Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India. This festival holds massive religious, cultural, and social significance and is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm across India and by Indians all over the world. It is a five-day festival that begins on the day of Dhanteras and ends on the day of Bhai Dooj.
5 Days of Diwali
|Days||Name of the Day||Celebration|
|Day 1||Dhanteras||Purchase gold and silver|
|Day 2||Choti Diwali / Naraka Chaturdashi||Light Diyas (Oil Lamps)|
|Day 3||Diwali / Dipawali||Decorate homes with Diyas, Rangolis and Flowers|
|Day 4||Govardhan Puja||Offer food to god|
|Day 5||Bhai Dooj||Sister perform Arati and Tika to Brothers|
Day 1 – Dhanteras
The festival of Diwali is celebrated over a five-day period, with each day representing a different tradition or symbolism. The first day of Diwali is known as Dhanteras, which marks the beginning of the festival. On this day, people purchase gold, silver, and other valuables to bring good fortune into their lives.
Day 2 – Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi
The second day of Diwali is known as Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi. Legend has it that on this day, Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and freed approximately 16,000 women who were held captive by him. In celebration of this victory, people light diyas (oil lamps) in their homes, as this is believed to signify the victory of good over evil.
Day 3 – Diwali or Deepawali
The third day of Diwali is the main day of celebration, which is known as Diwali or Deepavali. This is the day when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after his 14-year exile and his victory over the demon king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lit up the entire city with lamps and diyas to welcome Lord Rama home and celebrate his victory. This is why Diwali is also known as the festival of lights. In celebration of this victory, people decorate their homes with diyas, rangolis, and flowers to bring good luck and positivity into their lives.
Day 4 – Govardhan Puja
The fourth day of Diwali is known as Govardhan Puja, which commemorates an event from Lord Krishna’s life. Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan on his little finger to save the people of the village from a great flood. On this day, people offer food to God to seek his blessings and thank him for his protection.
Day 5 – Bhai Dooj
The fifth and final day of Diwali is known as Bhai Dooj, which celebrates the love between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters perform aarti and tikka ceremony for their brothers, and pray for their well-being. In return, brothers promise to protect their sisters from all harm and offer gifts as a symbol of their love. However, over the years, the way in which Diwali is celebrated has undergone several changes. While it was once only a religious festival, it has now become an occasion for cultural and social celebrations as well.
Religious and Cultural Significance of Diwali
Diwali is also celebrated in honour of Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. It is believed that on this day, she blesses her devotees with good fortune and wealth. In fact, business owners see Diwali as an auspicious time to start new projects or ventures.
Moreover, Diwali holds great cultural significance as well. This is the time when families come together and celebrate with feasts, sweets, and fireworks. People decorate their homes with diyas, rangolis, and flowers to bring good luck and positivity into their lives.
The excitement around Diwali can be seen on the streets, with markets adorned with colourful lights and decorations. Street vendors sell a variety of sweets, snacks, lamps, and other Diwali-related products. The festival also sees the exchange of gifts, which is an important way to express gratitude and love towards family and friends.
Further, it is important to note that Diwali is not just a festival for Hindus, but also celebrated by believers of other religions. For instance, Sikhs consider Diwali as the day when their sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, was freed from prison along with 52 other prisoners. It is also celebrated by Jains, who commemorate the attainment of moksha by their last Tirthankara, Lord Mahavira.
Urge for Eco-friendly Safe Diwali
However, as mentioned earlier, over the years, Diwali has become synonymous with air pollution resulting from the bursting of firecrackers. The bursting of crackers has led to high levels of air and noise pollution, which poses a significant threat to the environment and human health. In addition, the unsafe handling and use of crackers have led to several accidents and injuries.
As such, there is an increasing emphasis on eco-friendly celebrations and the use of noiseless and smokeless fireworks. Several campaigns have been launched to promote eco-friendly Diwali celebrations, which include encouraging people to switch to LED lights, make rangolis using eco-friendly colours, and minimize the use of crackers.
Diwali is a festival that holds great significance in Indian culture. It is a time of celebration, family bonding, and spreading joy and positivity. However, with the increasing awareness of the adverse impact of crackers on the environment and human health, it is essential to celebrate Diwali in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. As we celebrate this festival, let us not forget the values of love, brotherhood, and compassion, and strive to spread only joy and happiness around us.