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When is Diwali?
Joyous and enchanting festival of Diwali is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety all over India on the 15th day of the dark fortnight in Hindu month of Kartik. This is the month of October - November according to the English Calendar Year. Diwali Festival is celebrated on the amavasya or the dark no moon night. The darkness of the night, however, is spelled away with the traditional Diwali earthen diyas and candles that are lit in all houses and every street of India.

The day of Diwali comes 20 days after the popular festival of Dussehra. Divali marks the day when Lord Ram was crowned as the King of Ayodhya on his return to Kingdom after 14 years of exile. Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya with brother Laxman and wife Sita after slaying of the demon King Ravana. Everybody in Ayodhya was happy and jubilant when Ram became the King hence they decorated their houses with diyas and there was light and joy every year. Since then started the custom of celebrating Diwali.

End of Harvest Season
In the largely agrarian Indian economy every festival has some relevance to agriculture. Diwali is no different. For the large farming community in India Diwali marks the end of the harvest of Kharif crops. Farmers are happy with the agricultural produce and thank Goddess Lakshmi - the Goddes of Wealth for the prosperity. Some believe that the custom of worshiping Goddess Lakshmi began due to this reason. Delicacies of pounded semi cooked rice (called Poha or Pova) taken from the fresh produce are prepared on the day of Diwali.

Beginning of New Year
For Hindus Deepavali marks the beginning of New Year. Businessmen start working on new ledgers and account books on the day of Diwali marking the beginning of New Year.

For farmers’ end of one agricultural season and starting of another marks the beginning of New Year. Hence Diwali Festival heralds the beginning of New Year for them as it marks the end of Kharif and beginning of Rabi season. The festival of Diwali is also called Gudi Padava in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka. ‘Padva’ is supposed to be the corrupt form of the original word for crop. Gudi Padava is celebrated again in the month of March when the Rabi season comes to an end.

Diwali 2010
November 5, 2010

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