Festival season is the most awaited time of the year for every Indian. Starting in October with auspicious Navratri, the festival season begins in October. This is among those few times when people forget about every other tension and stress happening in their life and enjoy the festivals.
Indian culture is all about forgiveness and letting things go. During this time, people forget the differences between others and join each other to celebrate these days. Though the rejoicing begins from Navratri, the most awaited day is the day of Deepawali.
Not just for celebration, but this day holds a special place in Hinduism and the entire Indian culture. This is the day when Lord Rama, returned to their homeland Ayodhya after completing their exile along with their wife Sita and their brother Laxman.
The entire festivals last for five days starting from the 13th day of the dark half of Ashvinaand last till the second light half of Karttika. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Ram returned to their home after fourteen years. To celebrate their return, the entire city of Ayodhya was decorated with lamps.
To celebrate their return, the entire nation lights lamps and decorates their homes, shops and every other place. Every part of the nation is lit up with bright lights giving this festival the title of ‘The Festival of Lights. The celebration is not just to rejoice in the return of our Lord Rama, but the victory of good over evil.
The five-day celebration begins with Dhanteras and ends with Bhai Dooj. Each day has its own cultural significance and has a valuable life lesson as well.
Dhanteras is the first day of the Deepawali celebration. The incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Lord Dhanvantari is worshipped to this day as they are believed to have brought medicine and Ayurveda to the human race. In addition to that, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi was born on the same day which is why it is a tradition to get utensils and other metals to please the goddess.
The second festival is Choti Deepawali. Though the name translates to the smaller version of the big Deepawali festival, the cultural significance is quite different. As per mythology, Lord Krishna, Kali, and Satyabhama defeated Naraksaura on this day. Many people worship these gods in the early morning and perform several traditional rituals.
Deepawali and Lakshmi Pooja
The biggest and the most awaited day in the five-day celebration, Deepawali. It happens on the darkest day of the month and the entire darkness is eradicated by lighting candles, lamps, and electric lights as well. Many people celebrate this festival by bursting crackers, meeting with their loved ones, exchanging gifts, cleaning their house, and many other positive things. Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are worshipped on this day for better health and wealth of people. People celebrate this festival in return for Lord Ram to their home and as a victory of good over evil. On this day, Lord Ram started their tenure as the King of Ayodhya.
After the big day of Deepawali, the fourth day is celebrated as Govardhan Pooja. Different parts of the country celebrate this day for different reasons. In the southern part of the country, this day is celebrated as the day when Lord Vishnu defeated King Bali. In north India, it is celebrated as the victory of Lord Krishna over Indra. Gujrat celebrates this day as their new year.
The fifth and the last day of the celebration is Bhai Dooj. It is a day to honour the pure relationship of brother and sister. Sisters dedicate this day to their brothers and celebrate their unbreakable bond. It is believed that Lord Krishna visited their sister Subhadra after defeating Narkasur. She gives him a warm greeting and the ceremonial tilak marking the start of Bhai Dooj.
Lesser Known Facts about Deepawali
Treat for Sweet Lovers
Deepawali is considered the festival of lights, but there is a tradition of exchanging gifts and sweets with neighbours, relatives, and friends. People mainly gift sweets making it a win-win situation for the sweets lover. Whether it is traditional sweets or chocolates, people love to spread joy through their gifts.
Deepawali may be a festival for Indians, but it is celebrated in not just India, but in several parts of the world. In Caribbean places like Tobago and Trinidad, this festival is celebrated with numerous performances, and worshipping gods. On the other hand, the UK is among the places outside India to have a blasting celebration of Deepawali. Indians celebrate this festival by decorating their homes, bursting crackers, and lighting lamps. Not just that, but they also exchange gifts with their neighbours as well. As the celebration of Deepawali in the UK is increasing rapidly, people from different communities have also begun to celebrate this festival.
Moving on to Australia, then Indians and Australians come together to celebrate Deepawali. One of the best things about this celebration is that there is an annual fireworks display over the Yarra River in Melbourne dedicated to this festival. Moreover, Federation Square where live music is played on Deepawali is officially the biggest yearly celebration in all of Australia.
Bandi Chhor Divas
Sikhs have an important day on the day of Deepawali known as the Bandi Chhor Divas. They celebrate the same day along with Deepawali as they believe that their Guru Hargobindfreed himself from imprisonment on this day and arrived in Amritsar. To celebrate this day, they decorate the Golden Temple with extravagant lighting and put on a firework show.
Deepawali is unlike any other festival in the world. It brings people closer and has a rich cultural significance as well. All the people during this time are extremely happy and thank god for the life that they are having. No matter how it is celebrated, the essence of the entire rejoicing is to mark the victory of good over evil and always stay on the right path.