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The Joy of Diwali 2012

 


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Diwali is celebrated on the darkest night of Amavasya in the month of Kartik which falls in the October to November time period. It is a marked by five days of celebrations consisting of endless rituals and customs. Dhanteras falls on the first day of Diwali and most householders buy utensils or jewelry on this day as a tradition. The second day is known as Choti Diwali. This is the day of Narak-Chaturdashi—the day on which Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama vanquished Narakasura. Badi Diwali is celebrated onthe third Day of the festival and it is the most important day. Lakshmi puja is performed on this day. On the fourth day, according to legend, Bali defeated by Lord Vishnu, enteredPatalaLoka and took charge of his new role as a king. On the last day of Diwali, Bhai Dooj is celebrated as recognition of the love between brothers and sisters. This day is also referred to as Yama Dvitiya.

There is an auspicious aura in the air when Dipawali, also called Diwali, is around the corner. It is celebrated on Amavasya or no moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik which falls in the October to Novembertime period. It is a five day mega fest marked by many rituals and festivities. It is a custom to spruce up the house, buy new clothing and jewelry, gift sweets and dry fruits and exchange giftsfor Diwali. There are a lot of new products in the market and there is no dearth of products to choose from. However, instead of giving any tangible gift, it might be a great idea to give a gift card. A lot of companies also issue festival related gift vouchers these days. Itis a great time of happinesswhich is marked bythe aroma of rich food andfragrances of various chandan, agarbatti and dhoop used in the special pujas. Of course, fire-crackersplay a dominant role in Diwali celebrations as well. Without them, Diwali is not complete. Lighting up every nook and corner of the house and its surrounding areas with diyas, candles and, electric bulbs creates a propitious and bright ambience. Diwali is believed to dawn upon us the light of knowledge and save us from the darkness of ignorance.

Diwali has been celebrated for hundreds of years andis the biggest festival of Hindus all over the world. The story or myth behind Diwali differs from region to region. Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Maryada purushottam Ramto Ayodhya, aftera 14 year long exile, along with his wife and brother. His victory over Ravana is considered to be an endorsement of the belief that in the end, good always triumphs over evil. It symbolizes the transcendence of light over darkness. Lakshami puja is also very important during Diwali. Homes are cleaned and sanitized to please the ‘goddess of wealth. ’ It is at the center of Diwali celebrations. People pray and do their best to welcome Lakshmi so that she can shower prosperity and joy on them throughout the year. Hindu business community sees Diwali as the beginning of their New Year and it is traditionally thought to be a good day to start new account books. Yet, others believeDiwali to be a celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal, Diwali is celebrated by worshiping the goddess Kali, who gives strength and power to people to fight against injustice. It is also important to worship Ganesha, the elephant god, during this time. Another story related to Diwali talks about the story of Lord Vishnuand King Bali. Bali was defeated and by Vishnu and banished to hell. Nevertheless, Bali was permitted by Vishnu to come to earth once a year andspread his wisdom. According to mythical tradition, on Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali comes to earthto eliminate darkness and ignorance. Diwali is the festival of wealth, prosperity, health, knowledge and goodness. Diwali is also seen as a harvest festival and rituals offer thanks to mother-nature in order to acknowledgelife and its opulence.

The first day of Diwali is marked by Dhanteras. It is the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Kartik. On this day it is an age-old tradition to clean and paint homes and work places. Homes are decorated with delicate rangoli designs in bright colours towelcome friends and family. Most householders buy utensils or jewelry on this day as a custom. TheSecond Day of Diwali is known as Narak-Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. The day commemorates the triumph of Lord Krishna over the demon Narakasura, the demon of filth. It is on this day that mankind became free from his reign of fear. Badi Diwali falls on Amavasya, the third Dayof Diwali gaieties and is and is actually the main or most important day of celebrations. It is the day of Lakshmi puja. The doorways to all homes are lit on this night and adorned with beautiful things to greet goddess Lakshmi, the embodiment of wealth and opulence. According to myth, Lakshmi refuses to visit unkempt homes and, therefore, everyone tries to clean up and roll the welcome mat for her. Merchants perform Chopda Pujan in Gujarat on this day to have a profitable year. The fourth day, a vanquished Bali retreated to patala loka and took charge of his new role as a king. This day is devoted to the puja of Govardhan Parvat also which is thought to be a protector of people from heavy rains. On the last day, Bhai Dooj is celebrated as recognition of the love between brothers and sisters. It is also referred to as Yama Dvitiya. Therefore, Deepawali is marked by lighting of lamps, Lakshmi puja, eating of sweets, bursting of fire crackers, buying new clothes, meeting with people and so on. People give greeting cards and sweets to each other to show their sentiments. The day concludes with a grand display of fireworks.

All the rituals of Diwali have some religious or cultural significance. The lights shine and sparkle and the people thank the gods for bestowing health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity upon them. Again, the firecrackers demonstrate the joy that fills the heart of people who are full of life and hope for a wonderful year ahead! Share the mood of Diwali with great gifts and genuine affection—if you do not have time to shop for somebody, you can always buy them a gift certificate online! Happy Diwali…

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