Diwali is an Indian festival celebrated on the day of Amavasaya, a day when the moon is nowhere in sight and darkness envelops the land. As far as symbolism goes, light represents the good, and the dark represents the evil. On this day of darkness, people light up their houses with small earthen lamps, electric lights and such, bathing the surroundings with bright light, driving away the dark, which symbolizes the triumph of the good and defeat of the evil.
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DIWALI, A FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
Diwali was once called Deepavali, a term that means a “row of lamps”. Later, the term Deepavali was shortened, hence the name Diwali. It is also commonly called as the “festival of lights”. It is known as such because of the tradition of lighting diya, an oil lamp native in India, in their houses and surroundings. However, the practice is not limited to the use of diya. Other lighting equipments such as decorative lights are also used to make the surroundings even brighter.
The festival is not exclusive only for the Hindi. It is in fact widespread amongst other cultures as it celebrated not only by the Hindu but is also part of religions such as Buddhism, Sikhs and Jains, though the story and reason behind the festivalis different for each.
Diwali is a celebration spanning ceremonies performed throughout five different days beginning on Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdashi(between September and October) until Kartika Shudha Vijaya (between October and November), in accordance with the Hindu calendar. People, regardless of age and class, gather together and become onein a festive mood for the sacred celebration throughout the country.Families and friends bond together in the different activities performed during the festival.
The five day festival consists of different activities, mostly centered in the worship of the important Hindu deities.
- Dhan Trayodashi or Dhanteras marks the first day of the festival.
- The second day is Narak Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali.
- Third day marks the most important day of the festival. People devote their time in performing Lakshmi Pujan, a ritual of worship to the Hindu god of wealth and prosperity, Laskshmi.
- Fourth day sees the Govardhan Pooja, a ceremony dedicated to the worship of the god Govardhan Parvat.
- Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the fifth day, with brothers and sisters meeting to show sibling love and affection to one another.
Diwali truly is a festival deeply ingrained with activities devoted in the worship and appreciation of the gods displaying the strong belief of the people in the deities of the Hindu religion.