goddess and eating things especially for Diwali.
People do worship of God Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi for getting wealth and prosperity in their life. They perform puja on main Diwali with lots of rituals. After puja, they get involved in the fireworks activities and then distribute gifts to each other among neighbors, family members, friends, offices, etc. People celebrate Dhanteras on first day, Naraka Chaturdasi on second day, Diwali on third day, Diwali Padva on fourth day, and Bhai Dooj on fifth day of the festival. It becomes official holiday in many countries on the day of festival.
Celebration of Diwali with Family without Crackers
Diwali is my favorite festival of the year and I celebrate it with lots of enthusiasm with my family members and friends. Diwali is called as the festival of lights because we celebrate it by lighting lots of diyas and candles. It is a traditional and cultural festival celebrated by each and every Hindu person all over India and abroad. People decorate their houses with lots of candles and small clay oil lamps indicating the victory of good over evil. Family members spend their most of the day time in preparing house (cleaning, decorating, etc) to welcome the festival with grand evening party. Neighbors, family members, and friends gets collected in the evening party and enjoy the party with lots of delicious Indian dishes, dance, music, etc all through the night. Houses look very attractive in white wash, candle lights and rangolis. High pitch music and fireworks makes the celebration more interesting.
People go to their home by taking off from their job, offices and other works; students also book their train around three months ago to easily go to their home on Diwali festival because everyone wants to celebrate this festival with their family members in the home town. People generally enjoy the festival by feasting, bursting crackers and enjoying the dance with family and friends. However, it is prohibited by the doctors to got outside and enjoy firecrackers especially people suffering from lung or heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, etc. Such people have to knock the doctor’s door because of consuming highly saturated food and sweets in high amount and lack of exercises and pollution caused by crackers in these days.
Significance of Diwali
Diwali festival is celebrated by the people with great revelry and lots of fun and frolic activities. It becomes the happiest holiday for Indian people in the year and celebrated with significant preparations. It is the festival of high significance for Indian people during which people clean their homes, decorate, do shopping, buy new things including gifts, kitchen utensils, appliances, cars, golden jewelry, etc and perform so many rituals. There are many ancient stories, legends, and myths about celebrating this festival. Girls and women of the home do shopping and make rangolis in creative patterns on the floors near to the doors and walkways of home. There are little variations in the celebration of this festival according to the regional practices and rituals.
The spiritual significance of this festival symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and victory of good over evil. It is celebrated to honor the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi and God of wisdom, Ganesha. Its religious significance varies according to the region all through the country. Somewhere, it is celebrated to honor the returning of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana to their home after long exile period of 14 years (according to Hindu epic Ramayana). Some people celebrate it to remember the return of Pandavas to their kingdom after 12 years of Vanvas and one year of agyatavas (according to Hindu epic Mahabharata). It is also believed that it was started celebrating when Goddess Lakshmi was born after churning the ocean by the gods and demons. Diwali celebration also indicates the start of a new Hindu year in the west and some northern parts of India. It is celebrated by the people of Sikh religion to mark the Bandi Chhor Divas by lighting up the Golden Temple. It is celebrated by the people of Jain religion to mark the Nirvana attained by the Mahavira.
Pollution on Diwali
Together with the Diwali celebration, there is indirect increase in the environmental pollution all over the world because of the bursting of various types of firecrackers during this festival. Such firecrackers are very dangerous as they release toxic pollutants like sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and so many etc which gets intermingled into the air and causes variety of ailments like asthma, bronchitis, hypertension, etc. It affects the people of all age group however those people who already suffer any type of ailment. Together with the human beings, it also affects the lives of animals, birds and other living beings due to air and noise pollution.
However, now-a-days, there is a campaign run by the government to celebrate pollution free Diwali all over the country. Schools and various organizations also organizes various demonstrations prior to the celebration to educate and aware students for pollution-free festival. Environment and pollution departments also do many efforts by publishing pollution free news in the various newspapers to aware people and curb noise and air pollution because of firecrackers. Bursting sound-emitting firecrackers has been banned by the Supreme Court especially during 10pm to 6am.
