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Deepavali (Diwali)

Deepavali is one of major festivals of India celebrated all over the country with equal zeal and enthusiasm. Deepavli is a sanskrit word which means a 'row of lights' Deepavali is celebrated to commemorate the killing narakasura in the hands of Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Deepavali is also marked with the return of Rama and Sita to their kingdom of Adodhya after an exile of 14 years in the forest. Though, Diwali is mainly a five day festival, we can see people preparing Diwali weeks ahead by cleaning and decorating their households. According to the Hindu lunar calendar., the festival day falls on the amaavashya (no-moon day) of the month of Kartik.

Celebrated with vigour and gaiety by people of every religion Deepavali, its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity. Innumerable lamps are lit on the roofs and windowsills of the houses, thus, giving an ethereal and almost divine look to the whole scenario. It is said that Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth roams the earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean and brightly illuminated. Young and old, men and women, all dress up in new clothes and buy new utensils on this day. They worship the deities, Lakshmi and Ganesha, and share sweets and gifts with their relatives and friends. It is also the beginning of the new financial year for the business community. However, it is the crackers and the fireworks that attract the kids the most and form the highlight of the festival.

Deepawali symbolises the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. It is the celebartion of victory of good over evil - and the glory of light.

Significance of Deepavali

Dipavali is the Indian festival that brings a series of festivals with it. One after another we get a chance to celebrate five festivals together. The people of all age groups and classes with equal zeal and enthusiasm celebrate Diwali throughout India. They put on new apparels and participate in the various activities that are related to Diwali celebrations.

Diwali is not only a festival of celebrations such as lightings, crackers, cleanliness, colorful rangoli making, social gatherings to exchange greetings and sharing sweets with your loved ones but it is also a festival that is filled with spiritualism and religious activities such as worship of Goddess Lakshmi, worship of Lord Ganesha, worship of Mother Kali, worship of Lord Chitragupta and worship of Govardhan Parvat. The Diwali festival is all about lots of shopping, happiness, togetherness and almost one week's holiday.

The celebration of the five-day long festival, diwali begins on Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdashi and concludes on Kartika Shudha Vijaya. The first day of this festival begins with 'Dhan Trayodashi' or 'Dhanteras'. After the Dhanvantari Trayodashi the second day of diwali is 'Narak Chaturdashi', which is popular as 'Chhoti Diwali'. The third day of diwali, which is also called 'Badi Diwali' is the main day of celebrations of the festival of diwali. People perform Lakshmi Pujan (worship of divine Goddess Lakshmi) on this day and offer prayers to Her to bless them with wealth and prosperity. The fourth day of diwali is devoted to Govardhan Pooja (worship of Lord Govardhan Parvat). The fifth day of the diwali is Bhai Dooj, the time to honour the brother-sister relationship.

The day of Dipavali has special significance for the business community as they consider this day to be the perfect time to begin their new financial year. Some people also indulge in gambling on the day of diwali because it is a believed that wife of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati played dice with Him on this day and therefore those, who gamble on this auspicious day, are blessed with prosperity.

Lakshmi Puja

On the day of deepavali people worship the Lakshmi, the godess of wealth. The story of lakshmi pooja goes like this. It is believed that when the demons and deities were churning the ocean together to find out the 'drink of immortality', it was on this day that Goddess Lakshmi manifested herself and thus Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the Goddess of Wealth. Another legend says that on the night prior to the celebration of Diwali, Lord Krishna has killed the demon Narakasura freeing the earth from his terrors and liberating the 16000 princesses that were abducted by him. Thus, on the next day (Diwali), the people illuminated their houses and celebrated to express their joy and relief. Mahabharata mentions the return of Pandavas to their kingdom from their 13-year long exile on this very day. Vikramidtya, the great benevolent king and warrior was believed to be enthroned on Diwali. Whatever the reasons may be, however, Diwali, has always been associated with the worshipping of Lakshmi. One other legend connecting Lakshmi to Diwali is mentioned in Sanatkumar Samhita, which says that it was on this day that Lord Vishnu liberated his consort from the captivity of Bali, the mighty demon-king after a long period.

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