Are you prepared for the festival of lights ( Diwali 2022 ) in India? Here’s all that you need to know about Diwali its date and significance in the life of people.
Diwali is arguably the most exhilarating festival in India. And not just in India, this “Festival of Lights” is famous all across the world. Not just children, but people of all ages wait for Diwali. This is because Diwali brings lots of fun, joy, new clothes, eatables, and firecrackers, and strengthens the bond between people who are not able to meet the entire year.
This year, Diwali is falling on the 24th of October 2022, so in this blog, let us understand the significance of the Diwali festival in India in a bit of detail and also know why this 5-day festival is awaited for an entire year.
Table of Contents
Mythological Significance of Diwali
Diwali holds a lot of mythological and historical significance for Hindus. According to Ramayan, the reason to celebrate Diwali is to honour the return of Lord Ram with his wife Lord Sita and brother Lord Laxman to his kingdom in Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
He returned after killing a lot of demons, including the powerful Ravana in Lanka who abducted her wife. To welcome Lord Ram, people in Ayodhya lit earthen lamps in their houses and all around the city. And thus is the tradition of lighting up the house, every time the festival arrives.
People follow the same old tradition of bringing home earthen diyas. Although, now more people prefer fancy products and colourful candles as well which deliver a magical aura.
People worship Lord Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on this day because Lord Ganesha can help us demolish all the obstacles in our life. Against this, Lord Lakshmi came out of Samudra Manthan or Churning of the Ocean on the same day. Lord Lakshmi is the provider of all the riches and prosperity to human beings. It was on this day that Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasur and freed the people of his kingdom.
According to the Hindu calendar, Diwali falls on the Amavasya or no-moon night in the month of Karthik. And due to all these reasons, Diwali holds a lot of mythological significance for Hindus.
How People Prepare to Celebrate Diwali
The preparations for Diwali begin weeks in advance. While there is a tradition of cleaning & decorating houses, people like to whitewash their home and also paint it according to their taste. You need to clean every corner of your home to welcome Lord Lakshmi who brings prosperity with her during her visit to your home.
Here are some of the elements that take place as a part of the preparation for Diwali:
Light it Up With Some Charm
While cleaning the house is really important, lighting up every corner too holds a lot of significance. People bring earthen diyas to light up their homes. And there are fancy electric diwali lights as well that decorate the interiors and exteriors of their houses.
You can find electric lights in various shapes and sizes and they deliver a totally different view to every home. They can arrange these electric lights in various patterns according to the requirements. Most houses see fancy lanterns and kandeels with electric bulbs to light up the surroundings.
Those Rangoli Colours are Magical
Rangoli is one of the most important parts of Diwali and rangoli means a pattern of colours, made on the entrance or a house to decorate it. This decoration again intends to beautify the surroundings and attract Lord Lakshmi toward the house.
People use powdered colours and products such as wheat flour, rice flour, turmeric powder and artificial colours to create beautiful rangoli patterns. Nowadays, people also stick rangolis printed on papers around their houses for the same effect.
Let’s Put on The Best Attire
People like to welcome Lord Lakshmi in their houses by dressing up well on the night of Diwali. And this is why most people get new clothes for themselves and their families. Most of them like to wear traditional, ethnic diwali dresses and boys & men go for Kurta Pyjama – traditional wear on the festival.
Girls and women too choose ethnic wear, including Salwar suits, long skirts, sarees and other apparel. Traditional and beautiful dresses are an integral part of Diwali. And kids are especially excited to get new clothes at the festival.
It’s Not Diwali Without Sweets
There’s hardly any festival in the world that we can celebrate without sweets. And sweets hold a special significance on Diwali. In fact, Diwali is one of the festivals when sweet shops across the world see a lot of customers. Diwali sweets are used as Prasada on Diwali and they are also offered as gifts to others.
A special sweet known as soan papdi is perhaps the most widely gifted product during the festival. However, other sweets too have their significance and some people make homemade sweets as well.
Time To Have a Blast
Firecrackers light up the Diwali night and intend to bring festivities and lights to the surroundings. Kids and many adults take keen interest in bursting crackers during Diwali and there are lots of different kinds of firecrackers available.
However, with the increased awareness about air pollution caused by these firecrackers and the urge to celebrate a peaceful Diwali, keeping the animals and senior citizens in mind, people have given up burning crackers.
Hallelujah, Time to Unwrap the Present:
There is a tradition of exchanging gifts as well on Diwali. And this is believed to strengthen the relationship between people. These gifts include sweetmeats, Diwali-special eatables, home decorations and other useful products. And do not be surprised if you get something back that you gave as a gift to someone on the last Diwali. Lol.
