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History Of Diwali
Author : sudha
Category : Festivals
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History Of Diwali

History Of Diwali

India is the "land of festivals". Here all festivals has its own significance behind the celebration. And Diwali, `the festival of lights is a national festival celebrated with lots of zeal and enthusiasm. Whole India participates candidly in this Festival though the way of celebrating Diwali differs statewise according to the culture and traditions of that particular state. People of all age groups participate in this festival with gaiety and fervor. Diwali is the celebration of illuminating ones own soul with the light of hope and positive energy. Lighting earthen lamps, the main traditional ritual of Diwali, signifies the victory of good over the evil within oneself.
The history of Diwali is originated from various Hindu religious scriptures, mainly the Puranas. Like in many parts of Nepal and India, the myth behind the celebration of Diwali is the victory of Rama over Ravana and then the return of Rama in Ayodhya with Lakshman and Sita after their 14 year exile in forest. Legend says, the people of Ayodhya greeted Rama by lighting rows of lamps. Thus it was named as Deepavali, deep (lamp) avali (rows).

Tracing back to the history of ancient India, Diwali was celebrated as the main harvest festival. But later it is being celebrated following the Hindu treatise. As per the Hindu almanac or Panjika, Diwali is celebrated on Amavasya, the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, i.e. October or November every year. But the main Diwali festival is a five day long ritual commences with Dhanwantari Triodasi or Dhan Theras. Second day of Diwali is referred as Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi or Naraka Chaturdasi. Third day is Amavasya or the main Diwali. Worship of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, is performed as according to the Hindu mythology Lakshmi was incarnated on this day, the new moon day of the Kartik month. Fourth day is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami or Bali Padyami. It is believed that Bali would come out on this day from Pathala Loka to rule Bhuloka as such a boon was given by Lord Vishnu. The fifth or last day of Diwali is known as Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj or Bhratri Dooj. This day is marked for the celebration of sister-brother relationship. On this day brothers are invited to their sisters home. Sisters put tilak on their brothers` forehead and pray for a long life for their dear brothers. In return, brothers adore their loving sisters with gifts.

These five days of Diwali hold five different significant myths or stories with them. Like, first day or Naraka Chaturdashi is the 14th lunar day or `thithi` of the dark forthnight of the month of Kartik. It tells a story of Narkasur and Lord Krishna. Krishna, the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killed the demon Narakasura with the help of Satyabhama, wife of Krishna. Narakasura was creating havoc among the people of the three worlds. He was powered by a boon that only his mother could kill him. So Krishna reincarnated his wife Satyabhama as mother of Narakasura and made her the charioteer of Krishna. Ultimately in a fight between krishna and Narakasura, the evil Demon was killed by her mother and peace was restored on the earth. This story carries a significant moral lesson that a mother can also kill her evil son.

Thousands of myths, legends, stories, traditions, rituals but nationwide celebration. Diwali is in true sense the festival of unity in diversity. It brings people together in spite of religious, cultural, social or geographical barriers. The way of celebrating Diwali has been changed over the period of time. Now Diwali is associated with exchange of gifts and cards. And not only in India, now Diwali is also celebrated all over the world. People residing outside India find this festival a special occasion to get connected with their homeland, their family and friends, if not physically but emotionally. This is the occasion when they can convey their warm wishes and love by sending gifts to India. So send Diwali Gifts to your near and dear ones staying in different cities in India.

 

Dates:

Diwali falls on the one new moon night between mid-October and mid-November. Deepavali is celebrated for five days according to the lunisolar Hindu Calendar. It begins in late Ashvin (between September and October) and ends in early Kartika (between October and November). The first day is Dhan Teras. The last day is Yama Dvitiya, which signifies the second day of the light half of Kartika. Each day of Deepavali marks one celebration of the six principal stories associated with the festival.[10]

Hindus have several significant events associated with Diwali:

The return of Rama after 14 years of Vanvas (banishment). To welcome his return, diyas (ghee lamps) were lit in rows of 20.
The killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, one day before Deepavali, it commemorates the killing of the evil demon Narakasura, who wreaked havoc. Krishnas wife Satyabhama killed Narakasura during the Dwapara yuga. In another version of the belief, the demon was killed by Krishna or Krishna provoked his wife Satyabhama to kill Narshna, defeating Indra.

