Diwali, popularly known as Deepavali, is one of the most significant and the most-awaited religious festivals for Hindus in India. Also known as the festival of lights, Diwali is celebrated across the world. Apart from India it is celebrated in the countries such as Nepal, Malaysia, Mauritius, etc with equal vigour and enthusiasm. It falls on the day of ‘amavasya’ or new moon. This year, the festival has been fixed for October 19. People have already begun their preparation for the festival. The entire country lights up with diyas, crackers, lanterns, lights. Around this time, people clean their houses. They also exchange gifts and sweets with loved ones and family and light up their houses with beautiful lamps and intricate rangoli designs.
History and origin of Diwali
• As per the popular mythology, Diwali is associated with Yama and Nachiketa on Karthik Amavasya or the new moon night of Diwali.
• The story is revered from ages and it is all about right versus wrong, true wealth and knowledge. This is why, people celebrate Diwali as the festival of light, which also signifies knowledge, prosperity and wisdom.
• Diwali is also a celebration in remembrance of the return of Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
• Many celebrate it as the return of Pandavas after 12 years of vanvas and a year of agyatavas.
• Since the festivities start at the end of cropping season, and a good harvest means prosperity and happiness, Diwali came to be celebrated as a harvest festival celebrating the arrival of wealth and blessings.
• In many rural areas where agriculture is the primary occupation, people still celebrate Diwali as the harvest festival.
How is Diwali celebrated?
• From the onset of the autumn, people start gearing up to celebrate the festival.
• People buy gold, silver and utensils for home, clean and furnish their houses and decorate them with colourful rangolis and bright diyas.
• People worship Lakshmi — the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, on Diwali.
• Before the night of Diwali, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices.
• People dress up in new clothes, light up lamps and candles and participate in pujas worshipping Lakshmi. After
• After puja, fireworks follow, and a family feast that includes the exchange of sweets and gifts between family members, friends and loved ones.