Thursday

Diwali Lights are up!


People say India is the land of festivals. Despite that fact that all the Indian festivals have its own importance; Diwali (Deepavali) stands out as unique and most awaited. Diwali is celebrated for five continuous days at the end of the Hindu month of Ashwayuja and it usually occurs in October/ November. It is one of the most popular festivals in India. It comes exactly twenty days after Dussehra. In South India Diwali is a two day festival of Naraka Chaturdashi and Balipadyami. And in North India, Diwali celebrations last five days i.e. Dhanteras, Chhoti Diwali, Laxmi Puja, Gowardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj.

1st day of Diwali: Dhanteras – Folklore has it, Dhanwantari came out of the ocean with Ayurvedic medicine (promotes healthy long life) for mankind. This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. On this day at sunset, Hindus bathe in the evening again and offer lit lamps (diyas) with prasad (sweets) to Yama Raj and pray for protection from untimely death. This offering is made near a Tulsi plant or a sacred tree that one might have close to home.

This is a big festival in Bombay. Actually, for that matter in all large Cosmo cities of India. The folklore of Ayurveda makes everybody dash to buy Gold as an equivalent of Ayurveda- i.e. Gold symbolizes purity & wealth as security for future.

2nd day of Diwali - is called Narak Chaturdasi or small Diwali. It is the eve of Diwali. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear. On this day, people bathe with oil to relieve themselves of tiredness, so that they feel rested in order to celebrate Diwali with enthusiasm and devotion the next day. On this night, diyas are not lit:) While ofcourse I have yet to see a home where chotti Diwali is not festive and full of flowers, diyas, crackers:) This day is also referred to as Bali Pratiprada. The word "Pratiprada" literally means "below the opponent's foot". According to the myth Bali was an immensely powerful king. When God felt that King Bali was becoming too powerful, Vishnu, disguised as a sage of diminutive proportions, appeared in his court. Bali offered to fulfill any of the sage's wishes. The sage asked for all the land he could cover in 3 paces. King Bali agreed immediately. Vishnu then assumed a gigantic form and claimed the world (Mrityuloka), and the heavens (Swargloka) in two paces. To keep his foot down the 3rd time, he asked for King Bali's head. Bali agreed. Thus, the reign of Bali was overthrown. Religion has its roots in Politics you’d agree? :)


The third day of Diwali: The Actual day of Diwali. Is celebrated when the moon completely wanes and total darkness sets in the night sky. Families and their priests worship the divine Goddess Lakshmi to achieve the blessings of wealth and prosperity, the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It also is the day when Lord Ram wins back his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravan, and comes back to his kingdom with his wife and brother Laxman after 14long years in Vanvaas. Wow, how did they survive for 14years in the jungle beats me! This is the reason, why this festival is celebrated a day earlier in South India since Lord Ram traveled from the south to his kingdom in the north

Deepavali is a beautiful festival - you can feel the joy and happiness and smiles all around you. It is a night of sparklers, lights, rangoli. Much like rich
India :) Homes wear this lovely warm look of togetherness and purity and colour and gaiety. People celebrate this with noisy crackers, social gatherings and exchange greetings and boxes of sweets and gifts

The day of Deepavali has special significance for the business community, we consider this day to be the day to thank God for all that she has given us in this life to keep us comfortable. Some people also gamble with money on this night because it is a believed that the wife of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati played dice with Him on this day and therefore those, who gamble on this auspicious day, are blessed with prosperity :)

The 4th day of Diwali - On this day, Govardhan Pooja is performed. It is also called Annakut, celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra. Men present gifts to their wives on this day. It is also called Naya Saal for the business community of India where the financial books are opened to do business and this is the first day of the new financial year for them. A day of optimism and forward gazing indeed.

