India > Festivals > Diwali 2017

Festival Diwali or Deepavali

Diwali also spelled as Devali or Deepavali (Deep - Lamp and Vali - Array), means an Array of Lamps or Rows of diyas (oil lamp). It is celebrated after 20 days of Dussehra, on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin or Kartick (between mid-October and mid-November). The festival, Diwali is celebrated throughout five days in different religions, namely Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Deepavali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.

Diwali or Deepavali in India: Traditionally, Diwali is a Hindu festival and declared as a Central Government Holiday or Gazetted Holiday in India. This festival less or more celebrates in all the states and Union Territories of India. Diwali is called as Deepabali or Diwaly in some places, especially in West Bengal this festival is celebrated as Kali Puja. Celebration Day:
On 2015: 11th November, 2015 (Wednesday)
On 2016: 30th October, 2016 (Sunday)
On 2017: 19th October, 2017 (Thursday) in North India and 18th October, 2017 (Wednesday) in South India
On 2018: 7th November, 2018 (Wednesday) in North India, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and 6th November, 2018 (Tuesday) in south india
On 2019: 27th October, 2019 (Sunday) in all over India

Story behind the festival Diwali

Legend according to Hindus: According to Hindu epic Ramayana, Dasaratha the king of Ayodhya is forced by his wives Kaikeyi, to throne his son Rama Vanvas (banishment) for fourteen years. Rama, was the next king of Ayodhya. So, Kaikeyi, step-mother of Rama, demands that her real son Bharata will be next king of Ayodhya.

In the time of Vanvas (banishment) Rama defeating the demon-king Ravana. When King Rama came back in his kingdom then people of Ayodhya celebrate the day with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst firecrackers.

Other Religions: In Jainism, Diwali marks the attainment of Moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC. In Sikhism, Deepavali commemorates the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji to Amritsar after freeing 52 Hindu kings imprisoned in Fort Gwalior by defeating Emperor Jahangir; the people lit candles and diyas to celebrate his return. This is the reason Sikhs also refer to Deepavali as Bandi Chhorh Divas, "the day of release of detainees".

Five Days of Diwali

The first and second day of Diwali:

The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras. It is in fact the thirteenth lunar day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik. On this day, Lord Dhanwantari came out of the ocean with Ayurvedic for mankind. Hindus should bathe at sunset, and offer a lighted deeya (oil lamp) with Prasad at worship time to God Yama Raj (the Lord of Death).

The second day of dipawali is called Narak Chaturdasi. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear.

The third day of Diwali:

The third day when Hindus worship to Goddess Lakshmi is performed to achieve the blessings of wealth and prosperity, the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. The word Lakshmi is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksya, meaning aim or goal, and she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, both material and spiritual. Lakshmi is the household goddess of maximum Hindu families.

Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful Goddess of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility. It is believed that on the day of festival the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth.

The fourth and fifth day of Diwali:

On this day, Govardhan Pooja is performed. Many thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna defeated Indra (the god of thunder and rain). Lord Krishna holds the Govardhan Mountain on his finger to rescue the people of Vraja village from a heavy rain and flood.

The fifth day of the Diwali is called Bhai Teeka or Bhai Dooj. It is a day dedicated to sisters according to Hinduism Yama (Yamraj, the Lord of death) visited his sister Yamuna on this day. He gave his sister a Vardhan (a boon).

This day marks the end of the five days of deepavali celebrations. This is also known as Bhai fota among Bengalis. Bhai fota is an event especially among Bengalis when the sister prays for her brother's safety, success and well being.

Celebrations of Diwali

Deepavali celebrations are spread over five days, from Dhanteras to Bhaiduj. In some places like Maharshtra it starts with Vasu Baras. All the days except Diwali are named according to their designation in the Hindu calendar.

Diwali - the festival of lights is celebrated with great enthusiasm by all Indians all over the world. Deepavali is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil. Diwali festival in India is known throughout the world for its celebratory fervor. Fresh flowers, exchanges of gifts, new clothes, meeting new and old friends and offerings of traditional sweets are all about Diwali celebration in India.

Diwali in India is even considered auspicious for shopping, inaugurations of new homes, business deals or for starting any new ventures and projects. Shops are decorated and there are often discounts given by the shopkeepers. Each region of India celebrates Diwali in its own unique way.

Diwali is traditionally known as the "festival of lights", for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called Diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, gardens, verandahs, on the walls built around the home and also on the roof tops.