India is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. It is probably the only country where each festival is celebrated with great zeal and warmth and this unites the country and brings its people together truly representing the picture of unity in diversity. This is why the country is also referred as land of festivities. Diwali is one such festival which is celebrated across the entire stretch of the nation. It is an important day of celebration especially for the Hindus as the day signifies victory of light over darkness, of the good over the evil. According to the Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Rama returned to his home, Ayodhya after 14 years of exile on this day. His subjects expressed their happiness by lighting up the entire city with lights. Diwali or Deepavali is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Deep+Avali.’ Deep means diya or lamp of clay or earthen pots decorated colorfully and Avali means a row; so deepavali means a row of diyas or light.
Diwali celebrations begin on the 13th day of the month Ashwin as per the Hindu calendar. This day is celebrated as ‘Dhanteras.’ Dhan means wealth and as the tradition goes it is believed to be a auspicious day for people to buy gold or silver for the house. The next day is Choti Diwali or ‘Narkachaturdshi.’ This was the day when Lord Krishna killed Narkasura. The 15th day of the month is ‘Diwali.’ On this day every hindu household carries out puja or ceremony for worshipping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi emerged is the goddess of wealth and prosperity and it is believed that on this day she visits the houses of her devotees to bestow her blessings on them. This started the tradition of cleaning the house and offices before diwali to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. The next day is celebrated by different names in various parts of the country, Goverdhan Puja or Padva or Bali Prativpada or Annakoot in the north and the south of India. The fifth day of celebration is called Bhaiduj or Bhai Phota. On this auspicious day brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection for each other.
In Jainism too, this day holds a lot of significance. On this day Lord Mahavira the last of the Jains’ thirthankars attained moksh or nirvana at pavapuri and on this very day his disciple Gautam Swami attained ‘Kevalgyan’ or complete knowledge. For Sikhs too this day holds lot of importance as it was on this day that the sikhs’ sixth guru, Guru Hargobind ji was freed from imprisonment and he went to Darbar Sahib or the Golden Temple. People expressed their happiness on his return by lighting candles and diyas. Diwali is not just a way of expressing happiness it has a very deep meaning. The light signifies spirituality, purification of the soul, attaining knowledge and peace. In the modern times this day is celebrated with lights, diyas, fire-crackers, rangoli and by exchanging sweets, gifts, diwali greetings and cards. These days diwali e-greeting cards are available too, with these e-cards you can wish luck, prosperity and happiness for your loved ones even if they are far away from you. So this diwali celebrate the festival of lights with your near and dear ones and wish that the new year brings lot of prosperity and success in everone’s lives. Have a safe and very Happy Diwali!