Festivals of India - Diwali

Diwali the festival of lights is celebrated in India for 5 days. It is a celebration with firecrackers, sweets, get-together and illumination of lights. It is celebrated in different regions of India in different ways. For some it marks the start of a new year.

As per mythology, it is the celebration of Lord Rama returning to Ayodhya after the war with Ravan in Lanka. It signifies the triumph of good over evil. Diwali literally means a row of lights.

Each of the 5 days of Diwali has a name and significance.

First Day - Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi

Dhan means wealth. So this day Goddess Lakshmi who is the Goddess of wealth is worshiped. It is considered as an auspicious day to buy gold, silver or new utensils.
A puja of pot filled with water is done. The same water is used on the second day for bath by all in the family.

This day is also known for Yamadeepadan. King Himas son was destined to die this day. However God Yama (God of death) was impressed by his wifes devotion. So he returned without taking the Princes' life.

Lamps are lit this day in the name of ancestors and are floated in the pond. Lamps are also lit at the entrance of each house. Offerings comprising of water, jaggery, rice and flowers are kept for Lord Yama.

Second Day - Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi
This day being small Diwali, few lamps are lit and few crackers are bursted compared to the third day. It also signifies the end of demon Narakasura. Before sunrise, people do aarti and take oil bath.

Third Day - Lakshmi Poojan
This is the most important day of Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in the evening with lots of lamps lit in and outside the house. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi visits houses brightly lit on this day.
- How to perform Lakshmi Pooja

Fourth Day - New Year or Bali Pratipada
This day marks the beginning of new year for most in North of India. In the south it is celebrated as Bali Pratipada. It is believed that on this day demon King Bali descends to earth to visit his subjects.

Fifth Day - Bhaubeej or Bhaidooj or Bhai Phota
This day is dedicated to celebrate the sacred bond between a brother and sister. Sisters do aarti to brothers and special lunch is prepared for the brother. The brother has to give a gift to the sister.

Lets all celebrate the triumph of good over evil and spread happiness on all five days!

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