When is Diwali 2017 ? Diwali 2017 Date : Diwali is the most important holiday in India and for millions of Indians around the world. It is also known as the “Festival of Lights”. The time of Diwali is a very colorful festive season with many candles in form of oil lamps made of clay, the so-called Diyas or Dipa Lights. These Diya lights (or Ghee Lamps) are placed in and around houses, in hallways, courtyards and in the streets, guiding the pathways to homes and houses for Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, prosperity and beauty. The religious worshiping of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi in form of Lakshmi Puja takes place in temples and homes. Also Hindu God Ganesh, easily recognized by his elephant head, is being worshiped during Diwali for a lucky new beginning in life and to overcome obstacles. Children are bursting firecrackers and fireworks illuminating the skies over many Indian cities.
Diwali is the best time of the year in the Indian culture, especially for children. There are a lot of sweets, a lot of food to be eaten and also little presents being exchanged. Diwali is a 5 day festival, starting 2 days before New Moon in the month Ashvin and ending 2 days after New Moon in the month Kartika on the Hindu lunar calendar. In the western calendar (Gregorian calendar) Diwali varies in date, usually between end of October and beginning of November. The 5 days of Diwali have different meanings and there are many historical legends in Hinduism associated with them. Learn more about the Days of Diwali here. Not only is Diwali being observed by Hindus, but also by Jains, Sikhs and even some Buddhists. It is the major event of the year, celebrated all over India, but also in Nepal, Burma and Sri Lanka, as well as in other countries with a high population of people with Indian heritage. These countries include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, South-Africa, Mauritius, Trinidad, Fiji and many more.
The 5 Days of Diwali
Day 1: Dhanteras
The first day of Diwali is Dhanteras. It is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanvantari Triodasiand sometimes spelled Dhan Teras. The name originates from Dhan which translates to Wealth. The day of Dhanteras is considered an auspicious day in Hinduism. It is a day for buying precious metals such as gold or silver for good luck, a day for worshiping Laxmi (the Goddess of wealth) with Lakshmi Pujas and diyas of clay. It is also the beginning of a new accounting year for many businesses.
Dhanteras falls on the 13th day of the Lunar month of Ashvin in the Hindu calendar on the dark fortnight (Krishna Paksha Ashvin). Houses and business properties are being decorated with Rangolis. Lamps are kept burning during the night in adoration to God Yama (the God of Death) who did not manage to take the life of King Hima. He was doomed to die by a snakebite according to the legend. That’s why this day is also called Yamadeepdaan.
Also, Dhanvantari (the physician of the Gods, an incarnation of Vishnu) is said to be born on this day during Samudra manthan, the churning of the ocean by the gods and demons. Hence people also celebrate his Birth Anniversary (Jayanti) on Dhanteras.
Day 2: Choti Diwali / Naraka Chaturdashi / Kali Chaudas
The second day of Diwali is Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali (Small Diwali). It is being celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of the Hindu month Ashwin. This day is also known as Kali Chaudas in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Kali (meaning dark) is the “Goddess of Time, Change and Death”. According to the legend, on this day Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) killed the demon Narakasura, an evil yet powerful overlord of the earth and the heavens. Krishna beheaded him after a long lasting fight with his Sudarshana Chakra, a powerful weapon in the form of a rotating disc. For this reason, the day celebrates to victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
To celebrate this day, many people perform Poojas for Lakshmi and Rama. They offer different foods to their Gods and wear new clothes after taking a fragrant oil bath. The next morning women make beautiful Rangoli in the house and in backyards. In South India this is the most important day of the festivities. People wake up before dawn to take a bath while the stars in the sky are still visible. It is said that this is equal to taking a bath in the holy river Ganges. This is the day where families and friends meet to get together for a hearty breakfast or lunch and singing songs.
Day 3: Diwali / Lakshmi Puja
The third day of Diwali is the most important day for people in North India and West India. This is the 15th day of the month Krishna Paksha Ashvin, the new moon day (Amavasya). Hindus devote this day performing Lakshmi Puja, worshiping the Goddess of wealth, prosperity and beauty. Also Ganesh as the God of auspicious beginnings and remover of obstacles is being worshiped. Diya lights (clay oil lamps) are lit in houses and streets to light up the path for Lakshmi who brings prosperity and wealth. All houses must be kept clean and pure during Diwali. It is said that Goddess Laxmi visits the cleanest house first as she really likes cleanliness.
Day 4: Padwa / Bali Pratipada / Govardhan Puja / Annakoot
The fourth day of Diwali (1 Kartika) celebrates the victory of Krishna over Indra, the god of heavens and the rain. When lord Indra tried to submerge Gokul, it is said that Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill with his little finger to save the people and cattle from the floods. In North India this day is also known as Annakoot (mountain of food). People cook huge amounts of foods during the night that are being piled up before the deities, symbolizing the Govardhan hill, as an offering to Krishna. In South India this day commemorates the victory of Vishnu over the demon-king Bali. It is also the first day in the Vikram Samvat calendar, marking the coronation of King Vikramaditya. Some men give little presents to their wives on this day.
Day 5: Bhaiduj (Yama Dwitiya)
The fifth and last day of Diwali is Bhaiduj, celebrated on 2 Kartika (Hindu month), the second day after new moon (“Dooj”). It is also known as Bhai Dooj or Bhaiya Duj. The words Bhai or Bhaiya mean brother. It is based on a story when Yama (God of Death) had a feast with his sister Yami. She put an auspicious tilak mark on his forehead for his well-being. Yama gave her a gift in return. That’s why this day is also called “Yama Dwitiya”. Until today, the same tradition is still being followed. Sisters pray (perform pujas) for their beloved brothers to protect them from harm and evil and also for their welfare. The brothers in return give gifts to their sisters as a sign of appreciation. Both often also enjoying meals together on this day. Bhai Duj is celebrated to strengthen the love between brothers and sisters.
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