Diwali falls on the 15th day of the Kartik month, which is the new moon day also known as ‘amavasya’ in Hindi. Diwali is celebrated all over the world with great zeal and gaiety. The five-day long festival of Diwali starts in the month of October or November, when the new season starts. The day of Diwali is also considered as the start of the New Year in many regions.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains alike. The method of prayer in every religion is different but the way of celebration is the same. The most important part of Diwali celebrations is the lighting of lamps in and around the house. Lamps are treated as a symbol of hope and joy. Light drives away the darkness of the night and brings new faith in to people’s lives.
The defeat of darkness by light is celebrated by the exchange of sweets and gifts. Firecrackers are used to add more light to the festivities. Each one of the five days has a different set of rituals. Here is an overview of the rituals and traditions followed during Diwali.
The first day of Diwali is dedicated to the goddess of wealth. People clean and redecorate their houses and workplace. They buy gold and silver ornaments, worship goddess Laxmi, and pray for fortune all year-long. Some also believe in buying new utensils on this day. The common belief is that spending wealth on this day attracts more wealth.
Narakchaudas is the second day of Diwali. This day people get up early in the morning and it is customary to take a bath with a scrub made from a thick mixture of gram flour and fragrant essential oils. Chaudas means the 14th day and therefore 14 diya made from wheat flour and ghee are made and placed in every room of the house.
The third day of the Diwali festival is the most important of the five days. The celebrations begin by making rangoli motif’s on the entrances of the houses (to welcome the gods and goddess). People prepare sweets and delicacies the entire day. In the evening a Diwali prayer is performed to please goddess Laxmi and people burst firecrackers and light up their house.
The fourth day of Diwali is dedicated to work tools. Farmers worship their cattle and farming tools, businessmen their business and they pray for the gods to bless them for the remainder of the year. The fifth and the final day of the celebrations are for brothers and sisters. Brothers get gifts for their sisters and sisters prepare delicacies by their hands to feed their brothers.