Air and water pollution is also caused by the decay of remnants of fireworks and deluge of garbage like empty bottles, papers used to light off rockets, gift wrappers, dried flowers, etc at the nook and corners of the city. We all should practice celebrating the pollution free Diwali every year in order to save and enjoy the natural beauty of environment forever.
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Diwali for Kids
This article is about the Hindu festival. For the related Jain festival, see Diwali (Jainism).
"Dipavali" and "Deepavali" redirect here. For the related Nepalese festival, see Tihar. For the films, see Deepavali (disambiguation).
|Diwali / Deepavali|
Rangoli decorations, made using coloured powder or sand, are popular during Diwali.
|Observed by||Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists|
|Type||Cultural, seasonal, religious|
|Celebrations||Diya and lighting, home decoration, shopping, fireworks, puja (prayers), gifts, performing religious rituals, feast and sweets|
|Begins||Dhanteras, two days before Diwali|
|Ends||Bhai Dooj, two days after Diwali|
|Date||Varies per Hindu calendar|
|2017 date||19 October (Thursday)|
18 October (Wednesday) in South India & Singapore
|Related to||Kali Puja, Galungan, Diwali (Jainism), Bandi Chhor Divas, Tihar, Swanti|
Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere). It is an official holiday in Fiji, Guyana, India,Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. On the island of Jamaica, it is celebrated proudly by the Indo-Jamaican community, however in 2010 it was inaugurated as an official yearly event at the historic Devon House residence for the first time, in an effort to celebrate the country's Indian heritage on a national level. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over four to six day period. The word Diwali is used by some communities to mean all the festivities while others think of it as one festival night on the no moon day of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar (the month of Aippasi in Tamil Calendar). In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls in mid-October and mid-November.
Before Diwali, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. During Diwali, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfits, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) to Lakshmi – the goddess of prosperity, light fireworks, engage in family feasts, sharing mithai (sweets), and exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.
The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Vasubaras, the day for the cattle, followed by Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi (in northern and western part of India). Dhanteras is followed by Naraka Chaturdasi and Laxmi Puja. Laxmi Puja on the no moon day is considered the main day of Diwali in some communities. Next day after the no moon day, is Goverdhan pooja in Northern part of the country. On the same day, in some places, Diwali Padva is celebrated which is dedicated to the relationship of wife and husband. The festivities end with Bhai Dooj dedicated to the bond between sister and brother. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra.
On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival also called Diwali to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira,Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison, and Newar Buddhists, unlike the majority of Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Lakshmi.
Etymology and nomenclature
Diwali festivities include a celebration of sights, sounds, arts and flavors. The festivities vary between different regions.
Diwali (English:) or Sanskritdīpāvali means "series of lights", and is derived from dīpam "light, lamp" and oli "glow of light". Diwali is also known as dīpotsavam "festival of lights".
The holiday is known as dipawoli in Assamese: দীপাৱলী, dipaboli or dipali in Bengali: দীপাবলি/দীপালি, divāḷi in Gujarati: દિવાળી, divālī in Hindi: दिवाली, dīpavaḷi in Kannada: ದೀಪಾವಳಿ, Konkani: दिवाळी, Malayalam: ദീപാവലി, Marathi: दिवाळी, dipābali in Odia: ଦିପାବଳୀ, dīvālī in Punjabi: ਦੀਵਾਲੀ, diyārī in Sindhi: दियारी, tīpāvaḷi in Tamil: தீபாவளி, and Telugu: దీపావళి, Galungan in Balinese and Swanti in Nepali: स्वन्ति or tihar in Nepali: तिहार and Thudar Parba in Tulu: ತುಡರ್ ಪರ್ಬ.
