5 Days of Diwali Celebrations
Diwali is a joyous celebration of five days and each of these days has a spiritual and religious symbolism attached to it. So, it is not simply five days of fun and frolic and then back to the reality of everyday life when all the religious knowledge is forgotten and ignored.
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every such occasion special. The spiritual and religious knowledge that lies behind the customs of each of the occasions of Diwali, when imbibed in our day to day lives can make a world of difference to the quality of our real lives. In this manner, these five days that come each year serve as a valuable reminder of the spiritual and religious knowledge that we might have forgotten by getting lost in worldly affairs. Seen in this light, we enjoy the five days of celebrations of Diwali time even more since we understand the meaning behind each of the customs and don’t just follow them since we see everyone around us doing the same. There is a rich dimension to the celebrations that must be understood and imbibed in our behavior and value systems if we are to enjoy Diwali in the real sense and as is popularly said often when we make these changes in ourselves everyday of our life is a Diwali (‘Har din Diwali’). Let us explore the mythological stories and the customs that we can learn so much from further.
The main day of Diwali follows. On this day, celebrations begin in the morning with new clothes, sweets and delicacies doing the rounds of the house and neighbourhood. Although planning and preparations have begun many weeks before Diwali, nothing can match the flurry and activity of the day when it arrives. The meticulously cleaned house assumes grand form with grand garlands and torans placed along the doorways, the fresh aroma of the flowers wafting through the house. Rangolis decorate all corners of the house and the bright colours bring a cheer of happiness. All of these auspicious elements are meant to appease Laxmi and welcome her to the home. An elaborate puja of Goddess Laxmi is performed in the evening, followed by rounds of deafening, colourful fireworks lit to illumine the dark sky. Diwali Gifts are exchanged among friends and relatives. It is a common practice for people living overseas to plan for Diwali well in advance. Many weeks before Diwali is celebrated, people send lavish Diwali Gifts to India and partake festivities here. Diwali is a festival where people of all faiths come together. They would either meet at each other’s homes and exchange wishes, or come together in celebrations at open places to enjoy the colourful magic of the crackers.
Govardhan Puja is performed on the day after Diwali. On this day, the miracle of little Lord Krishna lifting the lofty Govardhan mountain to offer sanctuary is relived. Mounds of food and sweets are made and offered to the incarnate of Lord Vishnu. The deity is bathed in milk and decorated in finery before the offerings are placed before Him and then distributed as Prasad. The temples are especially crowded on this day, as people flock to them for blessings and sweets. This is a very special day for children, who have plenty to learn from history and legends.
The final day is known as Bhai Duj. The unspoken bond between brother and sister is given new lease. Brothers travel long distances for a chance to spend a few cherished moments in the company of their sister. They take with them sweets and gifts and renew their promise of protection and assurance. The sisters give their unconditional love, and ensure the brother is taken care of and fed well before he leaves for home. The festival of Bhai Duj is one which is keenly awaited, especially by the sister who has several miles that come between her and the brother.
Diwali is celebrated by everyone regardless of caste and social status. The beauty of the festival lies in its ability to be all encompassing, and the delight that is shared by everyone equally. Though people in different parts of India celebrate Diwali in different ways and styles, the essence of Diwali never really changes. More important than knowing How to Celebrate Diwali is understanding and imbibing its spirit.
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