India Diwali Holiday
Diwali is one of the most popular Indian festivals, also called ‘The Festival of Lights’. It comes around mid-October to mid-November, based on the lunar cycle at that time of the year, and it is also a public holiday in India. It is a wonderful, happy occasion symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. Diwali also denotes a person’s inner transformation by gaining the light of knowledge and spiritual awakening.
People celebrate Diwali all over India with the same enthusiasm but with slight differences in the rituals. There are also many variations in the stories behind the festival’s origin. It is believed that the festival was first celebrated during the period when Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after rescuing Sita from the evil Ravana and completing his exile of fourteen years. Everywhere in the entire city, people lit up earthen lamps or ‘diyas’ to welcome the Lord. Diwali is also the festival for Goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes prosperity, and in Gujarat, people honour her on the festival day. Bengal associates Diwali with the Goddess Kali. Even Sikhs and Jains celebrate this festival.
How Diwali in India is Celebrated
Diwali is a festival of five days, with each day having a special traditional significance.
The highlights of the spectacular festival are as follows:
- Preparation for Diwali: Preparation for the festival begins very well in advance, even up to one month before. People buy new clothes for each family member and prepare varieties of sweets and savoury items. They shop early to buy gift items offer to their relatives on Diwali day.
- Day one – Dhanteras: On this day, people welcome prosperity and good luck by buying jewellery or any metal. Hindus believe that jewellery and metals drive away bad luck. Additionally, buying metals also symbolizes the beginning of the financial year for businesses.
- Day two – Naraka Chathurdashi (Choti Diwali): On this day, people get up very early before sunrise and apply ‘ubtan’ to their body or oil to their hair. After that, they take a holy bath. They adorn new clothes, burst firecrackers, and light diyas.
- Day three – Diwali: This is the most-awaited and the main day of the festival and comes on a new moon (Amavasya). People perform Lakshmi Puja in the evening to welcome the Goddess and bless them with good fortune. They light their house and verandas with candles, diyas, and electric lights. Furthermore, people share gifts among their loved ones, and everyone burst crackers.
- Day four – Govardhan Puja: It is believed that on this day, Indra was defeated by Lord Krishna, who lifted the mountain Govardhan with his little finger. People worship a small hillock and pay their respects to Mount Govardhan by performing puja.
- Day five – Bhai Dooj: On this day, sisters show affection to their brothers by performing a ‘Tilak ceremony’ and preparing a special meal. Brothers gift their sister’s various items, while sisters pray for the long life of their brothers.
Other Preparation During Diwali
- Colourful Rangolis: Among the highlights of Diwali are the wonderful rangolis that girls or ladies of the house draw. Different patterns are drawn on each day. Furthermore, some societies even hold rangoli competitions, with prizes for the best ones.
- Sweets and savouries: Each family prepares different varieties of sweets and savouries for Diwali. In addition to enjoying their food, they also give the delicacies to neighbours, friends, and relatives. The type of sweets prepared is different for each Indian state. Some popular dishes of this festival are boondi ladoo, besan ladoo, Mysore Pak, coconut burfi, besan sev, milk kheer, and other delicacies.
What to Do During Diwali in India
In recent years, Diwali celebrations have undergone a radical change. People are realizing the effects of bursting crackers on the environment, and even children no longer insist on buying lots of firecrackers. We are all conscious of the way crackers’ noises can impact animals and elderly or sick people.
These useful tips will help you enjoy a nice, safe, and eco-friendly Diwali:
- Start your Diwali shopping early with your family or friends and avail of the special discounts that the shops offer.
Clean up your home and dispose of old unwanted items. This will clear away negative energy in your home and bring positivity and prosperity.
- On Naraka Chaturdashi, wake up early morning before dawn and apply oil to your hair and scented herbal ubtan on the skin before taking a bath. You can visit nearby temples to seek the blessings of God for yourself and your family.
- Light up your home with oil diyas and LED lights instead of candles. Diyas are made of eco-friendly material like clay, while candles are petroleum-based and emit toxic fumes, which are bad for the environment. The usage of LED lights will bring energy consumption down by 80%. It would be fun to make beautiful paper lanterns for the occasion. Use organic incense sticks instead of synthetic fresheners for your room.
- Use safe, natural colours for Rangoli like turmeric, kumkum, coffee powder, and create beautiful designs, adding colourful flowers as well.
- Perform Lakshmi Puja on Diwali day and invoke the Goddess’s blessings to usher in prosperity and good luck for your family.
- Visit your neighbours and greet them, wishing them ‘Happy Diwali’, sharing the home- prepared sweets with them. Call your relatives and friends on your phone and wish them or send them beautiful messages wishing them on the occasion.
- It would be nice to avoid firecrackers and celebrate the festival peacefully. with colourful sky lanterns and eco-friendly oil diyas.
- Diwali is one of the most-awaited and grandest Indian festivals, celebrated in the traditional way ushering new beginnings for the entire family. It also marks the celebration of the new year according to the Hindu calendar. Each area of India has a unique way of celebrating it, and it is an excellent time to bond with your family and other close acquaintances.