Diwali, the Indian festival of lights is one of the most festive, popular and beautiful times of the year. Also called Deepavali, it literally means a “Row of Lights.” It is a time filled with light and love; a time when Indians all over the world rejoice.
It’s celebration include millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed.
Diwali falls towards the end of October, or first half of November each year, on the day of ‘Amavasyaa’, when the moon does not rise and there is darkness all around. The darkest night of autumn lit with diyas, candles and lanterns, makes the festival of lights particularly memorable.
Diwali is a festival of celebrations such as lightings, crackers, cleanliness, colourful rangoli making, social gatherings to exchange greetings and sharing sweets with your loved ones. The people of all age groups and classes with equal zeal and enthusiasm celebrate Diwali throughout India. They put on new apparels and participate in the various activities that are related to Diwali celebrations.
The Five Days of Diwali Celebrations
Diwali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another, we get a chance to celebrate five ceremonious occasions.
Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin days or weeks in advance. The festival formally begins two days before the night of Diwali, and ends two days thereafter.
The first day of this festival begins with ‘Dhan Trayodashi’ or ‘Dhanteras’.
The word Dhanteras is constituent of the terms ‘dhan’ which means wealth and ‘teras’ which means thirteenth, hence it is a festival observed on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha of the Hindu Calendar.
There are two popular legends associated with Dhanteras.
According to the legends, during the churning of ocean by the Gods and the demons, Dhanvantari – the physician of the Gods came out of the ocean on the day of Dhanteras, with a pot of amrita that was meant for the welfare of the humankind. This day also marks the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi, which is celebrated by drawing small footprints of the deity, with rice flour and vermilion powder.
Another legend says once there was a 16-year-old prince known as Hima. His horoscope predicted that he would die of snake bite on the fourth day of his marriage. On that particular day, the prince’s newly married wife, decided to play a trick. She laid down all her jewellery, coins in heaps near the door of the sleeping chamber and lit lamps all over the palace. Then she started narrating stories to her husband to prevent him from falling asleep. Then Yama came in the guise of a serpent. His eyes were blinded by the shine of the coins and jewellery. So, Yama could not enter the chamber of the prince. So, He climbed the heap of the jewellery and sat there the entire night, listening to the stories and songs. In the morning, Yama went away. Thus the prince was saved from the clutches of death. Hence, the day came to be celebrated as Dhanteras.
Dhanteras is an extremely significant day for all. People renovate, decorate their houses and workplaces on this day and make traditional ‘Rangoli’ motifs on the entrance, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Lamps and candles are lit throughout the night. It is considered auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day. Many people opt for buying new utensils on this day.
New account books are bought on this day and placed before Goddess Lakshmi to get Her blessings. People start new business on Dhanteras because it is believed that business started on this day will be very profitable.
Diwali Day Two Story follows….