Diwali or the festival of lights is one of the biggest festivals in India. It is also celebrated in different parts of Southern Asia. The festival has its roots in Hindu mythology. According to Hindu traditions and beliefs when Lord Rama vanquished the demon king Ravana and came back to his kingdom of Ayodha, he was welcomed with lit oil lamps. That tradition is still kept alive and this is celebrated as the victory of good over evil.
Diwali or Deepawali (as it is called in certain parts of Southern India) is celebrated over a span of 5 days. During these 5 days of Diwali, people participate in a lot of festivities and observe various rituals. People clean their houses and decorate their homes with bright lights. But most importantly they spend time with their families exchanging gifts and spreading cheer. The young and elderly alike take part in celebrating the festival with lights and fireworks. Although over the years more and more people opt to celebrate a noise and pollution-free diwali due to the impact the fire crackers have on the environment and stray animals.
This festival is celebrated in the month of Karthik according to the Hindu calendar. The date usually falls in the month of October or November. One of the most noticeable aspects of Diwali is lighting little clay lamps called ‘diyas’. These diyas have been a mainstay for Diwali for a long time dating back to the ancient Diwali celebrations. These oil lamps are instrumental in getting people all pumped up for this festival of lights. Another huge aspect of Diwali is celebrating family bonds and friendships. Loved ones and family members cherish their time together by exchanging gifts and sweets. From dry fruits and chocolates to traditional sweets, apparel, electronic gadgets are given as gift hampers. Big brands run sale events and provide huge discounts and deals during the festival. There are mouthwatering offers on clothing, fashion accessories, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and large appliances like TVs, washing machines, refrigerators, air conditioners and much more. In fact, every year people look forward to these Diwali sales to buy various products.
The online stores also run big sales offering even bigger deals. You can buy anything you want for your friends, family members or yourself and avail discounts as much as 50% off and more! Apart from the traditional hampers and gift baskets, there is a new trend of gifting – Gift Cards. Gift Cards are growing in their popularity because they give the recipient the freedom to choose their own gift. Moreover, it reduces the time and effort spent on finding the perfect Diwali gift. If you are yet to decide on getting your loved ones a gift, then go with discounted Diwali Gift Cards and save money, time and effort!
How do the Diwali celebrations look like?
Here are the five days of Diwali and the rituals associated with them:
- Dhanteras: People celebrate Dhanvantari, the god of health and medicine. It is also celebrated as the day Goddess Lakshmi came out of the ocean with a pot of gold. There’s a lot of shopping that takes places during this day, especially of gold.
- Narak Chaturdasi: This is also known as ‘Choti Diwali’ It is celebrated in fond remembrance of Krishna’s victory over Narakasura.
- Lakshmi Puja: It is considered as the main day of Diwali festivities. On this day, people clean their houses, dress up, and offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha.
- Padwa: It is also known as Govardhan Puja. A lot of food is prepared on this day. People recreate the Govardhan hill, either with mud or cow dung, that was lifted by Krishna to protect the villagers.
- Bhai Duj: This one is especially dedicated to the sisters. Brothers celebrate Bhai Duj with their sisters by visiting them for long life and prosperity.
What are the must-visit places during the festival of Diwali?
With Diwali around the corner, you should definitely give Varanasi a visit. During Diwali, thousands and thousands of devotees come here to pay their respects, witness the breathtaking Sandhya Aarti and then float diyas onto the holy river Ganga. Set on the banks of Ganges, the holy city of Varanasi is beautifully lit up during Diwali, a sight to behold. Don’t miss out on the entertaining Ram Leela and if you have time on your hands, do go for a darshan at the Annapurna Temple. The patron deity Annapurna is the Hindu goddess of food and nourishment. The Annacoot festival, held on the day after Diwali draws a huge crowd of devotees every year.
This city celebrates the festival of lights in its own special and unique way. Known as the city of joy, Kolkata has amazing festivities lined up for you during Diwali. Do swing by and attend the larger than life Kali Pujas held in pandals and temples. Beautiful decorations and amazing prasad aside, the city is draped in pretty lights.
This one is down South, one of the places that are decorated and lit during Diwali is the Meenakshi Temple. Other than you can also shop be it Vengala Kadai street or South Masi street, you are bound to find some of the best fabrics to take home. Another thing you can enjoy here is mouthwatering food.
Source: Travel Twosome
It is where ‘The Golden Temple’ is and during Diwali it is decorated beautifully. The perfect scenic look with adjacent Sarovar having thousands of diyas floating will fill you up with joy. While there are fireworks just like every place that celebrates Diwali, there’s also Border Parade that you can attend.
While everyone’s in the festive mood, there’s bound to be a lot chaos and for some it can be overwhelming. If you want to escape all of that, then plan a trip to Manali and enjoy Diwali with your close group of friends and family. These hills of Himachal are bound to bring you peace and joy.
Festivals in general bring people together. Diwali more so than anything else. From children to adults everyone’s excited about this special occasion. Whether it’s about getting new clothes or buying gold or hogging amazing food. People celebrate it with to their heart’s content. This Diwali celebrate the festival of lights without bursting crackers; help save the environment and protect the stray animals. Have a fun and safe Diwali.
About Author: Afshan Fatima is an inquisitive writer and an active listener who loves to bake in her free time. When she is not doing all that, she is sleeping.