Again It's that time of the year when the homes will be adorned with innumerable lights and earthen diyas, people wear new vibrant color clothes, exchange gifts and enjoy tasty delicacies. The aroma is completely mesmerized by the festive spirit, that comes alive with 'the festival of lights' - Diwali.
The festival of splendour and happiness is celebrated by all cultures and religions; from detailed, long poojas to the night long card parties. From colourful earthen lamps & lanterns to fine rangolis - the festival of Diwali has something for everyone.
Also Read: The Homecoming Of Goddess
We all know that Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Ram, consort Sita and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya, after an exile period of 14 years. But do you know why this magnificent festival actually stretches for 5 days?
The religious significance of glittering 5 days of Diwali are listed below. Read on!
This day marks the onset of stunning and colourful carnival of Diwali. It falls on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha, thus also known as Dhanvantri Trayodashi. As per the legends of Samudra Manthan, when devas and asuras were churning the ocean, Lord Dhanwantari came out of the ocean with Ayurveda and various healing practices for the benefit of mankind. The science of medicine that we use today was given by Lord Dhanwantari. There is a custom to buy something new such as gold or silver ornaments, utensils, clothes etc. on the occasion of Dhanteras.
This day is commonly known as 'Choti Diwali'. Narak Chaturdashi derives its significance from the story of ferocious demon Narakasura who kidnapped 16,000 'gopis'. He was defeated by Lord Krishna and his consort Devi Satyabhama. Prayers are offered and diyas are lighted in the evening.
The second day of Diwali is also known as 'Kali Chaudas'. According to famous scripture Devi Mahapuran, It is believed that Goddess Kali killed the demon Rakhtbeej. Rakhtbeej was given a boon by Brahma that millions of his clones will be created as his blood will fall to the ground. Goddess Shakti took the form of Kali and drank all his blood to destroy the evil force. That's why Bengalis worship Devi Kali on Diwali night. This puja is called 'Shyama Puja'.
Here comes the big day! For which we wait for every year. Hindus cleanse and decorate their homes, wear new clothes and gather in evening to invoke the Goddess of wealth - Laxmi. Along with the Goddess, Kuber and Lord Ganesha is also worshipped, who is the remover of all obstacles. As per the story of Samudra Manthan, on this day Devi Laxmi emerged from the ocean when devas and asuras churned it. Once Indra disrespected sage Durvasa who in turn cursed Indra dev that all the wealth (Laxmi) prevailing in this world will vanish. Later on, Devi Laxmi returned in Samudra Manthan episode.
That's why the Goddess of prosperity is worshipped by everyone wholeheartedly. Gifts are exchanged, diyas are lighted and rangolis are drawn to welcome Devi Laxmi. 'Puja Mandap' is decorated to impress Devi Laxmi.
This day is also called as 'Annakut'. The legend goes that Indra dev was provoked and tried to submerge the town of Gokul. But Lord Krishna saved the people of Gokul from the wrath of Indra dev by lifting the Govardhan Mountain to provide succour. From then onwards a blessing was bestowed on the Govardhan Mountain that it will be honoured through the ages. The tradition has been followed ever since. According to the conventions, the ritual of building cow dung hillocks is the prime task which is worshipped as Lord Govardhan (a form of Lord Krishna).
Bhai dooj marks the end of 5 day long festivities. This day is dedicated to the strong bond between a brother and a sister. Many moons ago, in the Vedic era, Yamaraj (the Lord of death) visited his sister Yamuna on Bhai Dooj. He gave his sister a boon that whosoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins. They will achieve 'Moksha'. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to enquire of their welfare.
Basically the festival of Diwali is an integration of 5 varied philosophies, where each day symbolizes a special thought. People celebrate these 5 days of festivities with true understanding, in order to uplift and enrich the their lives.
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