I love visiting Indian especially at Diwali times. Diwali, is a colourful and happy celebration. Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali in honor of the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana from exile of 14 years. To honor the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana from Lanka and to illuminate their path, villagers light Diyas to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali is a 5 day festival.
The First Day of Diwali
The first day of Diwali is Dhanvantari Trayodasi, when Lord Dhanvantari appeared, delivering Ayurvedic medicine for mankind. This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. At sunset, devout Hindus bathe and offer oil lamps along with prasada (sanctified food) to Yamaraja, the Lord of Death, and pray for protection from untimely death.
The Second Day of Diwali
The second day of Diwali is Naraka Chaturdasi. On this day Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and liberated the 16,000 princesses the demon held captive.
The Third Day – Actual Diwali
This is the actual day of Diwali, commonly known as the Hindu New Year. The faithful cleanse themselves and join with their families and priests to worship the goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu, to receive blessings of wealth, prosperity, triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. This is also the day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, having successfully rescued Sita and defeated the demon Ravana.
The Fourth Day of Diwali
On this day, Govardhana Puja is performed, a spiritual harvest festival. Thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna caused the people of Vrindavan to perform Govardhana Puja.
Bali Maharaja was defeated on this day by Lord Krishna’s dwarf brahmana incarnation, Vamanadeva.
The Fifth Day of Diwali
The fifth day of the Diwali is called Bhratri Dooj, dedicated to sisters. We have heard about Raksha Bandhan, brothers day. Well this is sisters day. Many moons ago in the Vedic era, Yamaraja, the Lord of Death, visited His sister Yamuna on this day. He gave Yamuna a boon that whoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins; they will achieve moksha, liberation. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to inquire about their welfare, and many faithful bathe in the holy waters of the Yamuna River.
This day marks the end of the five days of Diwali celebrations.
We arrived on Monday morning in Delhi and was looking forward to the Diwail preparations. Indians prepare their homes and themselves for the special festivities that symbolise the victory of spiritual goodness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. People clean and decorate their homes, as It is popularly believed that Lakshmi likes cleanliness and will visit the cleanest house first. Hence, the broom is worshiped.
Diwali is one of the happiest holidays in India with significant preparations. Diwali is one of the biggest shopping seasons in India; people buy new clothes for themselves and their families, as well as gifts, appliances, kitchen utensils, even expensive items such as cars and gold jewelry. People also buy gifts for family members and friends which typically include sweets, dry fruits, and seasonal specialties. Girls and women go shopping and create rangoli and other creative patterns on floors, near doors and walkways. Youth and adults alike help with lighting and preparing for patakhe (fireworks). Firecrackers are set off to drive away evil, oil lamps are lit, flower garlands are made, candles float in bowls of water outside homes and sweets are shared as part of the festivities.
Most importantly, Diwali is a religious and spiritual occasion when Hindus gather with their family and friends to perform puja and offer prayers to Maha Lakshmi. Maha Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity – both material and spiritual wealth and prosperity. They worship Her with love, humility and devotion and offer thanks for the blessings that She has bestowed upon them and their family, and ask Her to continue to bless them.
So what is eaten during the five-day festival?
The immediate answer is sweets – and plenty of them. Indian sweetmeats, known as “mithai” are a cross between snack, dessert and confectionery. If there’s one thing that captures the Indian culinary psyche, it’s mithai. Little morsels are nibbled throughout the day, on their own, with masala chai or as part of a meal alongside savoury items.