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The Five Days of Diwali Posted by on Nov 18, 2021 in Culture, Holidays

Meaning of Diwali

Diwali means a row of lights. The lights दीपक in question are not necessarily modern lights but more the little clay oil lamps तेल का दिया one sees in Indian homes. Lights are an essential part of the decorations सजावट of Diwali as the light is meant to ward off evil. People place lighted oil lamps in rows outside their homes on the path or driveway सड़क leading to the door. In modern India, people also use tea lights to light up the pathways to their homes or put it outside their flats in highrises गगनचुंबी इमारत.

Significance of Diwali

Diwali celebrates मनाता the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. People also believe it is the victory of intelligence बुद्धि over ignorance अज्ञान. It is celebrated from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month चंद्र मास of Ashvina until the 2nd day of the light half of the lunar month of Kartika.

Who Celebrates Diwali?

Diwali is a Hindu festival, with Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists celebrating the five day festival. However, in reality यथार्थ में, anyone in India is welcome to celebrate it. Christians, Muslims and other communities समुदाय also join their friends in celebrating this festival.

History

According to Hindu belief, Diwali celebrates the return of Rama, his wife Sita, and brother Laxman to Ayodhya which was his kingdom after 14 years of exile निर्वासन. The residents of Ayodhya were so delighted प्रसन्न at the return of their king and queen that they lit many oil lamps, and distributed वितरित sweets all over the town.

In the north of India, people celebrate Diwali over 5 days. While in the south of India they celebrate Deepawali over 4 days.

What are the five days?

Day 1 -Dhanteras धनतेरस is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and is the first day of the festival. On this day people clean their homes and decorate the front porches बरामदा with rangoli. Rangoli are colorful designs of elephants, lotus etc made out of rice or colored powders.

Day 2 – Chotti Diwali or Little Diwali is spent praying for ancestors पूर्वज and also lighting the oil lamps called diyas.

Day 3 – Diwali is the most important and largest day of the festival. People dress up in fine clothes and jewelry आभूषण and go to perform puja at the temple or in their prayer rooms at home. Afterward they light fireworks आतशबाज़ी and diyas, as well as sparklers. Also, they feast on homemade sweets and particular foods.

Day 4 – Gowardan Puja is dedicated to husbands and wives wherein they affirm वाणी their love for each other like Rama and Sita. It is also the New Year and is celebrated as such in  many regions.

Day 5 – Bhai Dhuj or Bhai Bheej is the fifth and final day of Diwali in which brothers and sisters celebrate the bonds they share

How do People celebrate?

Even the Indian diaspora प्रवासी gets into the celebrations! There are parties in large cities such as London and New York. People distribute बांटो gifts, sweets, and hampers of dried fruit and nuts to friends and co-workers. Children light fireworks under the supervision of adults.

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About the Author: Nicole Herbert Dean

Language, Region and Culture Consultant to the Department of Defense and United States Military.


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