Deepavali is the five days Hindu festival of lights
Diwali or Deepavali is the autumn festival of lights celebrated by Hindus across India and worldwide. It is easily the biggest and brightest Hindu festival and also the most widely observed, with festivities spanning five days and nights. The symbolic significance of Deepavali festival is the triumph of light over darkness, the forces of good over evil and Jnana (knowledge) over ignorance.
Diwali starts with Dhanteras and culminates in Bhaiya Dooj. The precise day is determined according to the Hindu calendar; the main night of Diwali festival falls on Amavasya, the new moon night of Kartika month.
In 2016, Diwali festival starts from October 27 and ends on November 1. Dhanteras will be celebrated on October 28 and Narak Chaturdasi will be observed on October 29. The main day of Diwali will fall on October 30. This day is earmarked for Lakshmi Puja, Diwali Snan, Diwali Puja or Deepawali Devpuja, Kedar Gauri Vrat, Chopda Puja and Sharda Puja. Festivities in 2016 will conclude with Bhaiya Dooj on November 1.
Quote: "Awaken Your Inner Self, Drive off Ignorance and Celebrate the Victory of Good over Evil"
How to Celebrate Diwali
A month before Diwali festival, people get busy in cleaning, painting and decorating their homes and offices. It is believed that all living spaces should be energised for Diwali night when Goddess Lakshmi will step into our lives. There is a shopping frenzy as people visit stores and shopping malls to make use of Diwali promotional sales and offers. In the house, kitchens are filled with activity as several Diwali sweets and delicacies such as karanji, laddu, barfi, sankarpali and nimkis are prepared. On Diwali evening, people dress up in their best clothes and light diyas and candles and along with their family around the house. When it is time for Diwali puja, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, Mahalakshmi is worshipped with silver coins, panchamrit and offerings of Diwali sweets. After the puja, people distribute Diwali mithais to their neighbours, family and friends. Youngsters and children move outdoors for lighting up the fireworks and enjoying the spectacle of lights and sound. Diwali night is the time when the whole country is in carnival mood, with people lighting up their houses welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. According to popular belief, crackers are lighted on this festival to scare off evil forces.
The Best Time for Lakshmi Puja
Pradosh Kaal Muhurat
Lakshmi Puja Muhurta - 18:26 to 20:09 on October 30, 2016
Duration - 1 Hour 42 Minutes
Pradosh Kaal - 17:33 to 20:09
Vrishabha Kaal - 18:27 to 20:22
Amavasya Tithi Begins - 20:40 on 29th October
Amavasya Tithi Ends - 23:08 on 30th October
Why We Celebrate Diwali
The spiritual significance of Diwali festival is to make people aware of their Inner Self. In Hindu philosophy, beyond the body and mind of a human being there is an actual persona which is real, unlimited and everlasting, called the Atman. Diwali festival celebrates the triumph of positive tendencies over negative tendencies within man and is held to wipe out darkness or the ignorance in people. While the legends of Diwali may differ, the main aim of Deepawali festival is to awaken our Inner Soul.
Deepawali Celebration across India
The festival of Diwali is celebrated with much pomp and delight not only by Hindus but also by people of other religions such as Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Buddhists celebrate Diwali as the day Emperor Ashoka embraced Buddhism; Jains celebrate Diwali as the day Lord Mahavira attained nirvana and Sikhs celebrate the day as their Sixth Guru Hargobind Ji was freed from a prison on this day. Diwali is celebrated across all regions of India with small changes such as in the state of West Bengal Goddess Kali is worshipped instead of Goddess Laxmi. In many parts of India, Lord Krishna is worshipped and honoured during Diwali.
Legends associated with Diwali
Shri Rama Returns to Ayodhyaa
The biggest and most popular legend relating to Diwali is about the prince of Ayodhyaa, Lord Shri Rama (the seventh incarnation of Vishnu). It marks the victory of Rama over the King of Lanka, Ravana after he kidnapped Rama’s wife Sita. Rama defeated the demon king with the help of His Vanara Sena (army of monkeys). On His return to Ayodhyaa, the citizens welcomed him by decorating the city and their homes by lighting diyas all around.
Manifestation of Goddess Mahalakshmi
The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day (Amavasyaa) of the Hindi month of Kartika. She appeared during the legendary Samundra Manthan(churning of the milky ocean by devas and asuras). She is worshipped on the day of Diwali for wealth and prosperity.
Shree Krishna’s defeat of Narakasur
Bhumi Devi’s son the demon Narakasur had defeated Indra, the King of Gods and imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of Gods and saints in addition to seizing the earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi. When the gods could take it no more, Indra pleaded with Lord Krishna. So enraged was Krishna that he immediately decided to go to battle. Taking his wife Satyabhama with him, Lord Krishna challenged Naraka to battle and defeated him easily.
The return of Pandavas
According to Hindu scriptures, the five Pandava brothers returned to their kingdom Hastinapur after spending thirteen years in exile on the day of Karthika Amavasyaa. The people of their kingdom lighted earthen lamps all over in their city to welcome their beloved princes.
