Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Hindu festival that spans five days. It is celebrated during the months of Ashvin and Kartika, which happens between mid-September and November. The holiday celebrates a religious victory of good over evil: to commemorate the triumph, celebrants illuminate their homes, light fireworks, and participate in other rituals. Filled with rituals and events for each day, it’s one of the most awaited and celebrated festivals of the year,
For a greater part of Hindus, particularly in northern and focal India, Diwali marks the get back of gods Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman to Ayodhya following 14 years of exile. Celebrants of the occasion across India light oil lights and candles to assist with directing Rama and his better half Sita home.
Day 1: Dhanteras – Embarking on a Prosperous Journey
Dhanteras, the inception of Diwali, ushers in the spirit of prosperity. The word “Dhan” signifies wealth, and “Teras” marks the 13th day of the lunar fortnight. Devotees seek blessings from Lord Dhanvantari, the divine healer, and Goddess Lakshmi, the embodiment of wealth and abundance. Lighting a diya invokes the divine presence of Lord Dhanvantari and Goddess Lakshmi, while buying new utensils symbolizes the welcoming of wealth.
Day 2: Naraka Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali) – Illuminating the Path of Virtue
Naraka Chaturdashi, or Choti Diwali, is the second day of the festival. In mythology, Lord Krishna defeated the demon Naraksura, and freed the women in his captivity. On this day, people pray to Goddess Kali to help them get rid of evil spirits and cleanse their sins. At the break of dawn, it is customary to take an oil bath. Oil lamps are also lit to symbolize the victory and the dispelling of darkness.
Day 3: Diwali or Deepawali
The third day is the heart of the festival, dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi, the divine bestower of wealth and prosperity. Homes come alive with diyas, electric lights are placed around the house, and artistic Rangoli patterns adorn doorsteps. Gifts are exchanged between families, and they light up the night sky with fireworks.
Day 4: Govardhan Puja
Govardhan Puja is a tribute to nature and its bounteous gifts. Lord Krishna takes center stage: this day commemorates the moment Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill to shield his village from rain. Devotees craft miniature Govardhan Hills using cow dung and embellish them. This day invites us to express gratitude to Mother Earth and her abundant blessings.
Day 5: Bhai Dooj – Strengthening Sibling Bonds
Bhai Dooj celebrates the profound bond between brothers and sisters. While there is no specific deity associated with Bhai Dooj, this day centers familial love, care, and protection. Sisters perform the religious ritual of aarti for their brothers, applying a sacred mark on their foreheads. Brothers reciprocate with heartfelt gifts, symbolizing their love and commitment.
From India to Canada, Diwali is a unifying force across the world. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, brightens homes, and invites the diaspora to embrace the prosperity and light it brings.
Are you planning on returning home for Diwali? You can send money to your family and loved ones to prepare for the festivities. The Western Union app is convenient and reliable, so it’s easy to transfer money before the holiday.