Diwali is one of the biggest festivals celebrated by one & all in India.
It is a festival of lights & continues for 4 to 5 days.
It is believed that it was on this day that Lord Rama, Lakshmana & Sita returned back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile after defeating the demon king, Ravana. As it was a dark moon night, the people of Ayodhya welcomed them by lighting lamps all over, to rejoice the victory of good over evil. This tradition is followed till date & it is celebrated with full enthusiasm by cleaning the houses, wearing new clothes , lighting lamps,distributing sweets & exchanging greetings & best wishes.
The first day is called as Dhanteras. On this day, the Goddess of wealth, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for obtaining prosperity throughout the year. Dhan means wealth & teras means the thirteenth day of the dark fortnight ,called as Krishna Paksh in the month of Ashwin as per Hindu calendar. It is considered very auspicious to buy jewellery on this day.
The second day is called as Naraka Chaturdashi. There are many stories told about this day. It is believed that the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna on this day. This day is considered as the day of victory of good over evil. People get up early in the morning, have a luxurious ,perfumed oil bath,wear new dresses & visit the temples. Crackers are burst to celebrate the killing of Narakasura. It is all a festive mood.
The third day is the Lakshmi Pujan ( worship of Goddess Lakshmi) day ,the most important & significant day among all the five days. This day falls on the dark night, that is Diwali Amavasya. On this day, Goddess Lakshmi ,the Goddess of wealth & prosperity, is worshipped. She is the main driving force or as it is said , Shakti, (energy) for all that we do in our lives.It is considered very auspicious to start anything new on this day. Businessmen close their old account books & keep the new ones in front of the Goddess.
The fourth day is celebrated as the New Year, or Padwa . As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that on this day, King Bali would come out of the “pathal Lok” that is the nether land & enter the “Bhoolok” that is the world, as per the boon granted to him by Lord Vishnu. In the north of India, this day is celebrated as the Govardhan Puja day. Govardhan is a small hill near Mathura. It was this hill that Lord Krishna lifted on his little finger,like an umbrella, to give protection to the villagers from the heavy rains that was causing disaster .On this day,the people of North India make small hillocks out of cowdung, decorate it with flowers & worship it by offering prayers to Lord Krishna also called as Lord Govardhan.
The fifth day celebration is called as Bhaubeej. This is an occasion depicting the love between a brother & sister. The sister invites her brother home, performs aarti & prays for the welfare of her brother. Brothers ,in return give gifts to their sisters, & nowadays, the trend is that sisters ,too, gift something back.
After the festivities end, there is always a tinge of sadness ,but for the wonderful memories left behind.