Diwali is one of the most important festivals for Hindus and it is celebrated to mark the victory of light over darkness. It is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. Diwali is also called as Deepavali and it is the festival of lights.
The word Diwali is derived from Sanskrit which means row or series of lights. Deepavali is associated with Goddess Lakshmi and people perform Lakshmi Puja on the festival day for wealth and prosperity. There are many stories related to Diwali.
According to the Hindu calendar, every year, Diwali falls in the month of Kartika which is between mid-October and mid-November.
Diwali 2021 Date:
This year, Diwali falls on 4th November, 2021. In some areas, Diwali will be celebrated for three days where as in some parts of the country, the celebrations will extend for six days.
Diwali Day 1: November 1, 2021- Govatsa Dwadashi
Diwali Day 2: November 2, 2021- Dhanteras
Diwali Day 3: November 3, 2021- Narak Chaturdashi
Diwali Day 4: November 4, 2021- Diwali
Diwali Day 5: November 5, 2021- Govardhan Puja
Diwali Day 6: November 6, 2021- Bhaiya Dooj
Generally, the festival Deepavali is celebrated twenty days after Dasara. After Govatsa Dwadasi, Dhanteras is celebrated on November 2. On Govatsa Dwadasi, cows and calves are worshiped.
Dhanteras is also known as Dhantrayodashi, Dhanvantari Trayodashi. On this day, people clean their homes and decorate the homes with flowers and rangolis.
Dhanvantari Trayodashi Puja is observed two days before Diwali Puja and it marks the birth anniversary of Lord Dhanvantari.
On the day of Dhantrayodasi, Yama Deepam is lit outside the home and it is believed that the light pleases Lord Yama and protects the family members from any accidental death. In some parts of the country, Hanuman Puja is also performed on the day of Dhantrayodasi.
The third day of Diwali festival is Narak Chaturdashi. On this day, Lakshmi Puja is done after sunset. In Gujarat, Lakshmi Puja is also known as Chopda Puja or Sharda Puja.
The fourth day of Diwali is Govardhan Puja. It is believed that Lord Krishna defeated God Indra on this day and it generally falls on the next day after Diwali Puja. It is also known as Annakut Puja.
The fifth day of Diwali is Pratipada or Bhaiya Dooj. In some parts of India, sisters perform Tika ceremony on this day and pray for their brothers long and happy lives. Bhaiya Dooj is also called as Bhatra Dwitiya, Bhai Dwitiya, Bhau Beej, and Bhathru Dwithiya.
There are numerous legends related to the festival. Some believe that Diwali is the day Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman reached Ayodhya after a period of 14 years in exile.
Another story says that in the Dvapara Yuga, Krishna an avatar of Vishnu killed Narakasur, the evil king of Pragjyotishapura and released hundreds of girls held captive by the demon. So, people celebrated Diwali as a significance of triumph of good over evil after Krishna’s Victory over Narakasura.
One more story is that Goddess Lakshmi was born after the churning of the ocean of milk by the Gods and Demons. According to Padma Purana, Goddess Lakshmi chose the night of Diwali to marry Vishnu.
People of Eastern India believe that Diwali is associated with Goddess Kali who symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
People clean their homes, work places and illuminate the homes, temples and work spaces with candles and lanterns. The festival is also marked with fireworks. On the day of Diwali, people exchange sweets.