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» Informational Articles » Festivals » Diwali / Deepawali 2021

When is Diwali in 2021?

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, starts with dwadashi on Thursday, November 4, 2021 and concludes on Saturday, November 6, 2021, with Bhau Beej. It is the fall festival of lights cherished by Hindus all over the world. Diwali begins with Dhanteras and ends with Bhaiya Dooj. The exact day of Diwali 2021 date is determined according to the Hindu calendar; the main night of Diwali festival falls on Amavasya, the new moon night of Kartika month. It is the biggest and brightest Hindu festival celebrated by over a billion people from different regions throughout India and around the world, 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.

 

What is Diwali Festival?

Diwali is popularly known as the festival of lights. Its name derives from the Sanskrit term Deepavali. What is Deepavali? It means ‘deep’ (lamp) and ‘vali’ (row) which literally means "row of lights", and is famous for the glittering clay lamps in rows that are placed in front of the houses. The festival is celebrated with pyrotechnics like stunning fireworks and firecrackers and the decorating of floors with rangoli patterns, as well as other areas of the home with jhalars.

Families gather for feasts and share mithai, making food the central focus. Diwali serves as an annual homecoming and bonding occasion not just for families, but also for communities and organizations, especially those in metropolitan areas, who organize activities, events, and parties. Many places have parades and fairs with parades or music and dance performances in parks. All this happens on Diwali days, along with Diwali puja as well.

Diwali also marks the commencement of a new year in western states such as Gujarat and certain northern places in India. Rituals and preparations for Diwali begin weeks in advance, most commonly after Dussehra festival, which occurs approximately 20 days before Diwali. Because the Hindu religious calendar is a lunar calendar, and the Gregorian calendar used by most governing administrations is a solar calendar, the festival is observed on different days each year.

Why is Diwali celebrated?

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. Hence, people of all ages light diyas outside their houses to represent the inner light that keeps us safe from spiritual darkness. This is what does Diwali mean regardless the way it is celebrated.

 

Significance of Diwali’s traditional Rites

Diwali Lights: The lights of Diwali represent also the spread of knowledge.
Diwali Puja: When the actual knowledge (wisdom) dawns, it causes us to rejoice, and in our joy, we may lose concentration or awareness. The ancient rishis were aware of this, therefore to preserve awareness in the middle of the revelry, they added sanctity and puja to every festival, being Diwali Puja the biggest of the year by number of followers and consequently, a truly great collective call to the Gods happens every year on Diwali.

Diwali Firecrackers: When there is an explosion on the outside, there is an explosion on the inside that kills our inner demons too, and keep evil forces at bay. This is the significance of the popular use of firecrackers mainly among the youth on Diwali. They bring clarity of mind and lights our soul with joy, enlightening our path.

Diwali Sweets are distributed and gifts are exchanged. Sweets help to alleviate any bitterness and are indicative of rekindled friendships and relationships.

 

Story & History of Diwali festival

Diwali originated as a harvest celebration to commemorate the final harvest before winter. As they closed their accounting books and hoped for prosperity in the new fiscal year, individuals in India sought the heavenly blessings of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Today, companies across the Indian subcontinent continue to observe the fourth day of Diwali as the first day of the new fiscal year.

The ancient Indian festival of Diwali, which is celebrated with dazzling lights and a holy significance, is an essential element of Indian civilization, and its history is intricately interwoven with the beginnings and development of Hindu religion. The traces and references to the history of Diwali may be found in a variety of intriguing and fascinating tales of Hindu mythology, which are supported by many ancient holy texts, such as the Puranas, that tell the narrative of the festival.

Some of the earliest Sanskrit texts on the subject date from about 500 BCE, such as the Padma Purana and the Skanda Purana. The latter mentions diyas (lamps) as representing components of the sun, portraying it as the cosmic source of light and energy to all life, which periodically changes in the Hindu month of Kartik.

Sanskrit inscriptions in stone and copper referencing Diwali, often with words like Dipotsava, Dipavali, Divali, and Divalige, have been found at a number of locations throughout India. A 10th century Rashtrakuta empire copper bowl inscription of Krsna III that makes reference to Dipotsava and a 12th century Sanskrit-Kannada Sinda inscription found at the Isvara temple of Dharwad in Karnataka that refers to the festival as a "holy event" are two examples.

