Deepawali – Festival of lights – 1 Nov 2016

 Diwali , Deepawali is the festival of lights

deepawali-deepam-jyoti-healsociety

  • It signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
  • Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities.
  • Falls on New moon day of Aswiyuja (Ashwin) month and beginning of Karthika month (oct – nov)

How people celebrate:

  • Everyone clean decorate their homes when Diwali is coming with flowers, lights and Ranoglis.
  • On Diwali day, people dress up in new clothes mostly traditional outfits, light up Deepam (Diyas, Deepam, Jyoti, Lamps and Candles) inside and outside their home.
  • Perform Lakshmi poja (the goddess of fertility and prosperity) in the evening.
  • Small kids are made to perform diviti (oil wicks tied to gongura plant and lightup) and wash their legs and hands to get ward of from evils.
  • Now it’s the time to feast with mithai (sweets), and exchange of gifts, dry fruits with family members and friends.
  • Now its crackers time. People enjoy crackers in-spite of several issues connected with fire hazard and pollution.
  • Deepavali also marks a major shopping festival time.

deepawali-deepam-jyoti3 day festival starts with Dhanteras (auspicious to purchase gold), followed by Naraka Chaturdasi (choti Diwali), Deepavali on the third day,

Bhai Dooj is dedicated to sister–brother bond celebrated on 5th day.

Diwali called in various languages – Dipawoli, Dipaboli, dipali, Dipabali, Diyari, Tihar, Deepostav.

Puranic significance of Diwali:

  1. Ramayan: Lord Rama’s return from 14 years of exile, along with his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana is celebrated  with lighting and festivity
  2. Mahabharat: on this day Return of Pandavas after 12 years of Vanvas and 1 year of “Agnatavas”.

Lakshmi Puja on Diwali

Prayers are offered to Lakshmi, Ganesha and Kubera. Lakshmi symbolises wealth and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.

Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi, and place diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her in. On this day, the mothers who work hard all year, are recognized by the family and she is seen to embody a part of Lakshmi, the good fortune and prosperity of the household. Small earthenware lamps filled with oil are lighted and placed in rows by some Hindus along the parapets of temples and houses. Some set diyas adrift on rivers and streams. Important relationships and friendships are also recognized during the day, by visiting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and sweets.

After the puja, people celebrate by lighting up crackers, sparklers (fireworks). The various items include Bhu chakra, Vishnu chakra, Chuchu buddi / flowerpots (anaar), Bombs, Sicindris, Matabu, Rockets and Seema tapakai cackers 100s 1000s 10000s which are twined to form a garland. This is light on one end and it fires all giving simultaneous cracking sound . The fireworks signify celebration of Diwali as well a way to chase away evil spirits.

Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooji

The last day of festival is called Bhai dooj (Brother’s second) or Bhai tika in Nepal, where it is the major day of the festival. It celebrates the sister-brother loving relationship, in a spirit similar to Raksha Bandhan but with different rituals. The day ritually emphasizes the love and lifelong bond between siblings. It is a day when women and girls get together, perform a puja with prayers for the well being of their brothers, then return to a ritual of food-sharing, gift-giving and conversations. 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.

Harmony and peace

Festivals signify the importance of get together and bonding across religions/beliefs. This is time to cheer up and celebrate live in harmonious way.

Issues with Diwali

Diwali is associated with fireworks, fire hazard, pollution and sometimes fatal injuries

  • Government and many associations plead to avoid crackers during to reduce air pollution.
  • Children are also educated to limit Diwali to lighting deepams.
  • Fireworks godowns, factories pose fire hazard to its employees and neighbors.
  • Without care injuries are caused due to fireworks.

Diwali prayers

Om Lakshmi namaha

Om Ganeshaya namaha

Om Kuberaya namaha

Om Namo Lakshmi narayanaya namaha

More on Hindu Festivals

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