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Diwali – The Festival Of Lights
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Diwali or Deepavali is an important festival celebrated in India sometime between mid-october to mid-November. In 2011, Diwali will be celebrated on the 26th of October. It is the last new moon day or "Amavasya “of the month of Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar. It ends the month of Ashwin and ushers in the month of Karthik. Diwali brings in the Hindu New Year and as such it is customary to worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity on this day.
The word Diwali or Deepavali comes from two Sanskrit words deep meaning lamp and avali meaning row or line. Thus Diwali literally means row of lamps. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama returned to Ajodhya on this day with Sita and Lakshman after vanquishing the demon Ravana.Thus residents of Ajodhya lit diyas or earthen lamps all over the city to dispel the darkness and give a dazzling welcome to their beloved King. In keeping with this tradition, people decorate their houses with diyas and lights on Diwali. The festival is symbolic of the victory of good over evil; of knowledge over ignorance. The festival is spread over five days from Dhanteras to Bhai Dooj. The dates are as follows:
24th October 2011: Dhan Teras/Dhan Trayodashi
25th October 2011: Naraka Chaturdashi/Choti Diwali
Diwali 2011 date: 26th October 2011: Badi Diwali/Main Deepavali/Lakshmi Pujan
27th October 2011: Bali Pratipada/Annakoot
28th October 2011: Bhai Dooj/Bhatri Dwitiya
Dhan Teras/Dhan Trayodashi
It is believed to be an auspicious day for buying new utensils or silver/gold coins or jewellery.According to Hindu mythology Goddess Lakshmi had emerged from Ksheer Sagar on this day.
Lord Krishna along with Satyabhama defeated and killed the demon Naraka on this day.Lord Krishna had taken an oil bath after this victory to rid himself of the bloodstains.This ritual of oil bath is still followed in parts of Western and Southern India. Crackers burst in the early hours of the day.
The Goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi is worshipped on this day and people pray for her benevolent blessings to start off the New Year. Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles is also worshipped on Diwali.
Lord Vishnu in his Vamana avatar had defeated King Bali and banished him to the nether world. On the behest of Bhakt Prahalad, Vishnu agreed to let Bali be worshipped on earth on this day.
Annakoot,where a mound of 56 cooked and edible items are offered to the goddess, is reminiscent of Lord Krishna holding up the Govardhan parbat to save the people of Vrindavan from Indra's wrath.
This is a festival that celebrates the loving bond between brothers and sisters. The sisters invite their brothers to their home on this day. It is customary for the brother to partake of a meal prepared by the sister while she receives gifts from him.
Diwali is a time for rejoicing and revelry. The festival is synonymous with lights,decorations, gifts, sweets, fireworks and is a time for bonding with near and dear ones.
Author's Bio:Ackley has penned down different write-ups on indian festivals.In this article he briefly describes many things about deepavali 2011
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