Diwali – a Spectrum of Spectacular Illumination of Lights and Life’s Festivities
Diwali, a diminutive form of Deepavali, etymologically means a row of lights (‘Deep’- light and ‘Avali’-a row). Hence it is festival of lights. The name Diwali originates from a tradition involving lighting small ceramic oil lamps, called diyas. Diwali that is on the 15th day of the month of Kartik is a holiday and is celebrated with fervor and gaiety. Indian communities float diyas in rivers and streams and place them outside temples. Being a New Year day all financial transactions remain closed on this day. Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, and Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, are worshipped during Diwali. Traditional sweets called naivedya are made and shared and songs are sung to honor the goddess.
In each of the simple traditions and rituals at Diwali there is a tale of significance and credo. Apart from the celebration of Rama’s return to Ayodhya, historically too, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival.Legend holds that after the goddess Parvati played dice with her husband she declared that anyone who gambled during Diwali would prosper throughout the upcoming year. Today, families gather and play cards, dice and other games.
India is known throughout the world for it’s celebratory fervor.Celebration of Diwali begins from Dusshera, which comes twenty days before Diwali. Lord Rama destroyed Ravana on this day and hence it is celebrated as a day of victory. Brilliantly decorated tableaux and processions depicting various facets of Rama’s life are taken out and scenes from his life enacted out in a popular form of drama called Ramlila.
Diwali is a festival of joy, splendor, brightness and happiness. It is t celebrated with great enthusiasm by all Indians all over the world. The uniqueness of this festival is its harmony of five varied philosophies, with each day to a special thought or ideal.At a metaphysical level, Deepawali is a festival s, the latter is destroyed and reduced to ashes by fireworks is the belief of the people. On Diwali day, everywhere in India, at dusk when darkness unfolds itself, one can see a spectacular illumination of tiny flickering lamps adorning in rows – at homes, buildings and streets. People visit the places of their relatives and friends to wish them on the occasion and exchange gifts. Feasts are arranged and gaily-dressed men, women and children go to temples and fairs, visit friends and relatives. Diwali is also celebrated outside India mainly in Guyana, Fiji, Malaysia, Nepal, Mauritius, Myanmar, Singapore, Srilanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Africa, and Australia among the Hindus world over. Places as far as Southern America have record of celebrating Diwali.
Uniting all members of the community, young and old, rich or poor, the lighting of the lamps represents a way of paying obeisance to God for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and valoured fame. People give expressions to their happiness by lighting earthen diyas , bursting fire crackers etc. Diwali is celebrated for five days, each day having it’s own significance, rituals and myths.
The First day is called Dhanteras or Dhantryaodashi, which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. The word “Dhan” means wealth.
The Second day is called Narka-Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali that falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Ashwin.
The Third day of the festival of Diwali is the most important day of Lakshmi-Puja, which is entirely devoted to the propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi. This day is also known by the name of “Chopada-Puja”. The day of Lakshmi-Puja falls on the dark night of Amavasya.
The Fourth day is called Padwa or VarshaPratipada that marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya
The Fifth and Final Day of Diwali Festival is known by the name of “Bhaiya-Dooj” This day is observed as a symbol of love between sisters and brothers.
The festival of Diwali has been celebrated for ages and grows in attraction by the year. Everyone enjoys the goodies, the shine, glamour, and the endless enthusiasm for living that suddenly grips people around this time. However, Diwali is a holy tradition and cannot to be put in the shade by the lights.
Diwali Festival is celebrated all over India on October. Normally India is having thousands of local festivals according to local culture and traditions. India is truly a diversified country with multiplies languages and different cultures in various parts of India. Since the Indian civilization is one of the oldest and evolved from different parts of India and joined the festivals very different from one place to another.
Diwali is the Universal Festival of India:
If we study the Festivals of India, we can see lot of variations in the festivals from south to north and east to west. In Kerala you can find onam, in Tamilnadu you can find Pongal,Telegu new year in Andhra Pradesh, Pohela Baishakh in Bengal, Baisakhi Festival for Sikhs etc. Almost all of this festival is totally unknown to states than it is celebrating. In addition, we can see the same festival is celebrated in different parts of the country on same day with different legend. In addition, the celebration will be different. However, the Diwali (Deepavali) is celebrated across the India in every state irrespective of culture and Languages. This makes Deepavali as a universal festival of India.
Deepavali the festival of lights:
Diwali is not the original or correct name of this festival. The correct name of the festival is Deepavali (I think only in Kerala still they use the correct name) and the word Diwali is a short form of Deepavali.Deepam means is the flame of lamp in almost all languages in India. Therefore, as the name suggests on deepavali day the houses will be celebrated with lighted lamps all over India. The temples also will be decorated with lamps and will have a divine look for Diwali. Therefore, as the name suggests we can see on Deepavali day that all houses are decorated with lighted lamps in all over India.Another Tradition is Diwali sweets, which will be prepared and distributed to nears, and dears by every family.
