Diwali  

Diwali
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Diwali or Deepawali means the festival of light. Diwali also ushers the "Hindu New Year". This is the most beautiful festivals of all Indians, Diwali is a celebration of lights. Diwali night is particularly a delightful pleasure to watch. Streets are enlighten with rows of clay lamps and home entrances are decorated with Rangoli (coloured powder designs) and 'Aakash kandils' (decorative lanterns with different shapes and sizes).

People wake up early morning, massage body & hair with scented oil before bath which is called (Abhyang Snan) bath. Numerous oil lamps decorated in the outdoor of all houses on Amavasya night.

On the same night "Laxmi Poojan" is held and the Goddess is highly praised. Myth says that 'Laxmi' the Goddess of wealth visits all the houses, hence all the houses are well-lighted and the doors are kept open. For children this night presents a best moment of excitement which gripped them days ago. Colorful & spectacular firecrackers are lighted and burnt. Diwali is the only chance when all families & relatives gather together giving gifts & enjoying variety of sweets specially called 'Faral'.

Diwali is celebrated for five days each having spiritual significance. It includes Dhanatrayodashi, Narakchaturdashi,  Laxmi poojan, Balipratipada and Bhaubeej. Main purpose of celebrating Diwali in such a excited way is to remove the shadow of poverty & lightening the human life with prosperity & happiness.

 

The First day of Diwali : Dhanteras
Dhanteras or Dhantryaodashi is the First day of Diwali, which falls on the thirteenth day in the month of Ashwin.  
The Second day of Diwali : Narak Chaturdasi
It is the fourteenth lunar day (thithi) of the dark forthnight in the month of Kartik and the eve of Diwali. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear.
The third day : Diwali

On the dark new moon night, the entrances to all homes are lit up and decorated with rangoli patterns to welcome Lakshmi, the radiant consort of Vishnu and the goddess of wealth and lustre. Lakshmi Puja is performed on this day.

Diwali is the last day of financial year in traditional Hindu business and businessmen perform Chopda Pujan on this day on the new books of accounts. Diwali is the festival when the new business year begins it is said that Diwali is the "Time to shop or start new ventures".

The fourth day : New Year day or Bestavarsh
The Fourth day is called Padwa or VarshaPratipada that marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day.

The day after the Lakshmi Puja, most families celebrate the new year by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewellery and visiting family members and business colleagues to give them sweets, dry fruits and gifts.

On this day, Goverdhan Pooja is performed. As per Vishnu-Puran, the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indra and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season. But one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. But Krishna saved his Gokul by lifting up the Govardhan Mountain and holding it over the people as an umbrella.

This day is also observed as Annakoot and prayers are offered in the temples. In temples especially in Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are given milkbath, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones.

The Fifth day of Diwali : Bhai Dhooj
The second day of the bright forthnight (Shukla Paksh) of Kartik is called "Bhaiya-Duj".  It comes once a in year-after Diwali

The name itself denotes the day of the festival i.e. Diwali falls on the absolutely dark night of Amdvasya (new moon), Dooj comes two days after Diwali.
Many years  ago, in the Vedic era, Yama (Yamraj, the Lord of death) visited His sister Yamuna (Yami)   and she put the auspicious 'Tilak' on his forehead, they ate, talked and enjoyed together and exchanged special gifts as a token of their love for each other and Yamraj announced that anyone who receives 'Tilak' from his sister on this day will never be thrown.

Since then it became imperative for the brother to go to his sister's house to celebrate Bhaiyaduj. On Bhai Dooj, the 'Teeka' is applied on the brother's forehead. It is a day dedicated to sisters. We have heard about Raksha Bandhan (brothers day). Well this is sisters day.

The sister usually goes in the morning and does the puja in the mother's house, before the brothers leave for  their places of study or work.

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