In the Ranganatha temple Sanskrit inscription of the 13th century Kerala Hindu monarch Ravivarman Samgramadhira, this event is referred to as Dipotsavam. "The auspicious festival of lights which disperses the most profound darkness, which in former days was celebrated by the kings”.

Diwali is a post-harvest celebration in India that celebrates the abundance that follows the advent of the monsoon. And, above all the stories and legends about it, is a deep-rooted custom to pray to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha together during the main celebrations. Lakshmi being of the Vaishnavite tradition and Ganesha of the Shaivite tradition of Hinduism. Depending on the region, celebrations may also involve prayers to one or more other Hindu deities as well, as to Goddess Kali in Eastern India or to Lord Krishna in Southern India with their respective stories and legends too.

More about Diwali's plentiful and diverse stories and legends below.

 

What Religions Celebrates Diwali?

Diwali is a holiday celebrated not just by Hindus but also by followers of other faiths such as Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Buddhists commemorate Diwali as the day Emperor Ashoka accepted Buddhism; Jains celebrate Diwali as the day Lord Mahavira achieved Nirvana; and Sikhs commemorate the day as the day their Sixth Guru Hargobind Ji was released from jail. Jains, Sikhs, Nepalese Hindus, Newar Buddhists and Muslims also celebrate it. Although each faith commemorates various historical events and tales, the festival, as mentioned above, symbolizes the same symbolic triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. This is what does diwali represent regardless the region or religion where it is celebrated.

Aside the above religions that celebrates Diwali with a long tradition, in recent years we see Diwali celebrations taking place also on western countries among followers of occidental widespread religions like Christianity and Islam. The universal meaning of Diwali as good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, transcends followers of all faiths, gathering all together for the same celebration and because Diwali is one of the happiest festivals each year.

Large Diwali celebrations are well-known held by Christians in cosmopolitan cities like London, Toronto or New York City with splendid glamour and festivity, or in Dubai, a Muslim cosmopolitan large city which holds breathtaking annual Diwali celebrations filled with laser-light shows and fantastic fireworks, music and huge festive gatherings in the streets.

The same is seen in Australian main cities like Sydney, where Christians celebrate with fireworks, food stalls, vibrantly colored sands, henna tattoo artists, free face painting for youngsters, and figures from Indian culture and mythology are among the attractions.

Today, Diwali has become the highpoint of fun and joy, and it is celebrated with tremendous zeal all over the world, transcending all cultures and faiths and across all countries notwithstanding any sort of social backgrounds.

 

How to Celebrate Diwali?

A month before Diwali festival date, people get preoccupied with cleaning, painting, and decorating their houses and workplaces. It is thought that all living areas should be energized in preparation for Diwali, when Goddess Lakshmi will enter our life. People are rushing to shops and shopping malls to take advantage of Diwali promotional discounts and incentives. Kitchens are buzzing with activity as Diwali sweets and delicacies like karanji, laddu, barfi, sankarpali, and nimkis are made.

On Diwali evening, people dress up in their finest clothing and light diyas and candles around the home with their families. When it comes to Diwali puja, the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, Mahalakshmi, is worshiped with silver coins, panchamrit, and Diwali sweet offerings.

Family gatherings, sparkling clay lamps, colorful fireworks, strings of electrical lights, bonfires, flowers, sweet sharing, and devotion to Lakshmi are all part of the festivities. Some think Lakshmi travels the Earth in search of places where she will be welcomed. To welcome Lakshmi in, people open their doors and windows and lit lights. Diwali's third day is the most significant. People may go to the temple to worship Lakshmi on this day, or they can assemble with friends and family to enjoy a banquet and ignite fireworks. Laxmi Pujan (Diwali Puja) is performed on this day.

After the puja, people distribute Diwali mithais to their neighbors, family and friends. Youngsters and children move outdoors for lighting up the firecrackers 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 Goddess Lakshmi.

 

How to Do Diwali Pooja At Home?

Diwali Vrat Vidhi is carried out at the pinnacle of the festival on the third day matching the darkest night of the lunar month.

On this day, get up and then take a bath before dawn. After showering, change into clean clothing. Clean the temple and awaken Jyoti in the name of Mahalaxmi after cleaning the entire home.

Worship Goddess Mahalakshmi and Lord Ganesha now, along with Lord Kuber. Spend the whole Diwali day after eating fruits, milk, and sattvic ingredients. Also, bear in mind that you should not engage in any aggressive behavior during Diwali.

