Happy Diwali 2021: Today we’ll talk about Diwali Legends and Traditions. Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in India and around the world.
Diwali 2021 – Happy Diwali 2021 to all of you.
This year’s Diwali, or Deepavali, falls on the Thursday, 4th of November but the festivities last five days. Each day has its own celebrations and rituals, and different legends and traditions are associated with Diwali in different parts of India.
What are the 5 days of Diwali in 2021?
- Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali
- Lakshmi Puja
- Govardhan Puja or Parewa
- Bhai Dooj
The Hindu epic Ramayana tells how Lord Rama travelled to the island of Lanka to rescue his beloved consort Sita, who had been kidnapped by Lanka’s evil king Ravana. With his assistant Hanuman the monkey god, and his army of monkeys, Rama made it to Lanka, fought Ravana victoriously and returned safely home with Sita.
It is said that as Rama and Sita returned to the town of Ayodhya in North India, the residents lit oil lamps to welcome them home. Small oils lamps, diyas, are still lit today to celebrate Rama’s victory over the demon king. Rama’s victory over Ravan also symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and of good over evil.
Diwali also honours and celebrates Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi puja (a religious ritual) is a key part of Diwali celebrations. Diwali lasts five days and the third and main day (Amavasya) is usually devoted to Lakshmi, although in some parts of India Lakshmi puja is also performed on the first of the five days (Dhanteras).
Lakshmi is said to visit the homes of those devoted to her and bring prosperity and good fortune for the new year (Diwali also starts a new business year) and houses are scrupulously cleaned for Lakshmi’s visit as the goddess is believed to visit the cleanest house first. The small oil lamps and candles that are lit during Diwali are also meant to welcome Lakshmi to the house.
Lakshmi apparently brings wealth and prosperity to anyone who gambles during Diwali, and gambling is a popular Diwali tradition in some parts of India. According to a legend the Hindu god Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati were once playing dice on Diwali, and as Parvati won she promised that anyone who gambles on Diwali will get prosperity in the coming year.
Exchanging gifts is an important Diwali custom. Gifts are exchanged between friends, family members, neighbours and business colleagues. People visit each other’s houses bringing gifts and receiving gifts in return, and employers or business owners give presents and bonuses to their workforce. Diwali gifts used to be homemade sweets, dried fruits or other simple offerings but today can include giant gift hampers, jewellery, gadgets and other much more expensive and extravagant items. Diwali cards are also sent and exchanged during the festival.
Diwali Rangoli (kollam in South India) are traditional patterns and designs that are painted outside houses, usually with rice flour or vermilion powder, and during Deepavali rangoli are made especially attractive and decorated with candles, oil lamps and fresh flowers.
Deepavali is not just a Hindu festival. Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs as the day when the sixth guru of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind, was released from prison in 1619. The foundation the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest sites for Sikhs, was laid on Diwali. For Jains Diwali is the day when the religion’s founder Lord Mahavira entered Nirvana.
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