Diwali – The Festival of Light
The Diwali Festival is the most awaited celebration of the Indians around the world. They celebrate it with so much happiness and enthusiasm. Since they consider it as the festival of the goddess of wealth, they celebrate it with great pomp and style. Magnificent lights, crackers, lots of sweet foods and abundant shopping are the most liked features of the Diwali Season.
Unlike the other Indian festivities, Diwali is a five-day long celebration. Each day has its own reason to be fêted. Here is the day-to-day account of how the Indians celebrate Diwali Festival.
First Day of Diwali: Dhanteras
On the first day of the Diwali celebration, known as Dhanteras, people go out for shopping. They purchase new utensils and jewelries made of silver, steel and other metals. They even buy kitchen utensils, clothes and gadgets. Aside from shopping, the people light a Yama-Diya at night to worship and offer prayers to the God of Death Yamaraj.
Since Diwali begins in the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month of Kartik, the people start the celebration with Dhanvantari Trayodashi. This is also known as Dhanteras. According to the legend, Lord Dhanwantari came out of the ocean on this particular day for the welfare of the mankind.
Second Day of Diwali: Choti Diwali
The second day of the Diwali festival is the celebration of the Narak Chaturdashi in honor of the heroic act of Lord Krishna when he saved the people of Devatas from the demon king Narakasur and freed them from their fear.
On this day, the people take a bath and massage their body with oil because it is believed that those who do not take a bath on this day will go to Narak or hell.
Third Day of Diwali: Badi Diwali or Lakshmi Puja
Among the five days, Badi Diwali, also called as Lakshmi Pooja, is the main day celebration of the festival. People clean their homes and decorate it with various colorful lights and fire crackers to express their joy. They also worship the divine Goddess Lakshmi. They perform Lakshmi Puja and offer prayers to her to bless them with wealth and prosperity.
How to Perform Diwali Puja
Diwali Festival is a holiday that honors the Goddess of Wealth and Propertity – Laxmi. During Diwali, people believe that Goddess Laxmi visit them to bring prosperity and peace. As their evening tradition during Diwali, they performed the “Lakshmi-Puja”. After sunset, all homes performed the traditional Puja as part of their tradition.
On the facade of the deities, five pieces of ghee diyas or lamps are lightened. They offered the naivedya dishes and other traditional items to their Goddess. As they praise their Goddess Lakshmi they sung the devotional songs. According to their tradition, To clear the world’s darkness part and lead their homes in light, they light diyas or lamps after Deepawali Puja.
In villages, farmers decorate and adorn their cattle to show that they are the main source of their earnings. Villagers in the south also decorate their cows for the same reason. They also offered respect because of the thought that they are the Goddess Lakshmi’s incarnation.
Diwali Puja – Step By Step:
- First of all, Puja room should be cleaned, and then wash each Deity (Lakshmi & Ganesh) with water, then with rose water or the panchamitra, and with water again.
- Now, on the front of the Deities, put Deepak or lamp together with the lighted tiny diyas to move away the evil spirits.
- Make panchamitra with this five ingredients: sugar, milk, honey curd and ghee or clarified butter.
- As a prasad, place a few snacks, mithais and fruits.
- Make an offerings of flowers: Haldi (turmeric), Abir (red colour), and Sindoor (vermillion). Agarbatti or incense sticks should be lighten and fill the lamps with ghee.
- Now, offerings of Fruit: Salty snacks (Mathis, Ghathia, Namakpare), Sweet dishes (mithai) and offer token money or Dakshina, which can be given to the poor. Lastly, offer betel leaves or paan. Now, to seek their blessings, they pray to the deities.
- Ganesh Pooja: This is another important part of Diwali puja. Lord Ganesha is known to be the God of success and prosperity. In Hindu mythology, devotees must worship Ganesha first before any other God. During this process, they sing Ganesh Aarti.
- Laxmi Pooja: They offer lotus and placed it at her feet together with other flowers. During Puja, they place the silver coins on the front of their Goddess. Now, for the completion of their tradition, they sing Lakshmi Aarti while holding flowers. Lastly, Diwali Crackers lit by the devotees to show that the Deepawali Puja is over.
Fourth Day of Diwali: Govardhan Puja or Padwa
Day four of the festive season is allotted for the devotion to Govardhan Parvat. Based on the legend, Lord Krishna once performed the Govardhan Pooja to protect the people from the heavy rains. He worshipped and offered prayers to Govardhan. This act has saved the people from further disaster and problem. Since then, worshipping Govardhan Parvat became a tradition for the Hindus on this day.
Fifth Day of Diwali: Bhai Duj (Bhaiya Dooj) or Bhratri Dooj
On the fifth day of the diwali, the brothers visit their sisters and revive their relationship. The relationship of a brother and a sister is honored. The sisters sweeten their mouth with variety of sweet foods they prepared.
According to the legend, Lord Yamaraj, the god of death, paid a visit to his sister Yamuna on this day. He blessed her with a boon that if a brother visits his sister on this day, he will be liberated from all his sins. From that moment on, it became a tradition for the brothers to visit their sisters on this special day.