DIWALI THE FESTIVAL OF HAPPINESS AND LIGHTS
Diwali, or Dipawali, is India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year. The festival gets its name from the row(avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indians light outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. This festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
- On the first day of Diwali, people consider it auspicious to spring clean the home and shop for gold or kitchen utensils.
- On the second day, people decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
- The third day is the main day of the festival when families gather together for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.
• The fourth day is the first day of the new year when friends and relatives visit with gifts.
On the last day of Diwali, brothers visit their married sisters who welcome them with love and a lavish meaL
How is the Festival of Lights celebrated?
Day one of the celebrations is known as Dhanteras, marking the beginning of the festival.
Often on the day of Dhanteras, homes are cleaned, new items such as plants or lights bought and prayers offered.
Naraka Chaturdashi is the second day and is one which sees Hindus wake before sunrise to apply holy oils to their bodies.
Diwali falls on the third day and is a time when feasts are shared, gifts exchanged and a prayer ritual known as puja undertaken.
The fourth day, Govardhan Puja, Hindus light oil lamps and offer vegetarian food to Lord Krishna either in temples or at sacred shrines in their own homes.
The final day, Bhai Dooj is also known as Bhai Tika, Bhai Phonta, Bhai Bij and Bhatru Dviteeya.
On this day the bond between brothers and sisters is celebrated with sisters often inviting brothers to their homes for a large meal.
For those who cannot visit with their siblings or have none – prayers are said to the moon.
It is because of this that Hindu parents often refer to the moon as Chandamama – Chanda means moon and mama means mother’s brother.1
MORE DETAILED WAYS ARE AS FOLLOWS
- For example, you could buy a few new shirts or pants, a nice set of plates or utensils, or some jewelry.
- You can also paint or draw your rangoli designs on paper or wood, or even buy them pre-made.
Tip: Make your rangoli designs even more festive by placing stones, mirrors, or beads around or inside of them.
- Diwali is the Festival of Lights, place candles and diyas in other places around your home as well!
- You can hang plain white lights or go with colorful strings.