Diwali, also known as ‘the festival of lights’ is an important festival of India. It is celebrated in every corner of the country by various Indian communities. It is a festival of joy, peace, and happiness. Almost celebrated everywhere, it is celebrated mainly by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs. There are many reason for its celebration but the common fact is that it celebrates the win of good over evil and light over the darkness.
It is a grand Hindu festival celebrated by millions of people around the world. People celebrated this festival by lighting ‘diyas’ and candle to decorate their house and it involves a huge display of fireworks which makes Diwali ‘the festival of light’.
Laxmi and Ganesha- The Lord of Wealth – are worshipped during this festival.
Distribution of gifts and sweets have become an important part of Diwali culture. People express their joy and spread happiness by greeting ‘Subh Deepavali’ or ‘Happy Diwali’ and gifting their relatives, friends, neighbours heartily gifts and sweets.
Also, the delicious grand feast with mouth-watering dishes including a huge variety of sweets is a major attraction of this festival.
Why Diwali is celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated in the honor of Sri Rama-Chandra of Ramayana who is considered the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is said that on this auspicious day of Deepavali, Lord Rama returned back to his Kingdom – Ayodhya, after 14 years of exile. During his exile, Lord Rama fought in a battle against the demon King Ravana and defeated him. This signifies the win of good over Evil. The people of Ayodhya welcomed Shri Ram by decorating the whole Kingdom with the ‘Deepak’ (small clay made lamps which uses oil as the fuel) and thus, this festival got its name as ‘Deepawali’ (rows of diyas).
History of Diwali
There is no surety about the exact history of Diwali. There are many stories that define the celebration of Diwali. The most famous story is the victory of Lord Rama over the Ravana. In the south, Diwali is associated with a different story of another incarnation of Vishnu- Lord Krishna, who freed about 16,000 women by defeating an evil king. People belonging to other religions like Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism relate Diwali with important events in their histories, too. But, a common thought is that it marks the victory of good over the evil, good over bad, and light over darkness.
How is the festival celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated by millions of people around the world. Apart from India, Diwali is a national holiday in many countries of the world like Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Guyana, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, Mauritius, Surinam, and Fiji.
Deepavali is one of the most important festivals of Hindus. The grand celebration is held every year, nearly in the months of October or November. The people celebrate this festival by spending time with friends and family and carrying out different traditional activities.
People start cleaning their houses many days before the arrival Diwali. The festival is marked by cleaning and decoration of houses, shops, factories, and industries. People paint their houses. They decorate it with ‘rice lights’ and other artificial decorative materials, garlands and make ‘rangolis’ to decorate their house. On the day of Diwali, people lit their houses with ‘Diyas’ and candles. People do this to welcome ‘ Lakshmi Mata’ – the Goddess of wealth and knowledge so that she comes to their house and bless them with good fortune and wealth.
On the Day of Diwali, Ganesh – Lakshmi Puja is performed. People clean the idols of Ganesh Lakshmi and decorate it with flowers and garlands. People worship Ganesh and Lakshmi by chanting sacred ‘mantras’ and singing ‘Aarti’. They make offering to the Ganesh – Lakshmi in the form of ’Prasad’ – which includes fruits, different types of sweets, rice pudding and many other traditional materials of Prasad.
One of the major attraction of Diwali is the bursting of crackers. The whole city on the day of Diwali gets lighted up in the colours of colourful crackers which gives a heavenly look to the night sky. But there are many negative aspects of these crackers too. The modern Diwali has mostly become a festival of bursting highly polluting and noisy crackers rather than the festival of lights and peace which is harming our environment and giving rise to global warming.
People distribute sweets and gifts among their friends and families and relatives to express their happiness, joy, and affection towards them.