On the day of Diwali, try chanting more and more names. Worship Goddess Mahalakshmi and Lord Ganesha during Diwali to get their blessings. After the Puja, pay your respects to Goddess Mahalaxmi and Lord Ganesha.

After a while, take that pleasure in the form of Prasad. Aside from that, make donations to any needy person or Brahmin.

 

Maha Lakshmi Mantra

Om Shreem Hreem Shreem Kamale Kamalalaye Praseed Om Shreem Hreem Shreem Mahalakshmaye Namah ||

Lord Ganesha Mantra

Aum Shrim Hrim Klim Glaum Gam Ganapataye Vara Varada Sarva Janamme Vashamanaya Swaha ||

Lord Kuber Mantra

Om Yakshaya Kuberaya Vaishravanaya Dhana Dhanyadi Pataye, Dhana Dhanyadi Samruddhim Me Dehi Dapaya, Swaha ||

 

DIWALI PUJA VIDHI

Diwali Poojan 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 sacred 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 Puja Services 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 Varanasi Gurukul System and perform pujas following Vedic rituals based on birth details and Nakshatras or Birth Star. The Puja Prasad along with an 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 offer Online Puja Prasad service from different Hindu temples.

 

What to do during Diwali festival?

Day 1 (November 1, 2021, Monday)

Govatsa Dwadashi – People worship, decorate and feed cows and calves. They perform ritualistic worship of the cow and do not eat any wheat and dairy (milk) products on that day. The practice is also called Nandini Vrat, invoking the divine cow Nandini in the Vedic tradition. In the state of Maharastra, this day is also called Vasy Baras.

Dhanteras – On this day people purchase (shopping) especially gold, silver and platinum items. They buy jewellery and utensils. Idols of Goddess Lakshmi are washed or repainted for 3 days of worship. Traditional financial year starts on this day. Lord Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Vishnu who appeared from the ocean of milk with nectar or Amrit is also worshipped.

 

Day 2 (November 3, 2021, Wednesday)

Kali Chaudas – Also known as Bhut Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is mainly celebrated in Western states especially in Gujarat. On this day, people offer prayers to Kali, the goddess of darkness.
NOTE: Kali Chaudas day should not be considered with Roop Chaudas and Narak Chaturdashi because it generally falls a day before the Narak Chaturdash.

Day 3 (November 4, 2021, Thursday)

Manifestation of Goddess Mahalakshmi

Naraka Chaturdashi & Lakshmi Pujan – The day that celebrates the death of the demon Narakasur is also called Choti Diwali. Food and sweets are prepared and people get ready to celebrate the main Diwali festival with Lakshmi Pujan being performed in the evening hours to invoke Her grace and blessings.

Day 4 (November 5, 2021, Friday)

Manifestation of Goddess Mahalakshmi

Bestu Baras / Bali Padyami / Govardhan Pooja and Vishwakarma Day / Annakut – On this day Lord Vishnu defeated King Bali, the leader of the asuras (demons). 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 perform Govardhan Puja. Some worship tools and machinery.

Day 5 (November 6, 2021, Saturday)

Shree Krishna’s defeat of Narakasur

Bhau Beej / Bhai Teeka (Tilak) / Bhai Dooj / Bhai Fota – This is dedicated to the celebration of the brother-sister bond. Sisters apply tilak on their brothers’ forehead and pray for them, while the brothers pledge to look after their welfare. 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.

 

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Diwali Celebration across India

Diwali is traditionally celebrated by burning clay lights in a row in individual houses, and Eastern India is no exception. This event is widely observed in countries such as Orissa. In their homes, people lighted lights and lanterns in a row. Children celebrate by popping crackers, while elders share presents and sweets with their family and neighbors. As a result, the celebration is almost identical to those of the other areas of the nation, with the exception of one ceremony that summons the ghosts of families' ancestors.

In this tradition, jute objects are burned to light the path of ancestors, carrying the darkness away from the family and back to heaven. Aside from that, every house is brilliantly illuminated, with windows and doors open, to welcome prosperity and riches by worshiping Goddess Laxmi. On this day, it is often believed that the Goddess visits every house that is brilliantly lighted and overlooks those that are dark and abandoned.

