Diwali festival is one of the most significant festivals in Indian culture. Diwali falls in either October or November each year, depending on the cycle of the moon. It’s observed on the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar. This year (2018) Diwali is falling on 7th of November.
The festival is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains for a variety of reasons, although the main theme which runs throughout is the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. On a personal level, Diwali is a time for introspection, to contemplate and dispel the darkness of ignorance. Let light shine within yourself, and also shine this light outwards.
History of Diwali Festival
The most well-known story behind Diwali is in the Ramayana, the great Hindu epic. According to Ramayana, Rama, the prince of Ayodhya was ordered by his father, King Dasharatha, to go away from his country and come back after living in the forest for fourteen years. Deepavali was also referred to as Dipamalika in famous Sanskrit poet’s Rajasekhara’s ninth century work Kavyamimamsa, where traditions of homes being cleaned and decorated with lights are mentioned. For several others the festival holds a different significance.
How is Diwali celebrated?
On the first day of the festival people pray, eat a special breakfast consisting of different foods, and the Hindu goddess Lakshmi’s statue is carried throughout the streets in procession.
While there’s plenty of evidence of Diwali on the streets, it’s indoors, amongst Indian families, that the really meaningful celebrations take place. If you’re visiting India from abroad during Diwali, it’s highly recommended that you stay at an Indian homestay so that you can be a part of traditional Diwali family rituals and get a real insight into Indian culture.
On the day of Diwali, people should get up early in the morning and pay tribute to their ancestors and worship family gods. Being Amavasya day, people also perform Shradh for their ancestors. Traditionally, most Puja are performed after keeping a day long fast. Hence, the devotees of Goddess Lakshmi observe a day long fast on the day of Lakshmi Puja. The fast is broken after Lakshmi Puja in the evening.
In the worship of Diwali, first of all, wearing a white garment on a pouch, sit on the image or statue of Mother Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganesh Ji. After this, take a little water from the water vessel of worship and sprinkle it by reading the following mantra above the statue. Later in the same way, sprinkle the water of your own and the puja of your worship in the same way, and purify it.