Diwali and Its Related Festivals
Diwali is the biggest festival of Hindus as well as all the Indians all over the world , celebrated with great joy and happiness. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third day is celebrated as the Diwali festival 'Festival of lights'. Different varieties of fireworks are always associated with it. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their houses and Temples. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth"Laxmi". The festival of Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People present diwali gifts to all near and dear ones and also sent Greeting cards of Happy Diwali and Happy New Year.
Before The Festivals Begins:
Days before Diwali, people start cleaning up their homes,Temples, decorating their homes, preparing sweets and Farsan Dishes, Prepares Colorful Rangoli in Varandas of their home, light up their homes with colorful lights,Diyas and candles, buy new clothes & Jewelry. But in some Indian regions the rituals of Diwali starts off two days before Danteras, i.e. the first day of Diwali celebrations.
Dhanteras,the first day of Diwali Festival,It is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodasi, falls on the auspicious thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). In the word Dhanteras, "Dhan" stands for wealth. On Dhanteras Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. Hence Dhan Teras holds a lot more significance for the business community and Traders.
Story Behind Dhanteras:
A interesting story behind Dhanteras Festival says that once the sixteen year old son of King Hima. was doomed to die by a snake-bite on the fourth day of his marriage as per his horoscope. On that particular day of his marriage his young wife did not allow him to sleep. She laid all the ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and lighted innumerable lamps all over the place. And she went on telling stories and singing songs.
When Yama, the god of Death arrived there in the guise of a Serpent his eyes got blinded by that dazzle of those brilliant lights and he could not enter the Prince's Room. So he climbed on top of the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat there whole night listening to the songs. In the morning he quietly went away from there. Thus the young wife saved her husband from the Yama and clutches of death. Since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan" and lamps are kept burning throughout the night in reverential adoration to Yam.
According to another popular saga, when the gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrit or nectar, Dhanavantri (the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the Amrit on the day of Dhanteras.
Preparations Of Dhanteras
To mark the day, houses,Offices and business premises are renovated and decorated and Lightning up. Entrances are made colorful with lovely traditional Rangoli designs to welcome the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity"Laxmi". To denotes her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses or Past the stickers of footprints and Shubh Labh symbols. Lamps and diyas are kept burning all through the nights.
Traditions of Dhanteras
On that day Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or at least one or two new utensils Or new jwellary. It is believed that new "Dhan" or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck. "Laxmi-Puja" is performed in the evenings when small Diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits and buri nazar. "Bhajans" in praise of Mata Laxmi are also sung by people.
Celebrations of Dhanteras
Dhanteras is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. "Naivedha" of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedha.
Choti Diwali / Narak Chaturdasi/Kali chaudas:
The one day before Diwali is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali / Narak Chaturdasi or Kali chaudas. It is Diwali on a smaller base, with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst by people. The morning after Choti Diwali, the women of the house make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway,varandas and courtyard. Tiny Red footprints made out of rice paste are a special feature of the rangolis made for Diwali.
Story behind Chhoti Diwali:
The story goes that the demon king Narakasur ruler of Prag jyotishpur(near by UP). after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the elegant earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of the gods and saints in his harem.
On coming to know about this, Satyabhama Krishna's wife was enraged by Narakasura's malviolence towards women, and she appealed to Krishna to give her the golden chance to destroy Narakasura the evil. The legend also says that Narakasura was given a curse that he would be killed by a woman not by man. Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to fight with Narakasura. With Krishna as the charioteer. During the war, Krishna swooned for a while, a preordained divinely act adopted to empower Satyabhama to kill the demon. After Narakasura was beheaded, the imprisoned women were released, and Krishna accepted to marry all of them.
So on the day previous to Narakachaturdashi, Lord Krishna's divine arbitration led to the killing of the evil, Narakasura and liberation of the imprisoned damsels as well as recovery of the precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king's blood. Krishna returned home in the very early morning of the Narakachaturdashi day.
Lakshmi Puja on Diwali
Lakshmi Puja is a combined puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every puja or shubh kam as Vighnaharta; Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms or roops - Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth), Mahasaraswati (the goddess of learning), and Mahakali; Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped.
Padwa & Govardhan Puja or New Year Day:
People Wish each other Happy New Year.And went to temples for god's blessings and worship them.
Govardhan-Puja is performed in the North on this day. Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura(UP) and on this day of Diwali people of North India build cowdung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers,diyas and rangoli and then worship them. This festival is in celebration of the lifting of Mount Govardhan by Krishna. As per Puran's the people of Gokul/mathura used to celebrate a festival in honor of Lord Indra and worshiped him after the end of every monsoon season but one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul.
Celebrations Of New Year:
In several places of India their is "Annakutt"-(giving Bhog or food)to the God in Temples.People Adorn god and temples with Shrungars. "Annakutt" contains all kind of veg food,sweets and different dishes.After the god ate this food that food is distributed amongst people as prasad.People wish that whole year their houses are full like god's "Annakutt" and wealth.
On that day people met their relatives and Friends and wish them for new year. Lit diyas,candles and lights at their houses and temples. Enjoy Sweets,foods and lit colourful and different firecrackers.
Bhai Duj / Bhaiya Duj / Bhai Dooj Bhai Bij :
The fifth or the last day of diwali is Bhaiya Dooj, popularly know as Bhai Dooj or Bhai Bij. The reason why this festival is known as bhai dooj is that it falls on the second day after the new moon(bij), that is the Dooj day. And it is a day to pray for the long life of the brother, which is referred as "bhayya or bhai". According to religious story, Yamaraj, the God of death, went to visit his sister's house after a long period. His sister(Yami)was very happy to see his brother and welcomed him by putting an mark on his forehead for his welfare. Yami and Yamraj then shared a meal together. He was so pleased with his sister's reception, he said that every year, on the day, if a sister puts a tilak on her brother's forehead, then no one can harm her brother. Till date, this tradition is followed by people. Sisters perform puja for their brothers safety and well being. Brothers in return give gifts to their sisters as a token of their love.
The essence of the Bhai dooj festival is that it is celebrated to strengthen the love between brothers and sisters. It is a day of food-sharing, gift-giving and reaching out to the inner most depths of the hearts. Brothers and sisters indulge themselves on this day by gifting each other gifts. Various gifts specially made for bhai dooj is also available in the market.
Dev Diwali is celebrated on the Full moon day of month Kartik.It is last day of Diwali celebrations.At some places "Annakutt" takes places and the celebrations takes places as whole Diwali.
Regional Names of the Days of Deepavali:
Day 1: Dhanteras / Dhantheran / Dhantrayodashi / Dhanwantari Triodasi / Yamadeepdaan / Dhan Teyras-24 oct 2011
Day 2: Choti Diwali / Kali Chaudas / Narak Chaturdashi- 25 oct 2011
Day 3: Main Deepavali / Baddi Diwali / Diwali Mela / Lakshmi Puja -26 oct 2011
Day 4: Pratipat / Padwa Puja / Gudi Padwa / Govardhan Puja / Annakoot-27 oct 2011
Day 5: Dvitiya / Bhai Duj / Bhhaya Dooj / Bhai Beej-28 oct 2011
Very good post.
thank you Deepika for your comments...