The Five-Day Diwali Festival
Diwali is not a single festival. In fact, it is a collection of five festivals together on consecutive days. Here is a brief description of all these festivals that take place:
Dhanteras: The Day of Metals and Shopping
Dhanteras is a combination of two words – Dhan, which means wealth and Teras, which means the 13th day on the Lunar Calendar. So Dhanteras 2022 is the first festival before Diwali. And people believe that Lord Dhanvantari – the Hindu God of all Medicines and Health.
He is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and he emerged out of Samudra Manthan on the same day with a vessel full of elixir.
Dhanteras is a festival of shopping and people believe that metals bought on this day bring good luck to the home. People like to buy Gold and Silver ornaments and many of them buy steel utensils as well. Besides, many people also buy vehicles and other metallic products on this day because it’s an auspicious day to buy any kind of product.
Narak Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali: The Cleaning Rituals
The next day after Dhanteras is celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi, also known as Narak Chaudas or Chhoti Diwali. This is also a combination of 2 words: Narak – which means Hell and Chaturdashi – which means the 14th Day.
Narak Chaturdashi is the day when they clean the home and on this day, people worship Yamraaj – The Lord of Death in Hindu mythology. People clean their homes and light a few diyas inside and outside their homes to state that they finished cleaning the house. Yamraaj is also the ruler of Narak or Hell. And they believe that worshipping him on the day saves human beings from untimely death.
Diwali: The Day Itself
Here comes the festival that people wait for an entire year. Although we celebrate Diwali at night, the preparations for Diwali begin right in the morning. People prepare sweets and buy all sorts of stuff which are available specifically during the festival. They buy different varieties of diyas which we light using oil and cotton. People also decorate their homes with candles and colourful bulbs to light up the entire space.
And everyone waits for the evening when they light up the diyas and keep them at every corner of the home. At night, they perform the Diwali rituals and prayers in front of the newly bought idols of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesh. People perform the prayers in new dresses and every community has its own way of offering Diwali prayers. People also worship gold and silver products during their normal prayer sessions.
And after the prayers are over, it’s time to burn firecrackers and spread happiness. Kids and even adults love burning different types of crackers and the celebrations continue till late at night.
They prepare special eatables and food products for dinner. And it’s a kind of feast that is worth waiting an entire year. With this feast, they put the celebrations of Diwali to hold until the next day.
Govardhan Puja: Time to Be Religious
The next day after Diwali is celebrated as Govardhan Puja and on this day, people worship the Govardhan Mountain which Lord Krishna used to save the people of his village Gokul from the fury of the Rain God – Lord Indra.
According to mythology, Lord Indra was angry because Lord Krishna asked the people of Gokul to stop worshipping Lord Indra.
In his fury, Lord Indra commanded the dark clouds to submerge the entire village of Gokul in water so that no life is left in the village. However, Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger and saved the entire village from the rain. Later, Lord Indra realized his mistake and asked for forgiveness.
From that day, we celebrate the day after Diwali as Govardhan Puja. And people bring cow dung to their homes for special worship. Many communities do not touch their pens on this day because they believe that Lord Chitragupta put his pen down on the day as a protest.
Bhai Dooj: Let’s Worship the Relationships
The second day after Diwali is celebrated as Bhai Dooj and this is another important festival on the list. Bhai Dooj is similar to Raksha Bandhan, where sisters put Tilak on the forehead of their brothers. And brothers pledge to defend their sisters against all odds. The only difference is the Rakhi, which they tie on Raksha Bandhan only.
And Bhai Dooj marks the end of the five-day festival of Diwali. These 5 days are filled with immense festivities, celebrations, gifts, food and decorations. Diwali is a festival that also marks the transition in season from summer to winter. While this season brings a lot of exhilaration for people, it also indicates that the cold winter is very near and we need to be prepared for it.
How Not to Celebrate Diwali
Isn’t it surprising that most people inform us about the ways to celebrate Diwali and hardly anyone informs us about how not to celebrate Diwali? Well, you could be one of the richest people on this earth but celebrating Diwali in an unethical manner is something that you should avoid.
People like to gamble on Diwali and this involves money and alcohol as well. This is something wrong because while you worship Goddess Laxmi and get the Prashad, you should not consume alcohol because it’s a kind of insult. Besides, gambling on such an auspicious day is also quite wrong, although some people consider it a ritual on the day.
Diwali is a festival that brings a lot of positivity and happiness and such wrong habits can definitely spoil the fun of the festival. It is one of the days when children wish to be with their parents and spend quality time. But if parents indulge in practices that are culturally wrong, it also puts a negative effect on the mind of the children.
So Diwali is a festival that intends to relieve people from their daily chores and light up their mood while they light the diyas and the candles. Wishing you a very happy Diwali on this beautiful five-day festival and we wish that this Diwali fulfills all your wishes at the earliest.