All you need to know about Hindu celebration, Diwali


• The celebration symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Image: Courtesy Pintrest

This Sunday will be Diwali, the Hindu celebration of the lights with its variations also celebrated in other Indian religions.

It normally takes place in mid-September and in mid-November and it lasts for about 6 days.

The celebration symbolizes the spiritual victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Diwali is connected to various religious events, deities, and personalities. What is more interesting is that on this day gambling is more encouraged as it is believed to be a way of ensuring good luck in the next year.

Diwali is generally a time for visiting, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes, feasting, feeding the poor, and setting off fireworks.

The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali and ends two days thereafter. Each day has the following rituals and significance. Here are the breakdowns.

•The first day, known as Dhanteras, Yama Deepam, is dedicated to cleaning homes and purchasing small items of gold. Lakshmi is the focus of worship on that day.

This is also the Decoration Day, the women make colorful flowers while the men decorate the roofs and the walls.

Dhanteras is a symbol of annual renewal, cleansing, and an auspicious beginning for the year to come.

•The second day, called Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwalicommemorates Krishna’s destruction of Narakasura; prayers are also offered for the souls of ancestors. Most of the Hindus pray for the defiled souls so that they can get peace in their afterlife.

Traditionally, Marathi Hindus and South Indian Hindus receive an oil massage from the elders in the family on the day and then take a ritual bath, all before sunrise. Many visit their favorite Hindu temple.

•On the third day, Lakshmi Puja, families seek blessings from Lakshmi to ensure their prosperity; light diyas, candles, and fireworks; and visit temples. It is the main day of the Diwali festival.

On this day shops do not open early so as to allow employees to have a good time with their families. As the event approaches they wear new particular clothes according to their age and gender.

Also, on this day bonds are renewed, and the Diwali night's lights and firecrackers, in this interpretation, represent a celebratory and symbolic farewell to the departed ancestral souls.

•The fourth day, known as Goverdhan Puja, Balipratipada, or Annakut, commemorating Krishna’s defeat of Indra, the king of the gods, is also the first day of Karttika and the start of the new year in the Vikrama (Hindu) calendar. Merchants perform religious ceremonies and open new account books. 

It is also a day to ritually celebrate the bonds between husbands and wives. The two exchange gifts and parents welcome any newly married couples.

•The fifth day, called Bhai Dooj, Bhai Tika, or Bhai Bij, celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. On that day sisters pray for the success and well-being of their brothers. 

Diwali is more comparable to Christmas in terms of purchasing, gifting, unions, and other economic activities.

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights has become more popular in other countries. In Kenya, it is to be celebrated on Sunday, November 13th.

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