Some Interesting Facts about our Brightest Festival, DIWALI, also known as the festival of light:
There are five days of Diwali, each day is special and unique and has its own relevance.
DHANTERAS: The first day is called Dhanteras as ‘Dhan’ means wealth and ‘teras’, the thirteenth day of the Hindu month. As per the ancient medicine science also called Ayurveda, it is the birthday of the Lord Dhanwantari, the God who grants immortality. On this auspicious day people pray for lots of money and success. We worship, Lord dhanwantari , as a symbol of good health. We buy new utensils or metal objects as auspicious items to ward off evil and ill health for the rest of the year and bring peace and prosperity.
Naraka Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali: This is the second day of Diwali. The legend goes that on this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from his terror.
Actual Diwali: The third day is considered actual Diwali! It is on this day that Lord Ram, Lord Vishnu’s seventh incarnation, returned to his city Ayodhya with his wife Sita, after destroying the Lankan ruler, Ravan. Lord Ram had been exiled for fourteen years and the people of Ayodhya welcomed him with lights and flowers. It is also an important day because this is the only day of the year, when Goddess Lakshmi comes down to earth. We perform Lakshmi Puja on Diwali, for wealth and prosperity. For this auspicious day, we clean our homes, decorate it with flowers and diyas, buy new clothes, purchase gifts for our near and dear ones with love, markets are lit up and are full of festivities! On the day of Diwali, after Lakshmi Puja, Children with their family and pals burst crackers celebrating the victory of good over evil. Diwali dispels the darkness of evil with the brightness of lights! So on all the five days of Diwali, homes glitter with electric light bulbs and beautiful diyas and candles. Children these days are aware and realize that bursting crackers is not the best way to celebrate Diwali as it causes pollution and child labor is used to make patakas in factories. That is why the campaign against crackers is speeding up and currently most children say, “No to firecrackers!”
The day after Diwali is called Annakoot: On this day, Govardhan mountain or the mountain of food is worshiped. According to a tale, when Lord Krishna was a young boy, he asked the people of Gokul to worship Govardhan mountain instead of the rain God, Indra. When everyone shifted their focus of prayers from Lord Indra to Govardhan, Indra flew into a rage. Indra with his mighty spell, sent a deluge of rain and storm for seven days to drown Gokul. Krishna saved Gokul by lifting and holding the Govardhan mountain over the people like an umbrella! He lifted the mountain on his little finger so that the people and cattle could come beneath it to seek refuge from the rains. Govardhan provided them with food and water for these seven days. Thus, the day after Diwali is celebrated as Govardhan Puja. Workers celebrate this day as Vishwakarma Puja and worship their tools and machinery.
The Fifth and final day of Diwali festival is Bhai Dooj: This day is observed as a symbol of love between sisters and brothers. It is believed that on this day, Yamraj, the God of death, visited his sister river Yamuna and she put ‘tilak’ on his forehead. Tilak is a holy dot put on the forehead with flower petals, milk, saffron, turmeric and vermilion. On this day, sisters apply tika on their brother’s forehead and get gifts and blessings in return.
Diwali is an immensely important festival for the people of India. It is eagerly awaited by both young and old as it is the time to celebrate with family and friends with love, feasts, gifts, light and devotion.