Happy Diwali – The Festival of Lights.
Diwali, the festival of lights and brightness is a prominent festival that is celebrated across India with warmth, fervor, joy, and zeal to commemorate the return of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Laxman after 14 years of exile. Diwali falls on Amavasya (No moon night) in Ashvin month of the Hindu calendar.
Diwali symbolizes the celebration of victory over evil and ego and is celebrated 18 days after Dussehra when Lord Rama fought with and defeated the demon army of Ravana to rescue his wife, Devi Sita who was kidnapped by Ravana. Ravana was eventually killed in the war.
The word Diwali is drawn out of the Sanskrit word Deepavali which means rows of lighted lamps. People illuminate their houses, offices, markets, and other public places with bright lights that enlighten the festive atmosphere further.
Diwali is celebrated across the Indian sub-continent for five days starting from Dhan Teras when the households worship lord Dhanvantri for prosperity and peace. People buy new utensils and clothes. It is believed that replacing the old vessels that store water in houses with the new one’s ushers in good health, peace, and prosperity.
On the second day people celebrate Narak Chaturdashi which is also known as Roop Chaudas. As per mythology, it is said that on this day the demon Narakasura was killed. On this day, a head wash and application of kajal in the eyes is believed to keep away the kali Nazar (evil eye).
It is believed that goddess Laxmi resides and blesses with prosperity and wealth where there is cleanliness, love, and mutual respect. To please the goddess people clean, paint and decorate their houses with Rangoli and Lights, buy new clothes and worship the goddess with all the faith and respect on Diwali which is celebrated on the third day which is Amavasya, the darkest night of the month. People worship Goddess Laxmi and offer sweets, fruits, and other delicacies.
In some parts of India, the day after Lakshmi Puja is marked with the Govardhan Puja and Balipratipada (Padwa), which is dedicated to the relationship between wife and husband. Some Hindu communities mark the last day as Bhai Dooj or the regional equivalent, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother, while other Hindu and Sikh craftsmen communities mark this day as Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their workspaces and offering prayers.