A star attraction on the stage of the Indian festival is Diwali – a joyful celebration which, speaking in general terms, celebrates the triumph of good over evil. The name of the festival is roughly into ‘row of lamps/lights, so Diwali is widely known as the Festival of Lights.
It takes distance over a period of five days on auspicious dates during the Ashvin / Kartika beginning – the months of the Hindu lunar calendar that equate to the months of the Gregorian calendar of October / November.
When is Diwali in 2017, 2018, 2019?
Diwali falls on either October or November every year, depending on the cycle of the moon. The celebration of Diwali is on the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month of the Hindu lunar calendar.
- In 2017, Diwali is on October 19.
- In 2018, Diwali is on November 7.
- In 2019, Diwali is on October 27.
The Diwali Festival runs for five days, with meaningful presentations happening on the third day in most areas in Hindustan.
The one-day (October 17, 2017) is known as Dhanteras. “Dhan” means wealth and “teras” refers to the 13th day of a lunar fortnight in the Hindu calendar. The day is devoted to celebration and prosperity. Goddess Lakshmi is welcome in the house and gold is bought on the day.
The second day (October 18, 2017) known as the Naraka Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali (Small Diwali). The Hindu literature reports that the asura (demon) Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama, and Goddess Kali. This day begins by early morning religious rituals and festivities followed on.Kali is celebrated in West Bengal, while paper-made effigies of Narakasura, filled with grass and firecrackers symbolizing evil, are made. Furthermore, in the morning around four o’clock these puppets are burnt, then crackers are burst, and then finally people come back home to take a scented oil bath.
The third day (October 19, 2017) is the day of the new asteroid known as Amavasya. The darkest day of the month is the most significant day of the Diwali festival in North and West India. On the holy day of Diwali Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped with a particular puja performed at night.
The fourth day (October 20, 2017) has different meanings throughout India. In northern India, Govardhan Puja is celebrated on the fourth day as God Krishna had defeated Indra, the God of thunder and rain on the day. In Gujarat, it is the beginning of New Year. In Maharastra, Bali Puja is performed to seek the blessing of the demon king Bali.
The fifth day (October 21, 2017) is known as the Bhai Dhuj. It is dedicated to celebrating sisters, similarly as Raksha Bandhan which honors the incredible love of brothers and sisters.Brothers and sisters gather and share food, to praise the bond between them.
Which rituals performed during Diwali?
Rituals vary by region. Though, the day is mainly devoted to worshiping Goddess Lakshmi who is the Goddess of wealth and successfulness, and Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.People believe that the goddess Lakshmi was born from the agitation of the ocean on the primary day of Diwali and that she will visit every home during the Diwali period, bringing with her prosperity and good fortune.People assume that she visits the cleanest houses first. Therefore people make sure their apartments are spotless before lighting the lamps to invite her inside. Moreover, people also worship small Goddess statues in their homes.
The streets are full of shoppers who feed on everything from new luxury clothing and festive home decorations to gifts for family, friends and business acquaintances.
The most popular gift, by a long shot, is mithai (Indian sweets), packaged ornamented with nuts and nuts also a hot seller.
The shops are full with a mouthwatering variety of Mithais (Sweets) specially prepared for this festival. From thick plates of barfi (like sugar candy, often coated with a thin film of edible silver leaf); the old favorites include pistachios and kaiju – soft jambs of sweet Gulab and fluffy asspulls (sweet cream cheese balls flavored with rose water).
In fact, if ever there is a time to experience India in its sweet – and convivial – best, it is during Diwali.
Where to Celebrate Diwali in India?
Do you wonder where it is best to join the Diwali celebrations? Take a look at these Diwali destinations in India.
Diwali in Varanasi
Varanasi attests to Diwali celebrations, with millions of lights and millions of people. Start your day with the Ganga Snan ritual (bath on the Ganga), followed by exploring the bustling street stores that sell Diwali sweets and brightly colored clothing. On a sunset boat ride, you soak in the sight of the lamps by the shore, as you slowly illuminate the darkness, and the spiritual aura borrowed from the songs and recitals on the river bank. The festivities culminate in noisy and colorful firecrackers that soar in every small lane of the city.
The city of one Golden Temple is a delight at any time of year, but especially in Diwali, which coincides with the Sikh celebrations of Bandi Chhor Divas. It is celebrated to mark the return of the sixth Sikh guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, from the Mughal imprisonment. Special kirtans (prayers) echo through the city, and the golden temple bathes in light – a banquet for any photography enthusiast.
Jaipur and Udaipur
Celebrations in Jaipur begin at Dhanteras, the first of the five-day Diwali celebrations. Sights such as Fort Nahargarh offers lovely views after the dark of the holidays, including beautiful glimpses of the illuminated walled city. The town of Udaipur is equally charming, with its majestic lakes shining with reflection emitted by palace lights and fireworks, creating endless photo possibilities. You can introduce the children to the real history of India or send them on a camel ride, and enjoy Marwari delights and collect ethnic Rajasthani souvenirs.
Dev Deepawali in Varanasi
Fifteen days after Diwali, Dev Deepawali is a unique festival held on the banks of the Ganga River in Varanasi. People say that on this day, the Gods come down to celebrate Diwali. All 84 ghats are cleaned and decorated with flowers, Rangolis, and lamps. The river comes live with flickering flames as floating offerings are all over the Ganges. The annual Ganga Mahotsav takes place three days before Dev Deepawali. It has cultural performances, exhibitions of crafts and course food.
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