Diwali 2020: Also known as Deepawali, is the Hindu festival of lights that is celebrated by Indians all over the globe.
Diwali, also known as Deepawali, the Hindu festival of lights is celebrated by Indians all over the world. Deepavali, which translates as ‘row of lights’ is one of the most significant of all the Hindu festivals and is celebrated for 5 days. It is observed on the 15th of the month Kartika and according to the Hindu lunar calendar, is considered the most sacred month. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on November 14.
Diwali 2020: History and significance
Diwali is not only significant because of the huge popularity and brilliant fireworks displays but also because it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. On this day, diyas, candles, and lamps are placed around the house, for ‘light’ street knowledge and victory. Each house is decorated with a variety of different colored lights and diyas. The whole country is bathed in soft light and warmth that emanates from every household, so the scenery is absolutely stunning to behold.
Diwali also serves as a cleansing ritual, which marks the last year of this release of all the worries and troubles and stepped into the light. In the days ahead of of Diwali, families gather to clean, renovate, and decorate their households and workplaces with rangolis and diyas. Diwali marks the beginning of winter and the beginning of all new things, both in nature and humanity.
On this day, celebrants dress me the best prayer, brand new clothes, and offer them to various gods and goddesses, according to their own family traditions.
Diwali can find its roots in ancient India and the possibility that it began as a harvest festival that is significant. And like many Hindu festivals, the origins of Diwali differ from region to region, which can be highly attributed to the cultural stories and legends passed on through the spoken word.
Some the beliefs that Diwali is a wedding celebration of Goddess Laxmi to Vishnu. Some even consider this day as a good opportunity for his birthday, because it is a popular belief that he was born in the month of Kartika in the new moon (Amavasya).
In certain areas, such as Bengal, the festival is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the dark goddess of strength. In other areas, people offer prayers to the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesh. But in all the mythology and history, Diwali marks the day that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, after being in exile for 14 years long, to regain his throne and fulfill their duties. His back is all the more significant because of his victory over the demon king Ravana. It was in celebration of their king again, that the people of Ayodhya illuminated the kingdom with diyas, to illuminate the way home.
Five days of celebration
Each of the five days of Diwali has its own meaning and designation, where the first day – a sign of the defeat of the demon Naraka Naraka Chaturdasi at the hands of Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
On the second day – Amavasya, people pray to Goddess Laxmi, because many believe that he is the kindest month during this period and often gives to his desire. In Amavasya, people also tell the story of the god Vishnu, who took the incarnation of Bali dwarf and sent it to hell. Only during the festival of lights is Bali was allowed to roam the world again, to spread the message of Lord Vishnu love, compassion and knowledge, and also light diyas along the way.
On the third day – Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali steps out of hell and rule the earth according to the grace given to him by Lord Vishnu. Day four – Yama Dvitiya, also known as Bhai Dooj, observed, and is associated with brothers invite their brothers to their homes.
The fifth day – Dhanteras, is a celebration of wealth and prosperity. It is celebrated two days before Diwali and people around the world try their hand at gambling because it is considered that with the blessing of Goddess Parvati, anyone gamble on this day will be bombarded with prosperity throughout the coming year. According to legend, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva on this day.
In addition to all the fun, gambling and firecrackers around Diwali, it is an inherently philosophical festival. One that puts great significance on the ‘light’ and the prevalence of good over evil. This Diwali allows us to pray to the gods for guidance and patience during the 19th Covid pandemic. Have a happy and safe Diwali.
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