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Diwaali>

Diwali - Worship of Goddess Laxmi & Lord Ganesh

(Diwali on October 26, 2011 )

| When is Diwali in 2011| Diwali Legend |Diwali - Five days Celebration | Diwali Significance

| Dhanteras | Chhoti Diwali | Diwali Pooja | Govardhan Pooja | Bhaiduj | Laxmi Pooja | Ganesh Pooja |

| Diwali in Sikhism | Diwali in Jainism | Special Significance of Diwali |Diwali Pooja Process |
 

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When is Diwali in 2011 ?  

In 2011, Diwali is on 26th October.

Diwali or Deepawali (rows of light), is one of the major Indian festivals celebrated by people of almost all faiths. It is celebrated all over the country with equal enthusiasm. This festival of LIGHTS, is celebrated to commemorate the returning of Rama and Sita to their kingdom Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile. Deepawali symbolises the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. It is the celebration of victory of good over evil - and the glory of light.

Though, Diwali is mainly a five- day festival but we can see people preparing Diwali weeks ahead by cleaning and decorating their households. The main festival day falls on the no-moon day of the dark half of Kartik, according to the Hindu lunar calendar. The magical view of cities , towns and villages lit up with Diyas (tiny clay oil lamps) creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity. Innumerable lamps are lit all over the houses, thus, giving an almost divine look to the whole scenario.

It is said that Lakshmi, The Goddess of wealth roams the earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean and brightly illuminated. Devotees 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, the main highlight of this festival of lights is the crackers and the fireworks.

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Five Days Celebration during Diwali

24th Oct : Dhan-trayodashi or Dhanteras: Dhan means "wealth" and Trayodashi means "13th day". Thus, as the name implies, this day falls on the 13th day of the second half of the lunar month. It is an auspicious day for shopping.


25th Oct : Naraka Chaturdasi: Chaturdasi is the fourteenth day on which demon Narakasura was killed. It signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. In south India, this is the actual day of festivities. Hindus wake up way before dawn as early as 2.00 in the morning, have a fragrant oil bath and wear 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 Lord Sri Krishna or Lord Sri 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. Hence, when people greet each other in the morning, they ask "Have you performed your Ganga Snaanam?".

After the puja, children burst firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As this is a day of rejoicement, many will have very elaborate breakfasts and lunches and meet family and friends. In the evening, lamps are again lit and Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and offered special dishes. This being a no moon day, many will offer special tarpana (offerings of water and sesame seeds) to their ancestors.
 

26th Oct :  Diwali: the actual day of Diwali, is celebrated on the third day of the festival, when the moon completely wanes and total darkness sets in the night sky.


27th Oct :Govardhan Puja or Annakut, is celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra. For Annakut a mountain of food is decorated symbolizing Govardhan mountain lifted by Lord Krishna. In Maharashtra it is celebrated as Padva or BaliPratipada. The day commemorates King Bali. Men present gifts to their wives on this day.
 

28th Oct : Bhaiduj (also Bhayyaduj, Bhaubeej or Bhayitika) on this day, brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection for each other (Gujarati: Bhai Bij, Bengali: Bhai Phota). Most Indian festivals bring together families, Bhaiduj brings together married sisters and brothers, and is a significant festive day for them. This festival is ancient, and pre-dates 'Raksha Bandhan' another brother-sister festival being celebrated today.


 

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Diwali Legend
 

Goddess Lakshmi : The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi was incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi.

Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi: On this very day, Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali and this is another reason of worshipping Ma Larkshmi on Diwali.

Krishna Killed Narakaasur: On the day preceding Diwali, Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakaasur and rescued 16,000 women from his captivity. The celebration of this freedom went on for two days including the Diwali day as a victory festival.

The Return of the Pandavas: According to the great epic 'Mahabharata', it was 'Kartik Amavashya' when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.

The Victory of Rama: According to the epic 'Ramayana', it was the new moon day of Kartik when Lord Ram, Ma Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and conquering Lanka. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.

