Diwali also known as Dipavali in Sanskrit means row of lamps. It is one of the biggest and most important festivals known to Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman after 14 years in exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. When Lord Rama returned to his home down Ayodhya the capital of Rama, the residence of the city light the kingdom with millions of diyas to celebrate his return. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil and is broken out over 5 days.
Day 1 – Dhan Teras – Dhan means wealth and teras means the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Ashwin. On Dhan Teras, the Owl form of the Goddess Laxshmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well-being.
Day 2 – Naraka Chatrudasi marks the vanquishing of the demon, Narakasura by Lord Krishna and his wife, Satyabhama. It signifies the victory of good over evil.
Day 3 – Amavasya means new moon and this day is when Goddess of Wealth, Laxshmi is worshipped. Amavasya also signifies the story of Lord Vishnu in his dwarf incarnation as he vanquished tyrant Bali and banished him to hell. Vishnu then allowed Bali to return to earth once a year to light millions of diyas to dispel the darkness and ignorance on earth.
Day 4 – Bali Pratipada – This is the day that Bali leaves hell and rules the earth following Lord Vishnu’s orders to light diyas.
Day 5 – Bhai Dooj, also known as Yama Dvitiya represents the affection and love brothers and sisters have for one another. The story behind Bhai Dooj starts with Yama, Lord of Death and his sister, Yami. Yama visited Yami and Yami welcomed her brother with an aarti (prayer) and a feast together. As Yama was about to leave, he gave Yami a gift in return of her hospitality and to show appreciation.
I celebrated my Diwali at home this year with Dev. We lit diyas all around the house. I set up a beautiful Puja-ki-Thali (prayer tray) and then we prayed (Laxshmi Puja) and finally ate dinner and had some sweets. Below are my pictures from Diwali!