Diwali dates back to ancient times in India, as a festival after the summer harvest in the Hindu calendar month of Kartika. The festival is mentioned in Sanskrit texts such as the Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana both completed in second half of 1st millennium AD but believed to have been expanded from a core text from an earlier era. The diyas (lamps) are mentioned in Skanda Purana to symbolically represent parts of the sun, the cosmic giver of light and energy to all life, who seasonally transitions in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik.
Hindus in some regions of India associate Diwali with the legend of Yama and Nachiketa on Kartika amavasya (Diwali night). The Nachiketa story about right versus wrong, true wealth versus transient wealth, knowledge versus ignorance is recorded in Katha Upanishad composed in 1st millennium BC.
King Harsha in the 7th century Sanskrit play Nagananda mentions Deepavali as Deepapratipadutsava (Deepa = light, pratipada = first day, utsava = festival), where lamps were lit and newly engaged brides and grooms were given gifts.Rajasekhara referred to Deepavali as Dipamalika in his 9th century Kavyamimamsa, wherein he mentions the tradition of homes being whitewashed and oil lamps decorating homes, streets and markets in the night. The Persian traveller and historian Al Biruni, in his 11th century memoir on India, wrote of Deepavali being celebrated by Hindus on New Moon day of the month of Kartika.
Diwali is one of the happiest holidays in India and Nepal with significant preparations. People clean their homes and decorate them for the festivities. Diwali is one of the biggest shopping seasons in India and Nepal; people buy new clothes for themselves and their families, as well as gifts, appliances, kitchen utensils, even expensive items such as cars and gold jewellery. People also buy gifts for family members and friends which typically include sweets, dry fruits, and seasonal specialties depending on regional harvest and customs. It is also the period when children hear ancient stories, legends about battles between good and evil or light and darkness from their parents and elders. Girls and women go shopping and create rangoli and other creative patterns on floors, near doors and walkways. Youth and adults alike help with lighting and preparing for patakhe (fireworks).
There is significant variation in regional practices and rituals. Depending on the region, prayers are offered before one or more deities, with most common being Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On Diwali night, fireworks light up the neighborhood skies. Later, family members and invited friends celebrate the night over food and sweets.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs and Newar Buddhists to mark different historical events and stories, but they all symbolise the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair.
The mythical stories told for Diwali vary regionally and within the traditions of Hinduism. Yet, they all point to joy and the celebration of Diwali with lights to be a reminder of the importance of knowledge, self inquiry, self-improvement, knowing and seeking the good and the right path. It is a metaphor for resisting evil, for dispelling darkness and for compassion to others. Diwali is the celebration of this inner light over spiritual darkness, of knowledge over ignorance and right over wrong. It is a festive restatement of the Hindu belief that the good ultimately triumphs over evil.
The religious significance of Deepavali varies regionally within India, depending on the school of Hindu philosophy, regional, legends, and beliefs.
Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali in honor of the return of Lord Rama, wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and lord Hanuman to Ayodhya from exile of 14 years after Rama defeated Ravana. To honor and celebrate Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman returning from Sri Lanka and to illuminate their path, villagers light Diyas to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. For some, Diwali also celebrates the return of Pandavas after 12 years of Vanvas and one year of "Agyatavas" in Mahabharata. Furthermore, Deepavali is linked to the celebration of Lakshmi, who is venerated amongst Hindus as the goddess of wealth and prosperity and is the wife of Lord Vishnu. The 5-day festival of Diwali begins on the day Goddess Lakshmi was born from the churning of cosmic ocean of milk by the Devas (gods) and the Asuras (demons); while the night of Diwali is the day Lakshmi chose Vishnu as her husband and they were married. Along with Lakshmi, devotees make offerings to Ganesha, who symbolizes ethical beginnings and fearless remover of obstacles; Saraswati, who embodies music, literature and learning and Kubera, who symbolizes book-keeping, treasury and wealth management. Other Hindus believe that Diwali is the day Vishnu came back to Lakshmi and their abode in the Vaikuntha; so those who worship Lakshmi receive the benefit of her good mood, and therefore are blessed with mental, physical and material wellbeing during the year ahead.