Coronation of Vikramaditya: One of the greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya was coronated on the Diwali day, hence Diwali became a historical event as well.

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Significance of Diwali in Hinduism

The festival marks the victory of good over evil. The Sanskrit word Deepavali means array of lights that stands for victory of brightness over darkness. As the knowledge of Sanskrit diminished, the name was popularly modified to Diwali, especially in northern India.

On the day of Diwali, many wear new clothes, share sweets and light firecrackers. The North Indian business community usually starts their financial new year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.

Hindus find cause to celebrate this festival for different reasons:

  • As per sacred texts, according to Skanda Purana, the goddess Shakti observed 21 days of austerity starting from ashtami of shukla paksha (waxing period of moon) to get half part of the body of Lord Shiva. This vrata is known as kedhara vrata. Deepavali is the completion day of this austerity. This is the day Lord Shiva accepted Shakti into the left half of the form and appeared as Ardhanarishvara. The ardent devotees observe this 21 days vrata by making a kalasha with 21 threads on it and 21 types of offerings for 35 days. The final day is celebrated as kedhara gauri vrata.

  • Diwali also celebrates the return of Lord Rama, King of Ayodhya, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya from a war in which he killed the demon king Ravana. It is believed that the people lit oil lamps along the way to light their path in the darkness. In North India, the festival is held on the final day of the Vikram calendar. The following day marks the beginning of the North Indian new year, and is called Annakut.

  • It commemorates the killing of Narakasura, an evil demon who created havoc, by Lord Krishna's wife Sathyabhama. This happened in the Dwapara Yuga during this time of Lord Krishna's avatar. In another version, the demon was killed by Lord Krishna himself. In South India, Diwali does not coincide with the beginning of a new year as South Indians follow a different calendar, the Shalivahana calendar.

  • In Bhavishyottara and Bramhavaivarta Purana, Diwali is associated with the Daitya king Bali, who is allowed to return to earth once a year.

     

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Diwali in Sikhism

Sikhs also celebrate Diwali to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone for the Golden Temple in 1577. It is also known as Bandi Chhorh Divas. The Mughal emperor Jahangir arrested the Sikh Guru Hargobind and imprisoned him in Gwalior. Later Jehangir relented and released the Guru. The Guru asked that 52 rulers imprisoned with him should also be released. To the joy of the Sikhs the Guru returned to Amritsar on Diwali and it prompted the followers to celebrate the day with joy and happiness.

On Diwali the Sikhs illuminate their Gurdwaras and homesare with Deew (earthen oil lamps) or candles. Early in the morning, Sikh pilgrims take a dip in the sacred tank while reciting Japji Sahib, and then pray at the Golden Temple. Circumambulation of the tank is done.

 

Diwali in Jainism

Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankaras, attained Nirvana on this day at Pavapuri. According to Jain tradition the chief disciple of Mahavira, Ganadhar Gautam Swami also attained complete knowledge on this very day, thus making Diwali a really special occasion for the Jains to celebrate.

Diwali is first mentioned in Jain books as the date of the nirvana of Lord Mahavira. The oldest use of the word "Diwali/Dipavali" occurs in Harivamsha-Purana written by Acharya Jinasena, composed in Shaka Samvat 705.

Significance of lamps: The Kalpasutra by Acharya Bhadrabahu, 3rd century BC, explains the significance of lights: "गये से भवुज्जोये, दव्वुज्जोयं करिस्समो", with light of knowledge gone, we make light of ordinary matter.

The way Jains celebrate Diwali is different in many respects. There is a note of asceticism in whatever the Jains do, and the celebration of Diwali is not an exception. The Jains celebrate Diwali during the month of Kartik for three days. During this period, among the Shvetambaras, devoted Jains observe fasting and chant the Uttaradhyayan Sutra, which contain the final pravachans of Lord Mahavira, and meditate upon him.

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