Diwali is also celebrated in other areas of Eastern India, such as West Bengal, by worshiping Goddess Durga. They do, however, celebrate the event approximately twenty days before Laxmi Puja. The worship of Goddess Kali's divinity distinguishes this event in this region of the nation. Durga Puja lasts five days and is characterized by lavish celebrations.

During this festival, traditions include Rangoli adorning houses, placing lamps in a row, dressing up in new clothing, and visiting friends and family. Throughout the state, different tents known as Pandals are adorned with the statue of Goddess Durga. These pandals are also packed with tiny restaurants where visitors may savor various West Bengal cuisines.

This event is also widely celebrated in Northern India. People in Northern India celebrate Diwali because, according to Hindu legend, Lord Rama, his wife Mata Sita, and brother Laxman returned to their country after defeating King of Lanka, Ravana, and their 14-year exile. The return of Lord Rama and others was marked by the burning of lights, the bursting of crackers, and joy. The custom has persisted until the present day.

People burn enormous effigies of Ravana and his siblings in different regions of Northern India, including UP, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and other neighboring places. On Diwali night, the entire family joins their hands in prayer to Lord Ganesh and Goddess Laxmi for riches and success. Laxmi Pujan is another name for this ceremony. Following the puja, youngsters will fire crackers all night, and presents and sweets will be shared amongst family and neighbors. People in the contemporary day even spend this day playing cards. Nevertheless, this is probably not a very elegant approach to commemorate such a divine event.

The culture and festivals of Southern India are significantly distinct from those of the rest of the nation. As a result, Diwali is celebrated differently in this area. Diwali is celebrated in Southern India during the Tamil month of Aipasi, which is also the “Naraka Chaturdashi” before Amavasya. Diwali is exclusively celebrated in this region on this day. The rituals practiced here are also distinct, such as women cleaning their cooking ovens and daubing them with lime. Then, using paint, religious symbols are painted on the ovens.

This is subsequently filled with water so that individuals may have an oil bath the following day. All of these preparations are completed the day before the event. Kolam patterns adorn each and every one of the homes. Things needed in the celebration, such as firecrackers and clothing, are stored on a plate until the festival day. On the festival day, the real celebration begins with an oil bath before dawn. After bathing, sweets are given to family members, and fresh clothing are donned.

Diwali is also a four-day celebration in Western India. However, the celebration preparations begin fifteen days in advance. Markets are teeming with excited customers looking to buy presents, candy, clothing, and other items. In Gujarat, people begin their festivities by decorating their homes with representations of a festival, such as an idol of Goddess Laxmi, the sun, flowers, or simply strange forms. To welcome the Goddess Laxmi, miniature representations of footprints are painted at the entrances of the houses.

Diwali is commemorated for four days in Maharashtra. Vasubaras is celebrated on the first day by conducting pooja on the cow and its kid. This is done to symbolize the heavenly love that exists between mother and child. Dhantrayodashi, or Dhanteras, is observed on the second day. After worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi, merchants open new books on this auspicious day. Many individuals in this state rush to jeweler stores to buy gold or silver, or they may even buy a utensil for puja on the primary festival day.

The third day is Narak Chaturdashi, when folks get up before dawn and bathe after spreading fragrant oil all over their bodies. Following that, Maharashtrians eat Faral, a Diwali treat that combines both sweets and spicy cuisine. Finally, on festival day, people illuminate their homes with lights and let off fireworks. During the pooja, everyone in the house keeps the gold, silver, or utensil they bought on Dhanteras.

The four days are commemorated similarly to Maharashtrians, with one exception: the day of Padawa. This is regarded as the most blessed day. On this day, Gujratis go shopping and adorn their houses by lighting Diyas and conducting tilak ceremonies. This is also New Year's for them, when relatives visit one another to bestow their blessings on the new year.

Whatever manner Diwali is celebrated in various regions of India, the heart of the holiday remains the same: to bring riches, success, and joy to the family.

 

Diwali Legends, Stories & Rituals

Diwali celebrates the richness of the fall harvest and is devoted to different gods and goddesses. The event also marks a significant day in the Indian calendar, as it commemorates the conclusion of Lord Rama's fourteen-year exile in the North Indian kingdom of Avadha. As the people of Ayodhya awaited the homecoming of their beloved prince, they lighted hundreds of lights to lead his flying vimana to their town. The darkest night of the year also gave way to a beautiful dawn as Rama returned to his home kingdom of Avadha with his wife and brothers.