The Story of Diwali:
As normal to other Indian festival diwali also got more than one legend attached to it. As normal in Indian festival diwali also point to Hindu Religion.
- Lord Rama returning to Ayodya:-The most famous legend behind the celebrations of Diwali is about Return of Lord Sri Rama (Prince of Ayodya) to Ayodhya after Winning Rama-Ravana war. Lord Ram was staying in forest with his wife Sitadevi for 14 years to full fill his father’s Promise given to one of his wife. At that time The Demon king Ravana of Sri lanka has kidnapped the sitadevi. Therefore, Sri Ramachandra conducted the war with the help of monkey soldiers and won the war. He returned to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and younger brother Lakshmana after completing the promise. To celebrate the joy of this occasion people of Ayodhya decorated their home with lamps to show the love and affection to their Prince. Therefore, from there people of Ayodya started decorating their home with deepam on that day of every year.
- Incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi: Once upon a Time The Devas and demons the churning of the ocean, which is known as ‘Samudra Mathan’ by the demons on one side and ‘Devas’ on the other side. Samudra mathan was done in order to extract ‘Amruth’ from underneath of sea, which will help you to live forever. People believe that Goddess Lakshmi (of wealth and prosperity), was incarnated before Amruth from sea on samudra mathan, on the auspicious new moon day, which is ‘Amavasya’ of the Hindi month of Kartik.
- Lord Krishna Killed Narakasura: Narakasur was the demon king ruler of Pragjyotishpur, in South of Nepal. He had defeated lord Indra the king of Heaven. He stole the magnificent earrings of aditi Devi Indras Mother. Narakasura also imprisoned thousands of daughters of gods and saints. Lord Indra was a relative of Lord Krishna’s one wife Sathya Bhama. Lord Krishna defeated narakasura and freed all women from his jail. To celebrate this occasion people decorated their houses with Lamps.
- Pandavas Returning: – Kauravas (cousins of Pandavas) cheated Pandavas on the game of dice and won. As a result pandavas had to go to forest for thirteen years and should live in absconding for one year. If Kauravas was able to identify them in absconding period, they have to repeat another 13 years in Forest. Pandavas Successfully Completed this and returned to their country to rule again. People all over their Kingdom celebrated this occasion with lamps placed all over the house
Gifts in Diwali Festival
While choosing Diwali gifts you have to consider the choice, temperament of the recipient and the budget. Selecting an appropriate gift for the dear ones is the most difficult task.
As far as Indians are concerned, every relation ship is important whether it is a relationship with a brother, sister, parents, friends or any other family member. A wide range of gifts are available in shops and markets which makes the Diwali even sweeter. Gifts can be offered as the recipients’ favorite sweets, dolls, cakes, cookies and bouquets. You can give traditional mouth watering Indian sweets as sweets are the most expected gift on Diwali.
Diwali gifts also include candles and candle holders, divine gifts, sculpture, patchwork, jewelry, collection and spun glass. You can also gift house hold and office decor products such as clocks, bookends, plaques, wall hanging and many more. You can also give Diwali gift hampers as they will get according to your budget. The traditional gifts on Diwali are the silver gifts and these silver gifts are available in a huge variety and with trendiest designs. Besides silver crockery items, you can also buy Lakshmi-Ganesha silver coins as Diwali gifts.
Decorative pieces are another type of gifts which people would like to receive from others. You can give decorative pieces to decorate their house on the occasion of Diwali. Other items such as chinaware, traveling bags and kitchen gadgets which have great utility value are suitable as Diwali gifts. You can also present things associated with puja such as Puja thalis, idols of gods, candles and incense sticks.
Diwali gifts for brothers should be elegant, expressive and graceful which coveys your feelings to him. Gifts such as mobile stands, floral candles and Ram Durbar and Ferrero Rocher chocolates are suitable to give as gifts for your brother. Gifts for the sisters can be embroidered bags, cotton suit and Thali and silver utensils. Select the gifts for parents with utmost importance and some of the gifts you can give for your parents are dinner sets, framed Ganesha and chair set or other house hold items. If you are giving gifts to a whole family you have consider each member of the family and best gifts for a family are juice set, joyous Diwali set, chocolate box or Diwali gift hamper. If you can give unique Diwali such as a white metal Ganesha, wall hanging Diya or Goddess Lakshmi on a Lotus. Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are important in the festival of Diwali.
Gifts are important as it is a way to show respect, friendship and appreciation. There is no need of giving extravagant gifts because a gift gives the message that relationship is more important than the gift.