Reshared by Narayana Rao
Diwali is a five-day festival in many regions of India,
Dhanteras starts off the five day festival. For the festival, houses and business premises are cleaned, renovated and decorated. The entrances are decorated with Rangoli – creative colourful floor designs both inside and in the walkways of their homes or offices. This day marks the birthday of Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and the birthday of Dhanvantari – the God of Health and Healing during the Amrit Manthan by Angels and Demons. On the night of Dhanteras, diyas (lamps) are ritually kept burning all through the nights in honor of Lakshmi and Dhanvantari.
Dhanteras day is considered auspicious to buy gold or silver articles. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening.
Narak Chaturdasi is the second day of festivities, and is also called Choti Diwali. Oil bathing rituals are held on this day in some regions, followed by minor pujas. Women decorate their hands with henna designs. Families are also busy preparing sweets for main Diwali.
Diwali - Lakshmi Puja
The day is the main festive day. People wear new clothes as the evening approaches. Then diyas are lit, puja is offered to Lakshmi, and also to and Kubera. They both symbolise wealth and prosperity, and their blessings are sought for a good year ahead.
Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. People invite her into their homes with various decorations of the house with diyas. On this day, the house lady is seen to embody a part of Lakshmi, the good fortune and prosperity of the household. In some parts of India, important relationships and friendships are also recognized during the day, by visiting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and sweets.
After the Lakshmi puja, people go outside and celebrate by lighting up fireworks. The children enjoy sparklers and variety of small fireworks, while adults enjoy playing with ground chakra, Vishnu chakra, flowerpots, bombs, rockets and otherbigger fireworks. The fireworks signify celebration of Diwali as day to signify victory over evil of the days. After fireworks, people enjoy the family feast, with sweets.
Diwali Padwa, Balipratipada
The day after Diwali Amavasya, is celebrated as Diwali Padwa. This day is celebration of the love and mutual devotion between the wife and husband. Gifts are exchanged between spouses. In many regions, newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals. On this day, Goverdhan puja is performed in honor of Lord Krishna.
Diwali Pratipad also marks the beginning of new year, in some parts of India, where the Hindu Vikram Samvat calendar is popular. Merchants and shopkeepers close out their old year on Diwali Amavasya and start the books of a new fiscal year after seeking blessings from Lakshmi and other deities.
Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooji
The last day of the five day festival is called Bhai dooj (Brother’s second) or Bhai tika in Nepal, On this ladies and girls perform pujas with prayers for the well being of their brothers. In historic times, this was a day in autumn when brothers would travel to meet their sisters, or bring over their sister’s family to their village homes to celebrate their sister-brother bond with the bounty of seasonal harvests.
Reshared by Narayana Rao