Diwali or Deepawali, is one of India’s most important festival of the year. It is also one of the major religious festivals of Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. The festival gets its name from the row (avail) of clay names (deepa) Indian lights the homes to symbolize the inner lights that protect from spiritual darkness.
The festival lasts for five days from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of the lunar month Karttika. (Usually with English calendar it comes late October and November).
During the festival, diyas are lit and placed outside the house and temples. Homes are decorated with led lights, and floors are covered with rangoli and flowers.
Doors and windows of the houses are kept open during this day in a hope that goddess Lakshmi will find her way inside and bless the house with success.
In northern India, they celebrate the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.
Southern India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
Diwali is celebrated over five days
- DAY ONE: People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
- Day TWO: People decorate their homes with clays lamps and create a design pattern called rangoli on the floor using colored powers or sand.
- DAY THREE: On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.
- DAY FOUR: This is the first day of the New Year, when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
- DAY FIVE: Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.