Hindus in India's eastern region, such as Odisha and West Bengal, worship the goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi, and call the festival Kali Puja. In India's Braj and north central regions, the god Krishna is recognized. People mark Mount Govardhan, and celebrate legends about Krishna. In other regions, the feast of Govardhan Puja (or Annakoot) is celebrated, with 56 or 108 different cuisines prepared, offered to Krishna, then shared and celebrated by the local community.
In West and certain Northern parts of India, the festival of Diwali marks the start of a new Hindu year.
Main article: Bandi Chhor Divas
Diwali for Sikhs marks the Bandi Chhor Divas, when Guru Har Gobind freed himself and some Hindu Rajahs, from the Gwalior Fort, from the prison of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir, and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Ever since then, Sikhs celebrate Bandi Choorh Divas, with the annual lighting up of Golden Temple, fireworks and other festivities. In the post-Guru Gobind Singh era, Sarbat Khalsa used to meet on Diwali and Baisakhi to discuss important issues concerning Sikh community.
Main article: Diwali (Jainism)
Diwali has special significance in Jainism. Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankar of this era, attained Nirvana on this day at Pavapuri on 15 October 527 BCE, on Kartik Krishna Amavasya. According to the Kalpasutra by AcharyaBhadrabahu, 3rd century BC, many gods were present there, illuminating the darkness. Therefore, Jains celebrate Diwali as a day of remembering Mahavira. On Diwali morning, Nirvan Ladoo is offered after praying to Mahavira in all Jain temples all across the world. Gautam Gandhar Swami, the chief disciple of Mahavira achieved omniscience(Kevala Gyan) later the same day.
The Newar people in Nepal, who are Buddhist and revere various deities in the Vajrayana tradition, celebrate the festival by worshipping Lakshmi. The Newar Buddhists in Nepalese valleys celebrate the Diwali festival over five days, in the same way and on the same days as the Hindu Diwali-Tihar festival. According to some scholars, this traditional celebration by Newar Buddhists in Nepal, involving Lakshmi and Vishnu during Diwali, reflects the freedom granted in the Mahayana Buddhism tradition to worship any deity for their worldly betterment.
Description and rituals
Diwali is a five-day festival in many regions of India, with Diwali night centering on the new moon – the darkest night – at the end of the Hindu lunar month of Ashvin and the start of the month of Kartika. In the Common Era calendar, Diwali typically falls towards the end of October, or first half of November each year. The darkest night of autumn lit with diyas, candles and lanterns, makes the festival of lights particularly memorable. Diwali is also a festival of sounds and sights with fireworks and rangoli designs; the festival is a major celebration of flavors with feasts and numerous mithai (sweets, desserts), as well as a festival of emotions where Diwali ritually brings family and friends together every year.
Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter. Each day has the following rituals and significance:
Dhanteras (Day 1)
Main article: Dhanteras
Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi (celebrated in Northern and Western part of India) starts off the five day festival. Starting days before and through Dhanteras, houses and business premises are cleaned, renovated and decorated. Women and children decorate entrances with Rangoli – creative colourful floor designs both inside and in the walkways of their homes or offices. Boys and men get busy with external lighting arrangements and completing all renovation work in progress. For some, the day celebrates the churning of cosmic ocean of milk between the forces of good and forces of evil; this day marks the birthday of Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and the birthday of Dhanvantari – the God of Health and Healing. On the night of Dhanteras, diyas (lamps) are ritually kept burning all through the nights in honor of Lakshmi and Dhanvantari.
Dhanteras is also a major shopping day, particularly for gold or silver articles. Merchants, traders and retailers stock up, put articles on sale, and prepare for this day. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening. Some people decorate their shops, work place or items symbolizing their source of sustenance and prosperity.
