The Five Days of Diwali

Wednesday, November 11, 2020



Diwali illuminates the road to prosperity and happiness, and is rightly called the Festival of Lights. It is the day which commemorates the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

The festival is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. For Hindus, it is the day when Sita and Rama returned to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile. They also celebrate it as the day when Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha. For Sikhs, it is the day when the sixth guru Hargobind Singh was released from prison. For Jains, it is the day when Lord Mahavira reached the state of Moksha.

The festival of Diwali is celebrated with much enthusiasm. Crackers are set off, lamps are lit, and delicious sweets are gobbled up. Everyone dresses up in exquisitely colorful clothes and celebrate the light.

Diwali is not just celebrated on a single day, but is a five-day festival.
The first day is known as Dhanteras, and marks the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight of Kartik and the beginning of Diwali. On this day, many Hindus clean their homes and decorate them with small diyas, which illuminates the surroundings.

The second day of festivities is the Naraka Chaturdashi, and it is also known as Chhoti Diwali. It coincides with the fourteenth day of the second fortnight of the lunar month. The rituals of the day are believed to free souls from their suffering in Naraka (hell). It is a day which is dedicated to specifically buying sweets like laddus, barfis, halwa, maladu, susiyam, pottukadalai, etc. As of course, there are the enjoyable visits to our friends and exchanging gifts. The day is usually celebrated as Diwali in Tamil Nadu, Goa and Karnataka.

Lakshmi Puja is the third day and the height of the festival. It coincides with the last day of the dark fortnight of the lunar month. Hindu, Jain and Sikh temples and homes are illuminated with lights, thus giving testimony to the ‘Festival of Lights’. The day is one of great joy and celebration, with people cleaning out their homes in honor of the goddess Lakshmi, and children bursting fireworks and enjoying with sparklers.

Annakut is the fourth day and the first day of the bright fortnight of the luni-solar calendar. It celebrates the bond between the wife and husband, and many of the celebrations and customs are testimony to this.

Bhai Duj is the last day of Diwali. The sibling bond between brother and sister is celebrated on this day, with brothers travelling to meet their sisters. It is similar to Raksha Bandhan.

Hence, the festival of Diwali is filled with rich customs and traditions. The celebrations span over five days, and highlights on the triumph of good over evil. Diwali is a time of great joy and happiness and reflects on the cultural and religious diversity of our beautiful country.



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