Diwali or Deepavali, is a festival of lights, celebrated every year during autumn. It is considered to be one of the most important and popular festival of Hinduism. This festival symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. It is celebrated by lighting lamps outside the house and bursting crackers all over the country. The festival is celebrated over a period of five days and in the final day, which will be a new moon night, crackers are lighted, to get rid of darkness. Every year Diwali falls between the month of October and November.
As a celebration of this festival, people clean, renovate and decorate their house, a day before Diwali and during Diwali night, people dress up themselves in new clothes and light up Diyas in their home and offices. Following this, they conduct Pujas according to their tradition and later burst crackers and distribute sweets to their neighbours and friends. This Diwali season is considered to be the major shopping period for many families and shop avails huge discounts during this period of the year.
In many regions of the country, the festive celebration starts with Dhanteras on the first day, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on the second day and on the third day, Diwali is celebrated. This tradition is followed in Northern and Western parts of India. Jains also celebrate Diwali, however, they celebrate for a different reason, ‘Attainment of Moksha by Mahavira’. In Southern parts of India, the day after Diwali, is considered to be an auspicious day and they conduct Pujas for Goddess Lakshmi, to increase their wealth.
Diwali is widely celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists, however, each religion celebrate Diwali for different reasons. Yet they all mark the joy and destruction of evil and celebrating the victory of good. Diwali is celebrated to denote that, however bad the situation can be, Good always triumphs. Each religion has their own peculiar way of celebrating Diwali and below we can see that tradition of different religion in detail.
In Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated in honor of the return of Lord Rama and Sita to Ayodhya, after his exile of 14 years. In order to welcome Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, during that time the villagers illuminated their path with diyas, to welcome their favourite prince and his wife. Including this, Diwali also celebrates the return of Pandavas, after their exile of 12 years. In Eastern and Western part of India, people worship Goddess Kali, instead of Lakshmi and name it as ‘Kali Puja’.
Sikhs mark Diwali as Bandi Chhor Divas, which denotes freeing Guru Har Gobind from Gwalior Fort, where he was held in a prison. They light up the Golden temple and fireworks and other festive activities are conducted.
Jains celebrate Diwali as a festive to remember Mahavira. On the day of Diwali, they are offered Nirvan Ladoo in all the Jain temples across the world.
The Newar people in Nepal, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi for wealth. They celebrate Diwali for five days and during this time they worship Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, for the world betterment.
Diwali is considered as a holiday season world wide and it is an official holiday in countries like Fiji, Guyana, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Singapore, Sri Lanka etc.