Naraka Chaturdasi (Day 2)
Main article: Naraka Chaturdashi
Narak Chaturdasi is the second day of festivities, and is also called Choti Diwali. The Hindu literature narrates that the asura (demon) Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali. The day is celebrated by early morning religious rituals and festivities followed on. This day is commonly celebrated as Diwali in Tamil Nadu, Goa and Karnataka. Typically, house decoration and colourful floor patterns called rangoli are made on or before Narak Chaturdasi. Special bathing rituals such as a fragrant oil bath are held in some regions, followed by minor pujas. Women decorate their hands with henna designs. Families are also busy preparing homemade sweets for main Diwali.
Lakshmi Puja (Day 3)
Main article: Lakshmi Puja
The third day is the main festive day. People wear new clothes or their best outfits as the evening approaches. Then diyas are lit, pujas are offered to Lakshmi, and to one or more additional deities depending on the region of India; typically Ganesha, Saraswati, and Kubera. Lakshmi symbolises wealth and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.
Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi, and place diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her in. On this day, the mothers who work hard all year, are recognized by the family and she is seen to embody a part of Lakshmi, the good fortune and prosperity of the household. Small earthenware lamps filled with oil are lighted and placed in rows by some Hindus along the parapets of temples and houses. Some set diyas adrift on rivers and streams. Important relationships and friendships are also recognized during the day, by visiting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and sweets.
After the puja, people go outside and celebrate by lighting up patakhe (fireworks). The children enjoy sparklers and variety of small fireworks, while adults enjoy playing with ground chakra, Vishnu chakra, flowerpots (anaar), sutli bomb, chocolate bomb, rockets and bigger fireworks. The fireworks signify celebration of Diwali as well a way to chase away evil spirits. After fireworks, people head back to a family feast, conversations and mithai (sweets, desserts).
Padwa, Balipratipada (Day 4)
Main article: Balipratipada
The day after Diwali, is celebrated as Padwa. This day ritually celebrates the love and mutual devotion between the wife and husband. The husbands give thoughtful gifts, or elaborate ones to respective spouses. In many regions, newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals. Sometimes brothers go and pick up their sisters from their in-laws home for this important day. The day is also a special day for the married couple, in a manner similar to anniversaries elsewhere in the world. The day after Diwali devotees perform Goverdhan puja in honor of Lord Krishna.
Diwali also marks the beginning of new year, in some parts of India, where the Hindu Vikram Samvat calendar is popular. Merchants and shopkeepers close out their old year, and start a new fiscal year with blessings from Lakshmi and other deities.
Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooji (Day 5)
Main article: Bhau-beej
The last day of the festival is called Bhai dooj (Brother's second) or Bhai tika in Nepal, where it is the major day of the festival. It celebrates the sister-brother loving relationship, in a spirit similar to Raksha Bandhan but with different rituals. The day ritually emphasizes the love and lifelong bond between siblings. It is a day when women and girls get together, perform a puja with prayers for the well being of their brothers, then return to a ritual of food-sharing, gift-giving and conversations. In historic times, this was a day in autumn when brothers would travel to meet their sisters, or bring over their sister's family to their village homes to celebrate their sister-brother bond with the bounty of seasonal harvests.
Festival of lights
The word Diwali means the row(avali) of clay lamps(deepas) which symbolizes the lighting that protect us from spiritual darkness, achieving knowledge from ignorance, love from hatred. They decorate their entire home with oil lamps, earthen lamps, candles, lights throughout the day into the night to prevent darkness and evil.
The first thing that strikes our mind is crackers, lightings, colours in the dark new moon night sky.
Festival of peace
On this festive occasion, Hindu, Jain and Sikh communities also mark charitable causes, kindness, and for peace. For example, at the international border, every year on Diwali, Indian forces approach Pakistani forces and offer traditional Indian sweets on the occasion of Diwali. The Pakistani soldiers anticipating the gesture, return the goodwill with an assortment of Pakistani sweets.