Diwali or Deepavali is a festival of lights. The word ‘Deepavali’ is a Sanskrit word which means ‘rows of light’. It is a Hindu festival celebrated all over India during the autumn every year in the northern hemisphere. The festival usually falls in mid-October or mid-November. It is also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists with enthusiasm. It is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in India. In this festival, diyas are lit which are basically clay lamps to mark the victory of good over evil. Temples, houses and all other buildings are illuminated with lights of various colors. All the rituals and traditions last for five days, typically. The main event occurs on the third day. Dhanteras marks the start of the festival. The second day is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali. The fourth day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja. The last and the fifth day Bhai Dooj is celebrated.
In order to prepare for the festival, houses and offices are cleaned and renovated. Everyone adorn themselves in new clothes and light diyas and candles all around their houses and worship Goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi. Crackers of different types are burnt with great enthusiasm and feasts are arranges where sweets are eaten and gifts are shared. Diwali is widely celebrated among Hindus in Nepal and other foreign countries like Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore etc.
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Diwali is celebrated in honor of Lord Ram Chandra who is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He fought and won a battle against the king of demons, Ravana during the time he was in exile. It is believed that he returned to his hometown after staying in exile for 14 years. It is believed that Diwali falls on the birthday of Goddess Lakshmi and the day she married Lord Vishnu. It is a very famous belief that she roams on Earth on this day and enters the house which looks clean and tidy and that is why houses are cleaned very thoroughly. In Southern India, Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over Asura Naraka who was a powerful king of Assam. He had imprisoned a huge number of inhabitants. It was Krishna who could defeat him. The reason for celebration may vary in different groups of communities but the spiritual meaning and significance remains the same that is ‘awareness of inner light’. Diwali is also known to mark the start of a new financial year in the business communities. [Learn more about: Why Do We Celebrate Diwali?]
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