Diwali also honors the three goddesses, Lakshmi, Kali, and Saraswati, for their generosity. Dhanteras (two days before Diwali) honors Lakshmi, whose blessings are required for a successful, productive, and tranquil existence. The day before Diwali, Kali Chaudas, is devoted to Maha Kali, whose power we seek to preserve the wealth we have. Her blessings of physical, mental, and spiritual strength are all necessary for every one of us to have a happy life. Diwali is a festival devoted to the goddess Saraswati too. Knowledge is the greatest spiritual wealth because it cannot be taken away from you; it is also the ultimate power since it often overcomes physical force.

Dhanteras is the first day of Diwali festivities and is devoted to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Kuber. Because both Lakshmi and Kuber represent wealth, the day is known as 'Dhanteras,' as Dhan literally translates as wealth in English. Dhanteras occurs on the 13th day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartika, thus the name.

According to tradition, on the day of Dhanteras, during the Samudra-Manthan (ocean churning), the goddess of riches Shri Lakshmi came from the ocean bringing a jug of gold with her, along with Lord Kuber, the deity of wealth. Worshiping both deities on this day is therefore deemed fortunate. People pray for success and riches by offering special 'Bhoga-Prashada.'

Because it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi only lives in clean areas, the homes are carefully cleaned. To greet the goddess, traditional clay lamps are lighted in the evening, and the house's entryway is decorated with colorful 'Rangoli.' The tradition of purchasing metal on this day is also common and has great importance as part of the numerous rituals performed over the course of five days. Purchasing utensils and precious metals like as silver and gold is said to bring good fortune and luck, and the goddess Lakshmi bestows boons.

 

Dhanvantari Trayodashi, which falls on the same day as Dhanteras, is also observed. On this day, Deity Dhanvantari, the god of health and the creator of Ayurveda, is said to have risen from the ocean with the pot of Amrita, the elixir of life, during the Samdura-Manthan. According to Hindu mythology, Dhanvantari is the 12th avatar of Lord Vishnu and one of the 14 jewels that arose during the ocean churning. On the day of Dhanvantari's incarnation, people pray for good health, long life, and general well-being and adore him.

 

Narak Chaturdashi, also known as Chhoti Diwali in northern India, is celebrated as part of the Diwali celebrations. The day is named Narak Chaturdashi after the tale of Narakasura and his ultimate death at the hands of Lord Krishna. Narakasura, the demon king, ruled over the whole world, including Indra's realm of 'Swargalok.' He also took Aditi, the mother of Gods' jewels, and kidnapped 16000 girls and women. Lord Krishna murdered Narakasura, restoring Indra's rule and Aditi's honor, as well as freeing and marrying the kidnapped 16000 women. Thus, the day is observed to commemorate Narakasura's rescue at the hands of Lord Krishna.

In the southern states, Narak Chaturdashi is the primary Diwali celebration, symbolizing Lord Krishna's victory over Narakasura as the triumph of good over evil. People dress up in new clothing, eat traditional sweets, light candles, adorn their houses, burst crackers, and share greetings with loved ones on this day.

 

Many people celebrate Roop Chaturdashi by using Ubtan (face pack) mixed with different oils, particularly sesame oil, and taking a bath before dawn to rekindle their young glow and brightness, since Roop literally translates to beauty in English. Deepdan, or lamp giving, is especially significant on this day, as individuals give 14 lights to placate the deity of death, Yamraja.

 

Lakshmi Puja is celebrated on the fourth day of Diwali, which occurs on the new moon day of the month of Kartik. Diwali derives its meaning from the tale of Lord Rama and the evil King Ravana. The celebration represents the dispersal of internal gloom and ignorance with the light of knowledge and optimism. The most significant aspect of Diwali festivities is Lakshmi Puja. The day begins early, with people cleaning their homes completely and decorating them with new flowers, lights, and Rangolis to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.

The Puja is traditionally done during Pradosha in Sthir Lagna, however the appropriate Muhurat should be discussed with a Panchang or Panditji since it changes according on region. To remove darkness in the evening, clay lamps called Deepaks are lighted. Thousands of Deepak light and spread the darkness during the New Moon's gloomy night.

