New Delhi: Diwali falls in either October or November each year, depending on the cycle of the moon. It's observed on the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance".
In 2020, Diwali will fall on November 14, i.e. on Saturday.
The Diwali function runs for five days, with the main event happening on the third day in most places in India. The festival is associated with Lord Ram's return to his kingdom in Ayodhya after exile and rescuing his wife from demon king Raavan on Dussehra.
We take a look at the five-day festival that will go something like this in 2020:
Day 1 - Dhanteras: (November 12, 2020)
The first day is Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi. 'Dhan' means wealth and teras refers to the 13th day in the lunar fortnight on the lunar calendar. Lord Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is said to have brought Ayurveda and the nectar of immortality to mankind on this day. There are a number of temples in Kerala and Tamil Nadu dedicated to Dhanvantari and Ayurveda.
Legend also has it that Goddess Lakshmi was born from the churning of the ocean on this day, and she is welcomed with a specila Puja. Gold, silver, kitchen utensils and other metals are traditionally purchased on this day. People also perform special Lakshmi on this day.
Day 2 - Naraka Chaturdashi, Chhoti Diwali (Nov 13, 2020)
Naraka Chaturdashi is a Hindu festival, which falls on Chaturdashi of the Krishna Paksha in the Vikram Samvat Hindu calendar month of Kartik. It is the second day of the five-day-long festival of Deepavali. The Hindu literature narrates that the Asura Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali. The day is celebrated by early morning religious rituals and festivities follow on.
In 2020, Naraka Chaturdashi will fall on November 13, i.e. on Friday.
Day 3 - Lakshmi Puja/Kali Puja (Nov 14, 2020)
The third day is the new moon day known as Amavasya. This darkest day of the month is the most significant day of the five-day festival. Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh are worshipped on this day with a special puja performed in the evening. In many parts of the country, people also perform puja at their official properties. In West Bengal, Odisha and Assam, people worship Goddess Kali. In 2020, Diwali will fall on November 14, which is a Saturday.
Day 4 - Govardhan Puja (Nov 15, 2020)
The fourth day of Diwali has various meaning across the country. In north India, Govardhan Puja is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra, the god of thunder and rain. In Gujarat, it's celebrated as the start of a new year. In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the victory of Lord Vishnu over demon king Bali is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami.
Day 5 - Bhai Dooj/Vishwakarma Puja (Nov 16, 2020)
The fifth day is known as Bhai Dooj. It's dedicated to celebrating sisters, in a similar way that Raksha Bandhan is dedicated to brothers. Brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor the bond between them. In the southern part of the country, the day is celebrated as Yama Dwitiya. In the Kayastha community, two Bhai Doojs are celebrated. The more famous one comes on the second day after Diwali. But the lesser-known one is celebrated a day or two after Holi.