  Govardhan Puja is celebrated the day after Deepavali and is the day Krishna defeated Indra, the deity of thunder and rain. According to the story, Krishna saw preparations for an annual offering to Lord Indra and asked his father Nanda about it. He debated with the villagers about what their "dharma" truly was. They were farmers, they should do their duty and concentrate on farming and protection of their cattle. He said that all human beings should do their "karma" to the best of their ability and not pray for natural phenomenon. The villagers were convinced by Krishna, and did not proceed with the special puja (prayer). Indra was then angered, and flooded the village. Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan and held it up to protect the people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. Although this aspect of Krishnas life is sometimes ignored[citation needed] it sets up the basis of the `karma` philosophy later detailed in the Bhagavat Gita.
 

Other events associated with Diwali include:

 Return of Pandavas after 12 years of Vanvas and one year of agyatavas (living incognito).

Diwali being festival of lights, across India people celebrate it via symbolic diyas or kandils (colourful paper lanterns) as an integral part of Diwali decorations.
Rangoli, decorations made from coloured powder, is popular during Diwali

Deepavali celebrations are spread over five days, from Dhanteras to Bhaiduj. In some places like Maharshtra it starts with Vasu Baras.[11] All the days except Diwali are named according to their designation in the Hindu calendar. The days are:

    Govatsa Dwadashi or Vasu Baras (27 Ashvin or 12 Krishna Paksha Ashvin): Go means cow and vatsa means calf. Dwadashi or Baras means the 12th day. On this day the cow and calf are worshiped. The story associated with this day is that of King Prithu, son of the tyrant King Vena. Due to the ill rule of Vena, there was a terrible famine and earth stopped being fruitful. Prithu chased the earth, who is usually represented as cow, and "milked" her, meaning that he brought prosperity to the land.
    Dhanatrayodashi or Dhan teras or Dhanwantari Triodasi[12] (28 Ashvin or 13 Krishna Paksha Ashvin): Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means 13th day. This day falls on the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month. It is considered an auspicious day for buying utensils and gold, hence the name ‘Dhana’. This day is regarded as the Jayanti (Birth Anniversary) of God Dhanvantari, the Physician of Gods, who came out during Samudra manthan, the churning of the great ocean by the gods and the demons.
    Naraka Chaturdashi (29 Ashvin or 14 Krishna Paksha Ashvin): Chaturdashi is the 14th day This was the day on which the demon Narakasura was killed by Krishna – an incarnation of Vishnu. It signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness (Gujarati: Kali Chaudas, Rajasthan : Roop Chaudas). In southern India, this is the actual day of festivities. Hindus wake up before dawn, have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes. They light small lamps all around the house and draw elaborate kolams /rangolis outside their homes. They perform a special puja with offerings to Krishna or Vishnu, as he liberated the world from the demon Narakasura on this day. It is believed that taking a bath before sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky is equivalent to taking a bath in the holy Ganges. After the puja, children burst firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As this is a day of rejoicing, many will have very elaborate breakfasts and lunches and meet family and friends.
    Lakshmi Puja (30 Ashvin or 15 Krishna Paksha Ashvin): Lakshmi Puja marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations in North India. Hindu homes worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the God of auspicious beginnings, and then light lamps in the streets and homes to welcome prosperity and well-being.
    Bali Pratipada and Govardhan Puja (1 Kartika or 1 Shukla Paksha Kartika) : In North India, this day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja, also called Annakoot, and is celebrated as the day Krishna – an incarnation of god Vishnu – defeated Indra and by the lifting of Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods. For Annakoot, large quantities of food are decorated symbolizing the Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna. In Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, it is celebrated as Bali-Pratipada or Bali Padyami. The day commemorates the victory of Vishnu in his dwarf form Vamana over the demon-king Bali, who was pushed into the patala. In Maharashtra, it is called as Padava or Nava Diwas (new day). Men present gifts to their wives on this day. It is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calender, in Gujarat.
    Yama Dwitiya or Bhaiduj (also Bhayyaduj, Bhaubeej or Bhayitika) (2 Kartika or 2 Shukla Paksha Kartika): on this day, brothers and sisters meet to express love and affection for each other (Gujarati: Bhai Bij, Bengali: Bhai Phota). It is based on a story when Yama, lord of Death, visited his sister Yami (the river Yamuna). Yami welcomed Yama with an Aarti and they had a feast together. Yama gave a gift to Yami while leaving as a token of his appreciation. So, the day is also called "YAMA DWITIYA". Brothers visit their sisters place on this day and usually have a meal there, and also give gifts to their sisters.
 


 

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