Diwali is a festival that is celebrated among the Hindu and is commonly referred to as the festival of lights. The celebration falls in the season of autumn in the northern hemisphere and falls in the season of spring in the southern hemisphere. The festivity is one of the festivals that are widely celebrated in the Hindu religion.
Diwali is significant in Hindu as it is believed to symbolize how evil can be overcome by good, how ignorance can be overcome by knowledge and how darkness can be defeated by light. The festivity sees a lot of light and illumination taking place in the temples, homes, streets and even offices. The festivity usually takes place for five days.
What does Diwali or Deepawali mean?
Diwali which is also known as Diwali is a name that originated from the Sanskrit name called ‘Dipavali’. This is a name that means a continuous arrangement of lights. The light depicted in the name can also be used to symbolize knowledge or good. Diwali is hence known as the festivity of lights due to the meaning of its name which is why the festivity sees a lot of lighting being done in various places.
Diwali is a celebration that is believed to have been carried out as one of the harvest festivals. It started in ancient India as mentioned in various Sanskrit records. The festivity was given various names by various rulers in ancient India. In the 7th century, King Harsha for example called the festivity Dipapratipadotsava and lamps would be lit all over and gifts would be given to newlywed couples. The 9th century saw Rajasekhara change its name to Dipamalika and the homes would be cleaned and lamps lit at night in homes and in the streets. There are also various travelers to India during the 11th and the 16th century who described the celebration in their journals where they illustrated how people lit oil lamps in different places. During the Islamic rule of the Mughal Empire, the festivity continued to be celebrated. Records from the colonial period also mention about the Diwali celebrations.
The Diwali festival is celebrated during the season of autumn and spring in the northern and southern hemisphere respectively. According to the Gregorian calendar, Diwali comes between the months of October and November. It is a festival that takes place for five days and the third day being the darkest night of the month of Kartika.
Why is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is a festivity that has a lot of significance. There are various historical events that have been used to mark the significance of the day. All these historical events and stories have been used to show that good can overcome evil and how knowledge is better than ignorance. Diwali is hence celebrated to offer prayers so as to celebrate the defeat of evil, ignorance and darkness.
Festival of Lights
As can be seen from the name, Diwali means a continuous layer of lights. Lights in the name can be used to represent literal light, or even represent other things that are believed to bring light into the world such as knowledge and good. The Diwali festival is thus marked with a lot of lighting being done to illuminate the homes, temples and streets. This is a practice that has lived from one generation to the next since the festival was first celebrated in ancient India.
What are the 5 days of Diwali?
- The day one is referred to as the Dhanteras. This is also the day when the celebrations officially begin. This is a day where people clean and decorate their homes, offices and business places. It’s also a day when people go out to buy items that they will use for Diwali. Lamps that will be lit during the celebrations are also set up in various places.
- Day two is the Choti It is also a day when people buy foods that they will eat during the festivity including sweets.
- Day three is the Diwali or the Lakshmi Puja. It is the day that marks the major celebrations and also people illuminate various places by lighting lamps. People also get to visit their family members on the day. Puja and rituals are also performed on this day.
- Day four is the Annakut or Padwa. It is the day after Diwali and it is set aside to celebrate the bind between couples. Couples are given gifts by their family and friends. There are also people who offer prayers and go to the temple on this day.
- Day five is the Bhai Duj. It is the last day of the celebrations and it mainly celebrates the bond between siblings.
How Do Hindus celebrate Diwali?
Hindus celebrate Diwali through various ways. One is the lighting of lamps in their homes, offices and business places. There are also days where Puja is offered and various rituals are performed. The festival also sees some people visit their families to strengthen the bond between them. A lot of foods are cooked during the day especially sweets and people also get to buy new outfits to wear during the celebrations.
What happens during Diwali?
- People buy new outfits and jewellery that they will wear during the celebrations.
- People also shop for foods that will be eaten and this mainly includes sweets.
- The lighting of lamps is done to illuminate the streets, homes, offices and other places.
- People visit their loved ones so that the bond between families can be strengthened.
- Puja and other rituals are offered to various gods like Krishna.
What food do you eat on Diwali?
On the main day of Diwali, people eat homemade foods and eat together with their families. People also buy or make sweets which are made out of rice, flour, butter, solid milk, etc. sweets and deserts eaten during the celebrations are known as Mithai.
What do you wear for Diwali?
People purchase new outfits for the Diwali festivals. These outfits are most usually brightly colored so that it can illuminate the main mantra of the day which is overcoming darkness with light. People also purchase and wear jewellery on this day to add to the sparkle of the celebrations.
There are various ways that one can maintain an eco-friendly Diwali. This is by;
- Reducing the consumption of energy. Instead of lighting electric bulbs, people can decide to light candles or oil lamps so as to conserve energy.
- Reducing the use of fire crackers as they result into massive air pollution and noise pollution.
- One should also ensure that they clean up after the celebrations to ensure that the streets are not left dirty.
Diwali is a festival that is not only popular in India but it has gained popularity all over the world. The five day festivity is marked by the lighting of lamps in various places. It is why it is known as the festival of lights. Diwali also sees a lot of people come together to share meals and bond. It is important to ensure that we celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way so as to make sure that we conserve the environment.