Mumbai: The gorgeous festival of lights – Diwali or Deepavali – is just around the corner. India, is gearing up to celebrate the joyous festival that marks the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom Ayodha after 14 years of vanvas. The Diwali festivities begin with Dhanteras and end with Bhaidooj.
Spread over five days, Deepavali is an occasion for members of the family to get-together and soak in the zest for celebrations.
This year, the Diwali festivities begin on Friday with Dhanteras.
Let’s take a look at the schedule and the significance of each of the auspicious days:
Dhanteras (October 28, Friday)
Dhanteras is of great importance because three significant legends are associated with the auspicious day. Dhanteras literally means dhan+ teras (wealth and 13th day). This is because the day falls on the thirteenth Krishna Paksha day in the Hindu month of Kartik. On this day, it is believed that Goddess Lakshmi was churned out of the milky ocean. And hence, she is worshipped along with Kubera for wealth and prosperity.
This day is also associated with Lord Dhanavantri, the God of health and wellness. A number of people worship Dhanavantri for good health and well-being.
Lord Yama is also worshipped by number of people on this day. A lighted deep (diya) referred to as the Yama Deepam is kept outside the house to please the God of Death and in turn seek blessings to prevent untimely death.
Naraka Chaturdashi (October 29, Saturday)
In south India, on Naraka Chaturdashi, devotees recall the triumph of Sri Krishna over demon Naraka. In north India, Chhoti Diwali is celebrated by making beautiful rangolis, decorating homes with diyas during the day and singing songs and Aartis in praise of Lord Rama and Goddess Lakshmi in the evening.
Lakshmi Pujan/ Deepavali (October 30, Sunday)
On this day, family members gather in the evening to perform Lakshmi Pujan to seek blessings of the Goddess for wealth, prosperity and happiness. The doors of the house are kept open to welcome the Goddess.The traditional Puja culminates with the singing of the aarti.
Govardhan Puja (October 31, Monday)
On the fourth day, Lord Krishna is worshipped for saving the people of Braj Bhoomi from the wrath of God Indra, who created destructive showers, hail and thunderstorm to avenge an insult.
Bhai Dooj (November 1, Tuesday)
Like Raksha Bandhan, Bhai Dooj strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, brothers visit their sisters for a traditional ceremony. Gifts and sweets are exchanged and the siblings pray for each other’s well-being and good health.