The 5 days of Diwali

In this blog, Student Ambassador Pratik explains what each of the 5 days of Diwali entails for those who participate and the significance behind them.

Diwali, or the festival of lights is one of the major festivals celebrated by majority of people in India. In this blog, you will come across the history of Diwali and how it is celebrated across India. There are many religions in India which celebrate Diwali and each of them have different ancient beliefs connecting to Diwali.

History

Diwali is widely associated with the birth of goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth and prosperity). In an alternate belief, it is a celebration of the return of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman after defeating Ravan at his place “Lanka”. Ravan had kidnapped Lord Rama’s wife Sita and Lord Rama rescued her with the help of an army.  His return is celebrated because he defeated the evil and returned to his home after 14 years of exile. This belief is linked to the Hindu epic “Ramayana”.  Diwali is known as the festival of lights because it symbolizes the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

Tradition

Diwali is a 5-day festival. All days have their own significance. This year, the 5-day period starts from 2nd of November till the 6th of November.

  • It starts with Dhanteras (Day 1). On this day people clean their homes and workplace and start decorating them with lights and rangoli (a design made on the floors with colors, usually outside the front door of houses). Also, a lot of gold is bought on this day as it is an auspicious occasion. Gold is widely associated with many festivals in India but, the jewelers have most profit on this day as there is a huge rush to buy gold.
Rangoli (Floor art decorated with diya during Diwali)

  • Day 2 is known as Chhoti Diwali. In some parts of India, it is also known as Naraka Chaturdashi. It is a day where people pray to gods to liberate any souls suffering in hell (Naraka) and pray for their peace. A variety of sweets are exchanged on this day.
Traditional Sweets during Diwali

  • Day 3 is the main event (Diwali). As most people live in a nuclear family nowadays, they visit their grandparents and relatives with gifts to exchange. People wear new clothes, meet their families, worship goddess Lakshmi, and invite her to their houses with the hope that she brings prosperity and wealth with her. Usually, crackers are lit on a large scale but, due to environmental concerns it has reduced a lot. Bursting crackers is a way to mark the celebration of something.
Types of crackers during diwali

  • Day 4 is more of agricultural significance where; various communities prepare food with different grains grown regionally and celebrate the produce during that time. In the western part of India (Gujarat), this day is marked as the first day of new year according to their calendar and people offer prayers to Lord Krishna by visiting temples.

Temple in India during Diwali

  • Day 5, known as Bhai duj is a celebration of the brother and sister bond where they meet each other, and sisters pray for their brother’s well-being. This is followed by a ritual where the sister feeds her brother sweets and in return receives gifts from them.

On an all, it is a festival where people meet, have delicious food together and pray for everyone’s peace and prosperity. Happy Diwali to all of you.

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