Diwali is a festival that’s celebrated
wherever Hinduism is followed as a religion and besides India; countries like
Nepal, Bali and Malaysia celebrate this festival too. The festival symbolises
the victory of good over evil, of knowledge over ignorance and is represented
by the light spread by thousands of lamps that are lit on the occasion. Diwali
falls on 26th October this year.
The Legends Behind Diwali
Diwali is believed to have its origins in
the celebrations to commemorate Lord Rama’s triumphant return to Ayodhya with
Sita and Lakshman after his victory over Ravana. Another legend states that the
demon Narakasura was vanquished by Lord Krishna on the day that is now marked
as Naraka Chaturdashi.
Sikhs celebrate Diwali to mark the release
of the release of Guru Gobind Singh from the clutches of the Mughals.
The Rituals associated with Diwali
The first day of Diwali is called Dhana
Trayodashi or Dhanteras. The belief is that new clothes, vessels or gold
purchased on this day ensures abundant prosperity through the year. Tourists
visiting the country will witness a huge crowd during this day in all major
commercial centres, and shopaholics among them are sure to have a ball.
The second day is termed Naraka
Chaturdashi. Hindus in South India mark this day by waking up early in the
morning and having an oil bath before sunrise. New clothes are worn and
crackers are burst in the morning to dispel bad luck and ill omens. The sky
will be set ablaze with the dazzling beauty of countless fireworks, and this
will be enough to enthral any onlooker, local or foreign.
The third day of Diwali is the new moon day
and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in the evening in an elaborate pooja during
this day. Certain communities in North India believe that playing cards through
the night attracts Goddess Lakshmi’s continued bounty through the year. Crackers
are burst through the evening and night. This is an ideal time for any tourist
to visit the country, as the festivities will be at their peak during this
Hindus in Karnataka mark this day as Bali
Pratiyami. The legend of benevolent King Bali who was banished to the
underworld by Lord Vishnu is the genesis for this festival.
The fourth day of Diwali marks the start of
the New Year as per the Samvat calendar. Business men start new books of
account on this day. The fifth day of Diwali is Bhai Dooj. This festival marks
the love of a sister for her brothers .Women pray for the continued health and
long life of her brothers.
The Beauty of the Festival
Visitors from abroad will go through a
unique cultural experience during Diwali, as through the five days of the
festival, hundreds of oil lamps adorn Hindu homes and colourful patterns called
Rangolis are drawn on doorsteps. Traditional new clothes and jewellery are
purchased and the festival provides an opportunity for every person to
socialise and meet family and friends.
Diwali is an event where sweetmeats and
savouries are prepared and exchanged and typical sweets prepared for Diwali are
laddoos, halwa, phirni, barfee and malpuas. Savouries like chiwda, mixture,
pakoda , karanjis are typical food items that are prepared. Children are given
time off from school and have a gala time sampling sweetmeats and bursting
A visit to any part of India during this
time is bound to be a thrilling experience.