India is celebrating Diwali, the biggest and the brightest festival in the country with utmost enthusiasm. Lights, colours, flowers, rangolis, crackers, traditional sweets, friends, family and get togethers are some of the fun activities that every Indian family will do on the occasion.
Diwali, Deepawali or Deepavali as it is popularly known in India, is a Hindu festival that is celebrated every year in autumn across the nation. It is considered a very auspicious occasion not only in India but also in Fiji, Guyana, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal and other countries.
Spiritually, it signifies the victory of light over darkness and of good over evil. Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali to celebrate the homecoming of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, after 14 years in exile.
To honour the return and illuminate their path, villagers had then lit up diyas (earthen lamps) to welcome them and since then every year, people follow the same. The celebrations include decorating homes, temples, offices and residential societies with lights, diyas, flowers and rangolis; wearing new clothes and participating in family prayers.
After the prayers, from little children to the elders, everyone enjoys fireworks, following a family feast and an exchange of gifts. However, the festival is not only a day-long affair, the Diwali festivities extend over a five-day period.
Festivities start with Dhanteras, where people worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, followed by Naraka Chaturdasi. According to Hinduism, demon Narakasura was killed on this day by Lord Krishna.
Diwali is celebrated on the third day and then Padva is observed the next day dedicated to the husband-wife relationship and the festivities end with Bhai Dooj, dedicated to the sister-brother bond, on the fifth day.
On the day when Hindus celebrate Diwali, the Sikh community in India celebrates Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from the prison.
While in the eastern regions, people worship goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi and call the festival Kali Puja, in other regions, Govardhan Puja is celebrated with hundreds of different cuisines prepared and offered to Lord Krishna.
Not only in India, but Diwali is now a very popular festival in foreign countries as well. Many people have started celebrating the festival. They burst crackers and also decorate their houses.
So wish you all, A very happy and prosperous Diwali. I wish that you'll always shine as bright as Diwali Diyas and remain as sweet as Diwali Deserts!
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