Diwali or Deepawali is a festival of lights celebrated in India. It commemorates the day King Rama returned to Ayodhya, after spending 14 years in exile and killing Ravana. Diwali is celebrated as a three day festival, with each day having its own religious and spiritual significance. The celebration starts with Dhanteras, followed by Naraka Chaturdashi and finally Deepawali. The Essay on Deepawali festival significance of all the three days is briefed below-
Day 1 – Dhanteras
Dhanteras marks the first day of Deepawali celebration and is also known as Dhantrayodashi in Maharashtra.
Dhanteras is celebrated in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik, which is the seventh month. It falls on the 13th Lunar Day of Dark Fort Night (Krishna Paksha).
The day venerates, Dhanvantri, the Hindu God of Medicine and Ayurveda. He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and helps humankind in getting rid of suffering and diseases.
Do you know that Dhanteras is also observed as “National Ayurveda Day”. The day was proclaimed by Indian Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy, on 28th October 2016.
Dhanteras begin with Vasubaras – Vasu means cow and Baras means the twelfth day. That is, the twelfth day (Diwali is celebrated on the 15th day) of Krishna Paksha when, cows and calves are venerated.
Cows are revered in India and Hindus consider them sacred. They provide us with necessary life supporting supplements like milk, butter ghee, curd and others.
Vasubaras is followed by Dhanteras, which venerated Lord Dhanvantri. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Dhanvantri had emerged during the samudra manthan, holding the amrit kalash in one hand and sacred Ayurveda text in another.
The day is considered highly auspicious by Hindus for buying gold, silver or other valuables. They consider it as a good omen and harbinger of prosperity and good health.
Day 2 – Naraka Chaturdashi
Naraka Chaturdashi is popular by other names as well – Bhoot Chaturdashi, Choti Diwali and Kali Chaudas.
As the name suggests, it falls on the Chaturdashi (14th Day) of the Krishna Paksha in Vikram Samvat Hindi calendar month of Ashwin.
The festival commemorates the day when the demon Narkasura was killed by Krishna, Satyabhama and Goddess Kali.
It is celebrated with the spirit to remove darkness and evil from our lives and welcome new light of auspiciousness and happiness.
The custom of making delicacies from poha (pounded semi cooked rice) on Kali Chaudas or Naraka Chaturdashi suggests that Deepawali is a hervest festival.
The most common ritual followed by every household on Naraka Chaturdashi is to drive away of evil spirits from the house by beating winnowing fan in every room and corner, while one family member holds a lighted earthen lamp throughout the whole process.
This ritual is performed in the early morning hours and the beating continues till the exit gate of the house and the lamp is kept at an isolated location out of the house. Once it is completed, you have to return to the house, without ever looking to the lamp.
Day 3 – Deepawali
This is the main Deepawali celebrated on the 15th Day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin. According to the Hindu mythology it is the day when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravana and spending 14 years in exile with Sita and Lakshamna.
People of Ayodhya on that time welcomed their beloved prince in pretty much the same way as we do it now – by lighting up every inch of house with beautiful diyas. The crackers are only a modern addition to the festival which mainly commemorates the return of goodness.
Celebrated exactly 20 days after Dussehra, it denotes that 20 days was the time taken by Lord Rama to reach the kingdom of Ayodhya from Sri Lanka after killing Ravana. If the legend is true then Rama travelled (along with Sita and Lakshman) to a distance of approximately 3500 Km in just 20 days!
How Rama was able to accomplish this arduous and colossal feat, we will discuss in my another article – “How did Rama returned to Ayodhya from Lanka in just 20 days?”. As for now we will stick to the festival only.
Commemorating the return of Rama, Diwali is the festival of immense joy and pleasure. People adorn new clothes and decorate their houses with lights and earthen lamps.
Worship of Goddess Lakshmi is a must on Diwali and it is auspiciously performed in the evening. Rangolis are made with coloured flours and rice, on the entrance of the house.
Children love crackers and fireworks; therefore; the sounds of different types of crackers could he heard well past mid night.
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