For the Puja, the whole family gathers in new and traditional clothing to summon Goddess Lakshmi with Mantras and rituals in order to obtain the goddess's blessings of everlasting wealth and a better life. For the occasion, special Prasadam, sweets, and traditional dishes are prepared and given to the goddess. Fireworks and cracker bursting are also popular in different areas of the nation following the Puja.

On Diwali, children seek blessings from elders and pay visits to family, loved ones, and friends to offer Puja wishes and distribute Diwali sweets. In West Bengal, Kali Pujan is celebrated instead of Lakshmi Puja. On this day, traders and business people pray and update their ledgers or account books for the New Year.

 

Diwali began as a harvest celebration and thus, it is also a Harvest Festival. Diwali occurs during the month of October or November, which is harvest season for the Kharif crop in many areas of India. Farmers in rural regions pray and express their thanks to God for a good season and harvest.

Harvest festivals are the major festivities of several Indian states throughout the year. Onam is celebrated in Kerala, Lohri is celebrated in Baisakhi, and Holi, Makar Sankranti, and Rongali Bihu are significant harvesting festivals in India. In reality, Keralites do not celebrate Diwali at all, preferring to focus on Onam as their major holiday.

Gujarati New Year, Bali Pratipada, Govardhan Puja and Suhag Padwa are also observed. Depending on the area and state, the following day after Diwali is known as Bali Pratipada, Govardhan Puja, or Suhag Padwa. Suhag Padwa and Govardhan Puja are popular in central India, while Bali Pratipada is more widespread in southern India and Maharashtra.

 

The mythology connected with Bali Pratipada is based on the story of the demon yet kindhearted king Bali, and it commemorates Lord Vishnu's triumph over Bali and his subsequent flight to 'Patalalok,' or the nether realm. Regardless matter how nice and kind Bali was, his egotism and feeling of superiority overcame his conscience, making him arrogant. As a result, Lord Vishnu incarnated as 'Vamana,' defeating him and forcing him to live in the 'Patala.' Recognizing Bali's excellent acts, Vishnu granted him a blessing that allowed him to visit Earth once a year, and the day became known as Bali Pratipada.

 

Govardhan Puja is celebrated on the following day of Diwali to commemorate the day when Lord Krishna rescued the people of Gokul from heavy rains by carrying Mount Govardhan on his little finger. When Krishna urged the people of Gokul to worship Govardhan hill instead of Indra in expectation of greater rains and agricultural output, the showers were the manifestation of Indra's anger.

When Krishna refused to give up even after lugging the hill for many days, Indra accepted defeat and halted the showers. Thus, the day is celebrated in various areas of the nation in honor of Govardhan hill and Lord Krishna's triumph over Indra. On this day, a tiny mound of cow dung is built and worshipped. Farmers also revere their livestock on this day and feed them a special feast.

Gujaratis celebrate New Year during the Kartik month of Pratipada or Padwa. New Year, or Bestu Varas as it is known in Gujarati, is the first day of the Gujarati calendar and is celebrated with Govardhan Puja. As the Gujarati fiscal year starts on this day, business owners and merchants replace their old ledgers with new ones. The day is marked by temple visits, feasting on magnificent and traditional Gujarati dishes with family, and exchanging pleasantries with loved ones.

On this day, married ladies bathe before dawn and seek the blessings of their elders and husbands; therefore, the day is known as Suhag Padwa and is observed in certain areas of the nation, particularly in Madhya Pradesh. On this day, women also go to the Gajalakshmi temple to pray for a long and happy marriage.

 

Bhai Dooja is commemorated two days after Diwali and concludes the five-day Diwali celebrations. On this day, the brothers pay a visit to their wedded sister to check on her well-being and to bring her gifts. Sisters celebrate the arrival of their brothers with a lavish feast. The ceremonies include sisters applying 'Tilak' to their brothers' foreheads and performing 'Aarti' while praying for their brothers' happiness and prosperity.

According to the mythology connected with the observance, Yama, the king of death, paid a visit to his sister Varni, who greeted him with affection and a lavish feast. When Yama asked her for a present, Varni requested that all brothers visit their sisters on this day and that sisters pray for the well-being of their brothers. Another tale speaks about Lord Krishna and his wife, Subhadra. Krishna visited his sister Subhadra after slaying the demon Narakasura, who greeted him with sweets and placed Tilak on his forehead as a victory symbol.

 

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