Diwali is the biggest and very important five-day festival for all the Indian communities. The third day is considered as the main festival day i.e. ‘festival of lights’ because people celebrate this day by decorating their houses and public spaces with candles and colorful lights. Fireworks display, family gathering, and sharing gifts are also a part of Diwali celebration.
Diwali is celebrated among the Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains throughout the world every autumn on the theme of the triumph of light over darkness and goodness over evil. The festival signifies the renewal of life by leaving the sorrows and sufferings. Electric lights, neon lights, candles or small oil lamps are the symbol of Diwali representing both the spiritual and physical aspects of light.
The day of celebration
There is no fixed day for the celebration because it depends on the position of the moon. However, ‘no moon day’ or Amavasya is considered as the perfect day for celebrating Diwali. Amavasya comes after every fortnight and according to the Hindu calendar, it marks the day of lights and diyas in the month of Kartik. It falls between the month of November and December as per the English calendar. The festival teaches to welcome the light of knowledge by defeating the darkness of ignorance. Though this is an age-old festival, it still shines brightly by projecting the glorious past of India.
Origin of Diwali as a holiday
Diwali is an important holiday for the Indians. In the very beginning, it was celebrated as an occasion to remember the last harvest of the year before the beginning of the winter. They thank the goddess of prosperity and wealth, Lakshmi, for what they gained and close out the financial year with a view to starting a new one. Many Indians still celebrate Diwali as the first day of their financial new year.
Thoughts behind this festival
The explanation behind Diwali celebration differs in Hindus depending on where they live:
- North Indians celebrate the return of Rama to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps known as diyas.
- South Indians celebrate this day to glorify the victory of Lord Krishna after defeating demon Narakasura.
- West Indians celebrate Diwali because on this day Lord Vishnu sent the demon King Bali to guide the netherworld.
There is a common factor in all these explanations, isn’t it? Yes, it marks the rule of goodness over evil things!
Five Days of Diwali
1st day: Housewives consider this day perfect for cleaning the house and shop gold or kitchen appliances.
2nd day: People decorate their homes with diyas and create patterned artworks on the floor to enhance the beauty of the house.
3rd day: It is the main day of Diwali festival. Families gather together to perform Lakshmi puja for showing gratitude to the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Fireworks and grand feasts are the most popular festivities of this day.
4th day: This is the first day of the new year. Friends and families meet each other with sweets and gifts and wish for the best.
5th day: The last day of this festival. On this day, brothers visit their married sisters to convey love and offer a bountiful meal.
Diwali is pompously celebrated in India and Nepal, and also in the countries where people of all religions reside together. They clean their houses and decorate them with colorful designs and patterns to honor this auspicious day and make arrangement for attractive festivities as well. The rangoli artworks created with colored rice or flower petals look wonderful when the candles are lit up. Some people open their doors and windows considering it as a way to invite goddess Lakshmi to visit their house and bless them with all the good things.