A Hindu festival rooted in deep human values, strong mythical beliefs and legends, Diwali signifies the true essence of life where good overcomes evil. Celebrated with much gaiety, grandeur and festivity, the festival of Diwali transcends caste, creed and community to become all-inclusive and encompassing. In man’s eternal quest for both spiritual enlightenment and worldly prosperity, Diwali marks the most auspicious day when family bonds and human relations become stronger while business ventures gain a promising head start.
Diwali – the ‘festival of lights’ is as outwardly celebratory as inwardly uplifting. Diwali is celebrated on the ‘new moon day’ in the month of Kartik which falls in October/ November. As per the Hindu calendar, the day is also termed ‘Krishna Chaturdashi’. The boisterous fervor of Diwali is manifested in busy markets much ahead of celebration, illuminated public places and homes lit with earthen ‘diyas’ , candles and decorative lighting and people decked up in bright, new clothes. Men and women partake of the rituals which involves doing ‘pujas’ and offering ‘prasad’ to Gods and Goddesses.
Perhaps as old as the tradition of celebrating Diwali is, equally age-old is the ritual of offering sweets and gifts to families and friends. The most common scene synonymous with Diwali is that of children and adults burning firecrackers and sparkles. A noticeable trend around Diwali celebrations is a Diwali party, where friends and family gather to celebrate this day.
As visually mesmerizing is the light that streams out of candles and fireworks, it is ultimately the divine light that we seek on Diwali day to purify our hearts and soul. It is this light that penetrates all darkness and the mundane routine of our lives. As such, the most common ritual is cleaning of homes, offices and work space to connect with this light and get blessings from God.
Symbolizing renewing energy, homecoming and prosperity in different parts of the country, Diwali is believed to coincide with several different events of historical significance. In north India, Diwali marks the day of the return of Lord Rama after defeating Ravana, a symbol of evil and is celebrated with full devotion. Every year, effigies of Ravana are burnt in a public event and the ceremony is attended by thousands of people.
Diwali is also associated with Goddess Lakshmi as she emerged from the sea – according to the mythical tale of the ‘samudra manthan’, meaning ‘churning of the ocean’. In Gujarat, Goddess Maha Lakshmi’s name is invoked and her blessings sought for prosperity, piety and faith. In another mythical tale, Diwali has associations with Lord Krishna’s triumph over the demon Narakasura, who had kidnapped the ‘gopis’ of Vrindavan. In Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshipped on this day with full-night pujas/chants. From an agrarian point-of-view, Diwali also heralds the onset of the sowing season.
In the calendar of religious festivals in India, Diwali stands as one of the most prominent festivals. Above all, its main significance reverberates with our aspirations to be pure and loving in our interactions with others and to rise above selfish interests.
Story behind Diwali
There are many stories linked with the festival of Diwali. As per a legend, Diwali is the dayon which Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after an exile of 14 years with his wife Sita,brother Lakshmana and Lord Hanumana. The day of His return was amavasya and so thepeople of Ayodhya lit lamps and candles to see their lord and celebrate His return.
According to another legend, Diwali is celebrated on the day after Lord Krishna killed thedemon Narakasura and took sixteen thousand imprisoned women as His wife. The daywhen Narakasura was killed is known as Naraka Chaturdashi and the victory of LordKrishna (good) over Narakasura (evil) is celebrated the next day, i.e., on Diwali.
It is also believed that Goddess Lakshmi who was born from Samudra manthan performedby the devas and asuras took Lord Vishnu as his husband on the night of Diwali. It istherefore a tradition to worship Goddess Lakshmi on the occasion of Diwali. Along withLakshmi, Lord Ganesha is also worshiped on the day of Diwali.
Significance of Diwali Festival 2022
Diwali symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Whether it is related to Lord Rama, Lord Krishna or Goddess Lakshmi, the true meaning and essence of this festival remains the same- truth always prevails.
Five days of festival of Diwali 2022
The festival of Diwali is celebrated twenty days after Dussehra and continues for a total of five days starting with Dhanteras. Dhanteras the first day of the festival when people clean and decorate their houses, buy new utensils and offer prayer to Lord Dhanvantri. Second day of the festival is Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day, people take a bath in til oil and special puja is performed. Diwali is the third day on which main festivities are held and people celebrate the day by lighting Diya and crackers. Next day after Diwali is the Govardhan Puja, a festival on which devotees worship Govardhan Hill. Fifth and last day of the festival is the Bhai Dooj, the day that celebrates the bond between brother and sister.
Diwali 2022 Celebrations
On the day of Diwali, people decorate their houses with flowers and make colorful rangoli. When the evening comes, people wear new clothes and engage in Lakshmi puja. Prayersare recited and offerings are made to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi. Other deities like Saraswati, Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanumana, or Kubera are also worshiped on this day. After this, people lit diyas, lamps, candles, etc and place them in and outside their homes. Once the puja is done, people go outside and light up fireworks. When these festivities are over, people gather with their friends and family and enjoy a grand feast.