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Diwali: The festival of lights

Happy Diwali 2022

Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals which is celebrated with fun and devotion across India. It is also known as Deepavali which means a row of lights. The most famous legend associated with Diwali, the festival of lights is that of Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya along with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita after defeating the Demon king Ravana. Diwali is a celebration of the victory of good over evil. Diwali is called the festival of lights because diyas (earthen lamps) were lit on this day by the people of Ayodhya to welcome Lord Rama.

In ancient India, Deepawali was mainly celebrated by farmers as a harvest festival. The crops were harvested between October and November when the farmers faced a huge threat from insects who used to destroy the crops by eating them. So, the farmers started lighting earthen diyas to attract insects and kill them.

Diwali is not a one but a five days festival. Each of these days represents the different aspects of our culture.

  • The first day is Dhanteras which marks the start of Diwali. On this day, Lord Dhanavantari, the god of Medicine is worshipped.
  • The second day is Choti Diwali which is also called Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day Shri Krishna killed Narakasur with the help of his wife, Satyabhama.
  • The third day is Diwali where Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Ganesha is worshiped and people illuminate their houses and vicinity with Diyas and fairy lights.
  • The fourth day is the Govardhan Puja. On this day, Shri Krishna lifted the Govardhan Hill on his little finger to save the villagers of Vrindavan from floods caused by torrential rain sent by Lord Indra.
  • The fifth day is Bhai Dooj where the bond between brothers and sisters is celebrated.

Diwali celebration in different parts of India

West Bengal

The state celebrates Diwali as Kali Puja or Shyama Puja. Goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil is worshipped at night in thousands of pandals, homes, and temples. The entire state is lit up with lights and diyas.

Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi)

In Varanasi, people celebrate Dev Deepawali which means Diwali of gods. It said that on this day, God and Goddesses arrive on earth to take a dip in the holy water of Ganga. It is celebrated after the fifteen days of Diwali.

Odisha

In Odisha, a ritual called Kauriya Kathi is performed. In this ritual, the people of the state burn jute sticks to call their ancestors to seek their blessings. Odias on this day also worship Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Kali.

Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, Deepavali starts with Vasu Baras, a ritual in which cows are honored and worshipped. On the third day of Diwali, the people of Maharashtra celebrate Diwalicha Padva. It is a celebration of conjugal life between married couples.

Gujarat

For Gujaratis, Diwali marks the end of the year. The next day is celebrated as Bestu Varas or New Year’s day. They celebrate this special day with colorful rangolis, and diyas, and by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi.

Goa

The people in Goa celebrate Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura on Diwali. The locals there burn the effigy of the demon Narkasur who was killed by Lord Krishna.

On this auspicious day, several people in Goa smear coconut oil on their bodies to free themselves from their sins.

Ways to celebrate an eco-friendly and noiseless Diwali

No firecrackers

Firecrackers have always been a significant part of the Diwali celebrations but they do no good to the environment. They are dangerous, and loud, and cause noise and air pollution. This Diwali, we should say no to firecrackers.

Natural rangoli colors

Rangolis are an integral part of Diwali and can be spotted at the entrance of almost every household. To celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali, we should buy rangoli colors that are natural and do not contain any chemicals.

Say no to single-use plastics

Avoid using plastic bags or plastic cutlery to pack or serve food items and gifts to reduce plastic pollution. Use paper bags instead.

Use fresh flowers for home decoration

Avoid using festive lights to decorate your homes and other spaces, use fresh flowers and garlands instead.

Use natural and organic room fresheners

Instead of using chemical-laden synthetic room fresheners, use organic dhoop, incense sticks, and natural room fresheners. You can also use fresh fragrant flowers and herbs to make your home smell good.

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