Deepavali or Diwali literally means ‘a row of lights’ and has been celebrated across the country for over 1,000 years. It is also called Kaumudi Deepam or Dipalika. The Festival Of Lights is celebrated with decorative illuminations and fireworks. It is the most popular Hindu festival and is considered a war against the dark forces. The lamp (jyothi) is the base and spirit of life and its light represents wisdom. The shloka ‘tamosoma jyothirgamaya’ means destruction of darkness. Deepavali consists of five-day festivities, with each day having its own religious significance. WATER FESTIVAL: Ashvija Krishna Thrayodasi .In North India, the festival is called Dhanteras and it marks the beginning of the festivities. In the evening, houses are cleaned and decorated with rangoli, haldikumkum, etc. A filled water boiler is worshiped. The day is considered auspicious for purchasing utensils and jewellery.
NARAKA CHATURDASI: Ashvija Krishna Chaturdasi .On this day, Lord Krishna is said to have killed the demon Narakasura, king of Pragjyotispura (present-day Assam) after a long war. The family gets up before sunrise (Brahmi Muhurtha) and everyone has a bath with oil and shikakai, which are then kept in the bathroom for Lord Krishna. Prayers are offered for destruction of sins and evil, followed by bursting of crackers. Pumpkin sweets are offered to God and guests. AMAVASYA: Ashvija Krishna Amavasya .On this darkest day of the year, people have an oil bath and worship goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. In the evening, lit lamps are placed at all doorways and windows of the house, besides at other properties, business establishments and farms. In some parts of the country, women blow conch and beat drums and winnowing baskets around midnight to get rid of evil. People also remember their ancestors by offering water mixed with sesame. Traders worship goddess Lakshmi, account books and cash boxes.
BALIPADYAMI: Kartika Sukla Pratipad .The most powerful and charitable Asura king Bali was stamped by Vamana (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) to Sutala Loka (netherworld). Bali is one among the seven chiranjivis and returns to visit his kingdom on this day every year. It is believed that purchases made on this day bring great prosperity. Cattle and agricultural tools are worshiped and prayers offered for rain. Holige (made of jaggery, dal, maida and ghee) is the customary dish prepared on this day. Employers distribute gifts and sweets to employees. YAMADVITIYA: Kartika Sukla Dvitiya .Yamadvitiya or Bhratridvitiya is a day for sisters to meet their brothers. Lord Yama was invited by his sister river goddess Yamuna for dinner and she offered him sweets. Yama, pleased with this, blessed all brothers who eat at their sister’s house on this day.