Diwali - The festival of Lights

Diwali or Deepawali is a festival of lights. It is one of the most important and popular festivals celebrated across India. On the auspicious occasion, team of Mysticadii wishes you all a prosperous Diwali. Let the light of goodness and God remove evil and negativity from our hearts. Different regions in our country celebrate Diwali for numerous reasons. However, the theme underlying all these tales remains constant. It signifies the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and love over hate. Diwali is a five-day-long festival starting from the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight (waning phase of the moon) in the month of Kartik. Different Hindu deities are worshipped during these five days however the Goddess of fortune, Lakshmi remains the central deity. Let us understand the significance of each of these days.

Dhanteras (Day one) - Dhanteras marks the onset of Diwali and is celebrated across the country. People clean their houses and light earthen lamps to invite Lakshmi in their homes. It is a ritual to purchase metal items on this day due to the belief of good fortune entering one's house. The god of health and Ayurveda Dhanvantari is also worshipped on this day. Lord Kubera and Ganesha are also worshipped and a part of the rituals.

Naraka Chaturdashi (Day 2)- This day is also known as Choti Diwali. It is believed that on this day Lord Krishna had killed the demon named Narakasur and freed 16000 women from his captivity. The day is celebrated to honor Krishna's victory. Also, people pray for the departed souls of their ancestors on this day. Lord Hanuman is worshipped on this day. Lord Ram was so pleased with Hanuman's devotion that he wanted Hanuman to be honoured and worshipped before him. It is believed that on the night of Naraka Chaturdashi, spirits from other realms roam on Earth. Hence devotees seek protection from Hanuman through prayers and chants.

Lakshmi Puja (Day 3) - This is the main night of Diwali and is the darkest night of the year. The legend of Diwali is closely associated with the epic story of Samudra Manthan. Samudra Manthan was the churning of milky ocean after which Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea. It was on this day Lakshmi chose Vishnu as her husband and got married to him. Some also consider this day as Lakshmi's birthday. Hence Lakshmi remains the central deity. Lord Ganesha who is known as the remover of obstacles is also worshipped along with Lakshmi. In the northern part of the country, this day is celebrated as the homecoming of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. Rama along with Sita. Lakshman and Hanuman returned to Ayodhya after killing the ten-headed demon Ravana and completing his 14-year exile. The people of Ayodhya lighted the whole city with lamps for his welcome. In the eastern region, Diwali is associated with Goddess Kali's victory over demons. Kali was the fearful manifestation of Parvati who embodied this form to slay demons on Earth. In the South, this day is celebrated for Krishna's victory over demon Narakasur. In Jainism this day celebrated as Mahavir, the latest Tirathankara achieved Moksha on this day. Sikhs celebrate this day as Bandi Chor diwas as Guru Hargobind was released from captivity by the Mughal emperor Jehangir. He returned to Amritsar on this day. This the main day of the five-day festival and is thus celebrated wonderfully. People wear beautiful traditional dresses and decorate their homes with lamps. lights and rangolis. They make traditional sweets at home and enjoy a grand family feast and get together. In Shaivism, the popular belief is that on this day Shiva and Parvati played a game of dices. Shiva lost in the game. This defeat is a metaphor showcasing the power of the Divine feminine. Hence another popular ritual on Diwali is gambling.

Govardhan Puja (Day 4) - This day is celebrated to honor Krishna's victory over Indra. Lord Indra was angry with the residents of Gokul as they had stopped worshipping him and had devoted themselves completely to young Krishna. He flooded the whole city with nonstop rains to take revenge on them. This is when little Krishna lifted the hills of Govardhan and provided shade to the residents until the rains stopped.

Bhai Dooj (Day 5) - This is the last day of the festival. The sacred bond between brothers and sisters is celebrated on this day. It is believed that Krishna after killing Narkasur went to his sister Subhadra's house. Subhadra welcomed him with a tilak and hence the tradition of Bhai Dooj started. On this day brothers visit their sister's home and seek blessings and spiritual protection from them.

There may be numerous reasons why Diwali is celebrated but it is needless to say that it is undoubtedly the most popular festival in India. It is time of year where families and communities come together to celebrate the bond of togetherness.

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