DIWALI - the festival of lights!
Diwali is one of the most enchanting festival of India. The Festival of Diwali is celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm throughout the country. India looks resplendent on Diwali day as all streets and houses light up with traditional Diwali Diyas, candles and strands of small electric bulbs to mark the Festival of Light. Diwali Festival is supposed to lead us to the light of knowledge from the darkness of ignorance.
Diwali, the words comes from Sanskrit ‘Deepawali', meaning ‘rows of lights' is celebrated on the Amavasya or the no moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik (October - November). The festival of Diwali falls 20 days after the famous festival of Dussehra. Diwali is celebrated as a five-day-long festival and there are set rituals for each of the five days. Diwali Festival marks the coronation of Lord Ram as the King of Ayodhya on his return to the kingdom with wife Sita and brother Laxman after 14 long years of exile and slaying of Ravana - the demon King of Lanka. As the Hindus hold Lord Ram in high esteem, the festival of Diwali is celebrated with joy and charm that is unmatched in celebration with any other festival.
On the day of Diwali, people spruce up their houses to welcome Goddess Lakshmi - the Hindu mythological Goddess of Wealth. People believe that Goddess Lakshmi visits only clean houses on Diwali. Womenfolk engage themselves in preparing festival special dishes like laddoos, mathri, dahi bade etc. People also visit friends and relatives during the day to greet each other the best of Diwali. They also exchange Diwali Gifts which usually is a box of sweets, a packet of dry fruit, a decorative item or other household goods. It is believe that exchange of gifts on Diwali Day helps to strengthen relationships.
In the evening earthen diyas, candles and layers of electric bulbs are lighted by people to mark the festival. People wear bright new clothes and women adorn themselves with heavy jewelry. All members of the family gather in the worship room to perform the traditional Lakshmi Puja on the occasion of Diwali. People pray for prosperity and happiness in the coming year. This is because Diwali marks the beginning of New Year especially by the Hindu business community. Businessmen start new account books on the auspicious day of Diwali.
A sumptuous family dinner follows the Puja and thereafter, it is time to burn crackers. Everybody gathers in the open area outside the house and indulge in a show of fire works Sky looks brilliant with the dazzling sparkle of crackers. Children enjoy playing with small crackers like phuljhari, anaar (flowerpot) and chakris. Some people also follow the tradition of playing cards and gambling on the day of Diwali.