Monday, 20 October 2014
Diwali also known as Deepavali and the "festival of lights", is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year.The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja typically to Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja (prayers), fireworks follow,then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of festive days as well as the rituals of Diwali vary significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi on second day, Diwali on the third day, Diwali Padva dedicated to wife-husband relationship on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhau-beej dedicated to sister-brother bond on the fifth day. Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra.On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, and Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas.Diwali is an official holiday in India,Diwali is celebrated on the day before and day following Amavasye (New Moon Day) as Naraka Chaturdashi (before new-moon day) resembling Satyabhama's victory over Narakasura and as Bali Padyami, the first day of Kartika masa. The entire house is cleaned and new clothes are purchased for the entire family which is followed by lighting of oil lamps around the house and bursting firecrackers. The tradition in Kannada families is that all members gather together for the three days celebration. The thirteenth day of the Krishna Paksha is celebrated as "neeru tumbo habba" when the house is cleaned, painted afresh and the vessels are washed, bedecked and filled with fresh water for the festival. The next day is Naraka Chaturdashi, considered very auspicious. In parts of North Karnataka, the women of the house perform Aarti on the men. The next day is Lakshmi mahaapooje on Amavaasye (new-moon day). On the fourth day, the house, especially the entrance, is decorated with flowers and floor decorations to invite Bali into their homes. A special entrance to the home is built, made out of cow-dung (gOmaya) and Sandalwood (siri-chandana). Both materials are revered in Kannada tradition as having divine significance. The day is of special importance to agricultural families as they celebrate Govardhan Pooja on this day. The houses are adorned with Keraka (replica of the Govardhana giri using cow dung) bejewelled with flowers and maize, ragi stalks. Fire-camps are kindled on both Naraka Chaturdashi and Bali Padyami days of Diwali. The celebration of Diwali is marked by the lighting of lamps in every courtyard and the bursting of firecrackers. Kajjaya is a special Diwali delicacy in Bangalore region. Holiges and Chakkulis are prepared in all households.