The festival of Diwali is celebrated across the lengths and breaths of the nation. This is one of the few festivals that is celebrated by people from different religious backgrounds. As the days of Diwali 2019 draws nearer, Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs across the country have started preparing the same. By now, all of us would have experienced Diwali wishes pouring in from friends and relatives.
The central idea of this festival is the celebration of good over evil. While some Hindu cultures celebrate this as the homecoming of Lord Rama from his exile, others take it as a day of worshipping the Goddess Lakshmi. Diwali is a very special day for Jains as well. They believe that on this day, their last Tirthankara on earth, Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana. History is a testimony to the fact that Guru Har Gobind Ji returned from the prison of Emperor Jahangir on this day. Thus, this day is synonymous with the word ‘freedom’ for Sikhs. This was also the day when Emperor Ashoka took to Buddhism. Knowing the important role that Ashoka played in the spread of Buddhism, you would have realized the significance of this day to followers of this faith.
Having understood the multi-dimensional significance of this festival, you now all that goes into the popular ‘Happy Diwali’ wish. This article talks about the different aspects of Diwali and tells you all that you need to know about the festival of lights.
Diwali 2019 date
To begin with, the first question that crosses the minds of people is when this festival of lights is? The answer to this would be tricky as the festival is celebrated over five days. The 13th day of the auspicious month of Kartik is when the festivities begin. This year the festival is on 25th October. The third day which is the day of the new moon (in this case, 27th October), is the most important one.
Significance of Diwali
Also known as Deepavali, each day of the five days of the festival has its significance. While customs associated with them vary from region to region, the essence of each of the days remains the same.
The word ‘Dhanteras’ comes from two Sanskrit words ‘Dhan’ (meaning wealth) and ‘teras’ (referring to the 13th day of the Kartik month). It is the first day of the festival of Diwali. This festival is in celebration of the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi in our homes. It is believed that on this auspicious day, the goddess had emerged from the ocean. As Lakshmi signifies prosperity and wealth, people try their level best to please the goddess on this day. Popular culture dictates that people buy jewelry and kitchen utensils on this day in honor of the goddess.
Most of the people said it was on this day, Lord Krishna and Lord Kali were able to vanquish the demon Narakasura. Due to this reason, Choti Diwali is also known as Kali Puja or Naraka Chaturdasi in some regions. What is interesting here is the fact that while Naraka Chaturdasi rituals take place early in the morning, Kali Puja is usually celebrated late at night.
The 3rd day of the Diwali celebrations is when Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on a pedestal. On this day, earthen lights or ‘Diyas’ are lighted in celebration. The word ‘Diwali’ is derived from a Sanskrit word that translates to ‘a row of lights.’ That is why, on this day, houses and public places across the nation are lighted with thousands of earthen diyas, candles, and modern electric lights. Legend also has it that on this very day, Lord Rama, along with his faithful wife Sita and brother Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile.
The celebration of Diwali 2019 would be deemed incomplete without the Govardhan Puja. It is believed that on this day, Lord Krishna defeated the mighty God of thunder, Lord Indra. Certain cultures also celebrate this day as the beginning of a new year. The day is so auspicious that beginning a new task or journey on this day is said to yield positive results.
On this auspicious day, sisters pray for the long lives of their brothers. The brothers are well-fed, and there is a mutual exchange of gifts. With this beautiful festival celebrating the unique bond between a brother and a sister, the five-day-long festivities of Diwali comes to an end.
Thus, as you can see, the festival of Diwali is way more than bursting crackers and lighting lamps. It is one where several communities come together to harbor a feeling of optimism, the fact that good will always triumph over evil. As you gear up for Diwali 2019, here is a gentle reminder for you to keep this spirit of Diwali alive as you participate in the festivities. On that note, here’s wishing you a delightful Deepavali.