Gowardhan Puja folklore has it , that it was originally celebrated by the people of Gokul - a small town in Uttar Pradesh, used to celebrate a festival at the end of monsoon to worship Lord Indra and express their gratitude for the rains. However, one particular year, young Krishna stopped the people of Gokul from worshiping Lord Indra and persuaded them to worship the fields and the cattle instead as they help in creating wealth. Following the incident there was a heavy downpour in Gokul. People got frightened as they felt that Lord Indra was angry with them and has sent a deluge to submerge the town. To save the scared people of Gokul, mighty Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan (a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura) on his little finger and sheltered men and beasts from the heavy rain. Lord Indra accepted the supremacy of Krishna and from then on Lord Krishna also came to be known as Govardhandhari. South India celebrates the fourth day of Diwali as Balipratipada. It is believed that on this day King Bali come to visit the people on earth from Patalaloka (netherworld) as per boon given by Lord Vishnu.

The fifth day of Diwali is Bhai Dooj. This is the day dedicated to sisters. We all know about Raksha Bandhan (brothers day). Well this is sisters’ day. This is also known as Bhai fota among Bengalis. And Bhai Dooj amongst North Indians - a day when the sister prays for her brother's safety, success and well being. And in turn is rewarded with gifts and lots of good blessings.

Who wouldn’t love this country for the richness of its traditions and the good values this sanskriti has woven into the inherent fabric of daily life? :)

18 comments:

Anon said...

Hey Happy Deepawali Mee, lots of joy and prosperity to you and everybody at home. Hope you are having a blast. When do you come back to India? - Jas:)

melinda said...

The universe of light is yours, always keep your arms stretched to it, and embrace it with love. Such a beautiful festival Diwali is:)

ashish said...

What a beautiful Universe we live in, embodies Light, knowledge, sin, ignorance. May HE enlighten our intellect always. Lots of good wishes always!

Anon said...

Happy Diwali! Lets spread happiness & joy this Diwali and celebrate Diwali without polluting our environment. Wish you a happy, prosperous and pollution free Diwali this year. Shashwant -{}:>

Jim said...

Lots of wishes, you attain success with every light that is lit on the day of Diwali:)

gita said...

Diwali is synonymous with celebrations and and happiness and togetherness.This is the festival when people forget their differences, the issues plaguing them and light the diyas for brightening their future together.

sheila said...

Diwali calls for fun and celebration! It's time to load your near and dear ones with gifts, fireworks, mithai.... and of course, pranks. Diwali is the time for never-ending fun and festivity. Spread the joys of the festival and may your Diwali be filled with lots of laughter and smiles.

john said...

Hey heard that smoking is now banned in India in public places? And that it is now the responsibility of the pub/restaurant/shop/mall owners to ensure they don't allow people to smoke in closed environs? I wonder if the same law can be extended to other civic problems in the country as well? No spitting/no peeing/no noise pollution/no crackers. It would be great to see a Diwali which is colourful, festive, Green and not noisy and smelly of toxic gases released by those horrible crackers.

Seema said...

hey wishing you a very very happy diwali....i simply love your blogs.

ALLEX said...

good to see the info in the blog........ may peace and prosperity be all yours.... ahve a great time.....

Shvetal said...

For Gujarati's Diwali starts with Bheema Agyarash, this is the 4th day before diwali, the next day is Wagh Barash. The day after Diwali is new year. I do not know the importance of the 11th and 12th day, but new year is big.

Wishing all your readers a very happy diwali and a prosperous new year!

Neelu said...

Couldn't agree more. The oil lamps, the paper lanterns, the fairy lights - it is a magical time. One would like to put aside all diet phobias, religious angst and stock market phobias and simply have a happy time with family! Christmas makes me feel the same.

Damayanti said...

Happy Diwali Mee. Wish you all the happiness. I am missing home so much. Especially during festive times like this! God knows when I'll be able to get back.

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like the blog.
It is beautiful.
Sorry not write more, but my English is bad writing.
A hug from Portugal

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vinni said...

Mee!! Happie Diwali!!! Itz so kool!!! I knew only half off it and it's good to know more and more..thanks!! u made me feel that I am home!! Miss india!! So true..a great country with great traditions!!! Miss 'em.

Aijaz said...

Timings of this blog is superb. I was about to requesting you to write a bit on Diwali, purely for my info. I wonder how much celeberations have been transformed in modern times!

HOBO said...

Claps !!!