Diwali: All you want to know about its Origin, Significance, Customs & Traditions

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Diwali is one of the most significant Hindu festivals that celebrated all over India and even abroad. Also known as Deepavali, Diwali is the festival of lights that spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. At most places Diwali is celebrated for five days.
Diwali is historically a Hindu religion festival having its origin in the Era of Lord Rama or probably even before that. However, Diwali is also celebrated in Sikhism and Jainism but for separate reasons. Sikh celebrates Diwali as Bandi Chhor Divas and Jain celebrates it as a day to commemorate Mahavir.
Diwali Origin and Significance
Diwali is historically a Hindu festival having its origin in the Era of Lord Rama or probably even before that at the time of churning of milky ocean when Goddess Lakshmi came out as the boon to the Gods and whole humanity.
Diwali Customs
Various deities are worshipped and appeased during five days Diwali festivity. However Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, Lord Kuber are the most prominent names which come to the mind when Diwali Puja is mentioned.
Lord Yamraj, God Dhanvantari, God Hanuman, Goddess Kali, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Krishna and Demon King Bali are other prominent deities who are worshipped during Diwali.
Date and Time
As per Amanta Hindu Calendar, five days Diwali festivity spans over two months.
Diwali begins - Krishna Paksha Trayodashi (28th day) of Ashwin (7th month)
Diwali ends - Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (2nd day) of Kartik (8th month)
As per Purnimanta Calendar
Diwali begins - Krishna Paksha Trayodashi (13th day) of Kartik (8th month)
Diwali ends - Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (17th day) of Kartik (8th month)
Diwali is celebrated as per luni-solar based Hindu calendar, its date(s) varies on Gregorian calendar and usually falls in mid-October and mid-November. Diwali Calendar lists all five days of Diwali festivities for 1000 years.
Diwali Festivals List
Day 1 - Dhantrayodashi
Day 2 - Narak Chaturdashi
Day 3 - Lakshmi Puja
Day 4 - Govardhan Puja
Day 5 - Bhaiya Dooj
The third day of Lakshmi Puja is the most important day of five days festivities and most of the times this day is referred as Diwali Puja itself. Apart from above five festivals, the most famous festivals for which Diwali is known, Diwali Calendar lists several other festivals which are celebrated during 5 days Diwali festivities.
Diwali Observance
Numerous rituals are followed during Diwali. These rituals vary from state to state and within a state region to region. However,
Cleaning and decorating homes usually by giving new whitewash or fresh paints,
Buying new clothes and jewelry,
Buying new household items either big or small,
Preparing traditional home-made sweets,
Worshipping deities,
Lighting Diya(s) and decorating home with blinking electric lamps,
Bursting firecrackers,
Trying Diwali remedies to gain wealth,
Visiting relatives and family friends,
Distributing sweets, dry-fruits and gifts,
Calling distant family members, relatives and friends to exchange Diwali wishes are the most common activities during Diwali.
(With inputs from Drikpanchang.com