Dipawali - Diwali (Festival of Light)

Festival of Light

In October-November, that is in Ashwin/Kartik, comes the popular Hindu (Indian) festival of Diwali (or Dipawali) which falls on a New Moon or Amavasya. Several legends are associated with the festival. One legend is that the lights are lit and there is rejoicing because Rama was returning to Ayodhya after his exile. Bengalis dedicate it to Kali, while in South India, it commemorates Krishna's victory over Narakasura. It is also considered, especially in West India, as the day on which Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, emerged from the Milky Way. Diwali is the New Year for Jains and marks the beginning of the New Financial Year for traditional Indian companies. It is also considered as the day of the visit of King Bali whose arrogance Lord Vishnu suppressed. It is an occasion when people give one another sweets and fireworks are exploded in the evening.

Every home, however lowly, is decorated with twinkling diyas (clay lamp with oil) to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Unlit house are, it is believed, overlooked by the goddess. Rich floral designs on the doorsteps and firework , illumination lend colour and picturesqueness to this festival. This festival lasts for five days. Each day is known by different names and has its own importance in the string of festivity. These days are Dhanteras (new goods are purchased), Narakchaudas (also known as Choti Dipawali), Dipawali (most auspicious day), Pareva (no sale and shopping is done) and Bhai Dooj.

The new commercial year begins with Diwali and businessmen open new account books on this day. Diwali heralds the approach of winter and the winter crops are shown. According to a popular belief, this loveliest of Indian festival celebrates Rama's victorious return to his capital from exile. This auspicious festival is celebrated in the month of October/ November.

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