King Vikramaditya’s coronation
On this day people celebrated the coronation of the greatest Hindu king Vikramaditya by lighting tiny earthen lamps.
What to do on Diwali Festival
Day 1 (26th October 2016, Wednesday)
Govatsa Dwadashi – On this day, people worship cows and calves. These animals and bathed, and decorated and are fed wheat products after ‘Go pujan.’ People who observe Govatsa Dwadashi do not eat any wheat and milk products on that day. The practice is also called the Nandini Vrat, invoking the divine cow Nandini in Hindu tradition. In the state of Maharastra, this day is also called Vasy Baras.
Day 2 (27th October, 2016, Thursday)
Dwadashi – This day is for preparing your home for the big upcoming festival. The tradition is lighting the lamps in the evening starts around this time.
Day 3 (28 October, 2016, Friday)
Dhanteras - According to tradition, Dhanteras is the auspicious time for making new purchases, especially precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. Women buy jewellery and even utensils on the day. Dhanteras is spent primarily in completing the shopping for Diwali. People also perform Lakshmi Puja for three days, starting with Dhanteras Puja. On this day, every member of the family takes a bath after applying fragrant oils and herbs on the body. Idols of Goddess Lakshmi are washed or repainted for three days of worship. On this day Indian businessmen start their financial year. God Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Shree Vishnu appeared from the ocean of milk with nectar or Amrit for the betterment of mankind. People also pray to Dhanvantari for good health.
Day 4 (29th October 2016, Saturday)
Naraka Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas - The day that celebrated the death of the demon Narakasur is also called Choti Diwali. It is the occasion for cleansing one’s body of all impurities after an oil bath. Food and sweets are prepared and people prepare to celebrate the main Diwali festival.
Day 5 (30th October 2016, Sunday)
Diwali/Lakshmi Pujan - This is the main day of Diwali and Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity and success is worshipped. She is invoked on this day to shower Her blessings on us.
Day 6 (31th October 2016, Monday)
Bestu Baras / Bali Padyami / Govardhan Pooja and Vishwakarma Day / Annakut - Lord Vishnu defeated Bali on this day. It is said that King Bali returns to Earth on this day to light diyas and ward off darkness from our lives. Most businesses are closed on this day as people worship their tools and machinery.
Day 7 (1st November 2016, Tuesday)
Bhau Beej / Bhai Teeka (Tilak) / Bhai Dooj / Bhai Fota – This is dedicated to the celebration of the brother-sister relationship. Sisters apply tilak on the brother’s forehead and pray for them, while the brothers pledge to look after their welfare. According to Hindu belief, Yama, the Lord of Death visited his sister on this day. He gave her a boon that if someone pays their sister a visit on this day, he shall be freed from all sins and shall attain liberation or Moksha.
Diwali Puja Vidhi
Diwali Puja is conducted at the appropriate mahurat, while taking into account the pradosh time and amavasya tithi. A comprehensive Diwali Puja involves the following steps. First you have to perform the Atma shodhan, or self-purification. Then, taking the water in your fist, you make a sankalpa, which is solemn promise to perform the Diwali Puja rituals. You can now recite the shanti path mantra for peace, prosperity in your life. Next, the Mangal path is recited for wish fulfilment of the family. Take a coconut tied with a red cloth and secred thread and establish it in a copper or earthern pot for the Kalash sthapana. This is followed by Ganpati puja, to invoke the blessings of Lord Ganesha. The nav graha puja is conducted after this, to propitiate all the nine planets. After this, the worship of Goddess Lakshmi is commenced as per the Lakshmi Puja mahurat. After Lakshmi Pujan is over, the lamp is kept lit throughout the night. People read the Lakshmi Sukta and other Stutis of Goddess Lakshmi. Some people remain awake all night in order to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their house.
Diwali 2016: Trends in worship
In recent times, new trends have emerged in Diwali celebrations as people have become more scientific and conscious about preserving the environment. The use of earthern lamps or Diwali diyas has become more popular. In comparison with candles, diyas can be recycled multiple times and are made from earth, which is eco-friendly. Also, people are opting to make their Rangoli using rice flour, natural dyes and flowers instead of using chemical colours bought from the market.
In addition to worship of Goddess Lakshmi’s idol, some households have started worship of Mahalakshmi Yantra, which is an auspicious yantra for attaining the blessings of Goddess Laxmi. This Yantra is capable of attracting wealth and prosperity into life. On Diwali day, Mahalakshmi Yantra is placed in the cash box, cupboard, purse or in temple of the house for bringing success and wealth.
Why Puja from Rudra Centre?
If you don’t find time for Diwali Puja at home or you do not know the Diwali Puja vidhi, you can order a Diwali Puja online. Rudra Centre’s priests are certified Brahmins from Gurukul and perform pujas following Vedic rituals based on birth details and Nakshatras or Birth Star. The Puja Prasad along with energized Yantra, Rudraksha and photographs is couriered to the devotees within 5 to 7 days after the completion of the Puja. Your birth details (name, date, time and place) are required while ordering the Puja. Rudra Centre will provide the contact number of the Head priest, to enable calling during the Sankalpa / Yagna. We also provide Online Puja Prasad service from different Hindu temples.