Diwali or Deepavali, the festival finds its mention in ancient Sanskrit texts like Padma Purana and Skanda Purana and is celebrated after the harvest season. The word has been derived from the Sanskrit fusion word ‘Deepavali’ where ‘Deep’ stands for ‘Light’ and ‘Avali’ means ‘series’.
According to the Sanskrit scriptures like Padma Purana and the Skanda Purana, the diyas (lamps) symbolically represent parts of the sun. The night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon of the Hindu Lunar solar month. According to the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.
The first day of the Diwali celebrations, which lasts five days, is known as Dhanteras. Purchasing jewellery (gold or silver) on this day is considered auspicious in India.
Narak Chaturdasi, the 14th lunar day, is the name given to the second day of Diwali. To ward off evil, homes light 14 diyas. Diwali is truly celebrated with family on the third day, when 21 diyas are lit. On the fourth day, people perform Govardhan pooja in honour of Lord Krishna, who, according to myth, lifted Govardhan Hill to protect the people of Vrindavan from heavy rain. On the fifth day, the celebration concludes with Bhai Dooj.
Diwali is associated with a rich culture in India, and there are some rituals you should be aware of.
Women in traditional families go shopping long before Diwali. It is customary to put on new clothes on each day of celebration. It expresses reverence and excitement for the occasion. Men wear traditional kurtas and, on occasion, dhotis, but it is the women who steal the show! It’s that time of year when women love to flaunt their new wardrobe.
2. Purchasing precious metals
We are all aware that it is essential to purchase gold or precious metal on Dhanteras and offer it to Lord Kuber, the god of wealth. It is continued to believe that if you offer gold or precious metal to Lord Kuber on Dhanteras, your family and home will begin to accumulate wealth, gold, and other assets from that day forward. Even if you only offer a small nose pin, it is the effort that counts. If you cannot afford gold, you can buy a small silver utensil and offer prasad to Lord Kuber. And your home will be filled with joy, wealth, and good fortune.
During the five days of festivities, people decorate their homes with rangoli, a colourful work of art made with rice powder. Rangoli powder is available in a variety of colours, and beautiful designs adorn the porch of one’s home. It’s yet another way to get into the holiday spirit.
4. Chaumukhi Diya Lighting, Ganesh-Laxmi Puja
Have you seen the four-cornered diya? Those diyas require four wicks and are typically available around Diwali. It is said that lighting a Chaumukhi diya removes darkness from all directions in your home and life. Every evening, the chaumukhi diya is lit from Dhanteras to BhaiDuj, especially to welcome Goddess Laxmi and happiness, prosperity, and harmony with her.
5. Making Kajal
On Diwali, kajal is also said to be applied to the vault of money, the cylinder of the house, and the doors of the house, among other things. This is due to the fact that the smoke emitted by firecrackers during Diwali is harmful to the eyes. In such a situation, the smoke from firecrackers often causes people’s eyes to turn red; therefore, on the occasion of Diwali, kajal is thought to be very useful in removing the negative effects of smoke. For these reasons, it is said that applying kajal made from lamps in the house on Diwali night is auspicious.