Its Diwali, Light A Diya

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Asatoma Sad-Gamaya

Tamaso Maa Jyotir-Gamaya

Mrytyor-Maa Amritam Gamaya

Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantihi

-B?hadara?yaka Upani?ad

(From ignorance, lead me to truth; From darkness, lead me to light; from death, lead me to immortality. Om peace, peace, peace)

Diwali or Deepavali is India’s biggest and most significant festival, lasting for 5 days from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of Karttika (October-November). Diwali is coined from the word, “Deepa” which means ‘clay lamps” and “Avali” which means “row” in Sanskrit (Samskritham)

Diwali celebrations go on 5 days, with each day having its significance:

•Dhanteras, (Day 1)
Dhanteras (Dhanatrayodashi) meaning the worship of wealth marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations with Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. On this day, people purchase something precious usually gold and kitchen utensils.

•Naraka Chaturdashi (Day 2)
On the 2nd Day i.e. Naraka Chaturdashi also known as Choti Diwali, people bathe themselves in aromatic oil to remove sins and impurities physically as well as mentally. After the bath, they wear new clothes and perform Pooja. Houses are cleaned and adorned with many strings of lamps, decorative lights, lanterns etc and with vibrant flowers. In some houses, the entrance is designed with vibrant and eye-catching Rangolis. Agarbhathis are lit to provide a fresh and welcoming smell inside the houses.

•Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja (Day 3)
Lakshmi Puja is performed on this day by lighting diyas or electric lights, as it is believed that Lakshmi Devi visits homes during this day to shower her blessings. In some places, Kali Devi, the goddess of war is worshipped. On this day, the prayer is followed by mouth-watering feasts and cracking of firecrackers.

•Govardhan Puja (Day 4)
It is this day, Lord Krishna defeated Lord Indra by lifting the huge Govardhan Mountain. Therefore, the Govardhan Puja is done by making a small mound of cow dung symbolising Govardhan and worship it.

•Bhai Duj, Vishwakarma Puja (Day 5)
The last day of the festival, married sisters invite their brothers for a lavish meal and perform a ‘tilak’ ceremony. Sisters pray for their brother’s long and happy life while the brothers give gifts to their sisters.

Well, why do we celebrate Diwali by lighting a series of diyas and lanterns? In Hinduism, light symbolises purity, power and good luck. When we light a diya or a lantern, we are extinguishing ignorance, unhappiness and grief i.e. darkness from our environment. Chains of miniature terra cotta lamps and lanterns are lit to welcome Goddess Lakshmi who brings wealth, fortune, love, joy and prosperity. By lighting a diya, we also celebrate victory over evil as it commemorates the homecoming of Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Lord Lakshmana and Hanuman Ji to Ayodhya after winning the battle against Ravana.

A Rangoli Design
The colourful drawings drawn in front of the houses are called Rangoli, which helps in repelling negativity. In Samskritham, the word “Rang” means colour. The term Rangoli is derived from the Samskritham word “Rangavalli”. It is scientifically proven that Rangoli, which are usually drawn at the entrance of homes, calms the visitors' mind by making them happy. Rangolis, which are drawn during Diwali, are generally drawn with natural materials like powdered quartz, dry or wet powdered rice or dry flour, to which sindoor (vermilion), Haldi (turmeric) and other natural colours are added. In modern days, chemical colours are also used. Rangoli designs are drawn using various kinds of geometrical shapes and are usually inspired by nature. However, they are also seen as an abstract art form.

The age-old tradition of shopping and exchanging gifts, like jewellery, clothes, firecrackers, sweets (mithai) etc. are a big part of the festival. And the reason why it is done is to bring joy and spread love to others. Whenever we receive gifts or sweets, we feel happy right. That is exactly why exchanging of gifts happen in the Diwali season; it brings joy as well as shows our love to each other in a small gesture.

Diwali brings happiness and togetherness between the people. It eradicates evilness and brings positivity. Let us celebrate the victory of good thoughts over bad, kill the Ravana (evil thoughts) within us, and make this world a wonderful place for everyone to live with peace and happiness.



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