Diwali is the biggest, the most celebrated and most joyous of all festivals in India. The country looks resplendent on a Diwali day as houses and streets are illuminated with diyas, candles and strands of electric bulbs to mark the Festival of Lights. The brightness of Diwali symbolizes the end of the darkness of ignorance and beginning of light that enlightens all.
Diwali is celebrated on the amavasya of the no moon day in the month of Kartik (October-November). The festival commemorates the day when Lord Ram was coronated as the King of Ayodhya on his return with wife Sita and brother Laxman after 14 years of exile and slaying of the demon King Ravana. Hindus, located anywhere in the world celebrate the five-day-long festival of Diwali with gusto and verve.
Biggest Shopping Event
Diwali is the biggest shopping festival in India. Market places wear a festive look and shopkeepers lure people with special discounts and attractive schemes. This is because Diwali marks a New Years time for Hindus. People go in for home renovation and buy new clothes for festival. It is considered auspicious to buy some new utensil or jewelry too. Besides, Diwali is the biggest gift giving festival in India. People greet all their friends and relatives with a box of sweets, dry fruits and a Gift. Corporate India too greets its patrons and employees with Diwali Gift to build cordial relationship.
Diwali Mela is organized before or after Diwali by various societies in urban India to help people get together and greet one-another a Happy Diwali. Diwali Milans holds all the more importance for the Hindus staying outside India because for them it is the means to enjoy the festival in a joyful spirit and acquaint children with their rich cultural heritage. These days Diwali Mela have become a shopping event too, as it houses stalls selling Diwali special gift items. Cultural programmes and games are also organized to regale people.
Time for Family Reunion
Diwali is a major time for family reunion in India. People staying away from home rush back at the time of Diwali to celebrate the festival with family and friends. Reunion of loved ones makes Diwali a happy occasion for the family and they celebrate to the hilt.
Rows of Lamps
The word Diwali means rows of lamps, on the day of Diwali, people lit up oil lamps and candles all over their house. Some also decorate house with strands of electric bulbs. The country looks bright and gay just as the mood of the people. It is said the illumination is done to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Rangoli - the traditional colourful pattern is also prepared in the front courtyards and is embellished with diyas.
Laxmi Puja or the worship of Goddess of Wealth is a significant part of Diwali celebrations. Lakshmi Puja takes place after sunset on a Diwali day. All members of the house gather at the worship place and dutifully perform rituals to appease Goddess Lakshmi. People believe that Goddess Lakshmi visits every house on Diwali and give blessings of peace and prosperity.
Fire - Crackersbr> Lighting of fire-crackers is an intrinsic part of Diwali celebrations. As Diwali signifies victory of good over evil, it is believed that burning crackers symbolizes reduction of evil to ashes. A variety of crackers like phuljharis, anar, chakri, rockets and bombs are lit of Diwali.
Exchange of Gifts and Sweets
After Lakshmi-Puja, the traditionally dressed people visit friends and relatives to greet each other a Happy Diwali with a box of sweets and Diwali Gifts. To those living in different cities people send Diwali Cards and gifts through post or through various online Diwali shopping sites. This exchange of greetings helps to strengthen relationship amongst people.
Gambling with friends and family is another traditional feature of Diwali festival. Curiously, people consider it auspicious to gamble on Diwali day. It is believed that Goddess Parvati played a game of dice with her husband, Lord Shiva on the day of Diwali. Later, Goddess Parvati declared that whosoever gamble on Diwali night would have a prosperous year ahead. Traditional card games like Rummy and Flush are popular on Diwali.