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Diwali is a prominent Indian festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world to signify the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Diwali also known as Deepavali literally translates to “rows of lighted lamps”.
The joyous festival Diwali lasts for 5 days, 1st day celebrated as Dhanteras, 2nd day as Naraka Chaturdasi, 3rd day is important and main festival of lights celebrated traditionally by performing pooja and rituals to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, 4th day as Govardhan pooja & New year for some parts in India and 5th day as Bhai Dooj.
Interpretation of Diwali
In northern part of India, this celebration signifies Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile in forest and to mark the victory of battle where Lord Rama defeated demon king Ravana. It is believed that entire town was illuminated with rows of lighted clay lamps to welcome Lord Rama.
In south India, people celebrate it as a day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In general, Diwali is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil.
Sikhs celebrate this festival as Bandi Chor Divas (Day of Liberation). It is celebrated to signify the release of Sikh’s sixth religious leader, Guru Hargovind and 52 other princes from imprisonment in 16th century.
Jains celebrate this festival to signify the Nirvana/Moksha of Lord Mahavira. It is believed that on this day Lord Mahavira attained moksha (ultimate liberation) around 2500 years ago.
How is Diwali celebrated?
Lighting clay lamps is the main ritual of this festival. Houses are decorated with lots of small lighted clay lamps and rangoli (form of art pattern drawn with coloured dry flour). Families get together to perform pooja, exchange gifts and sweets, burst firecrackers and relish varieties of food items.
Food is the important aspect of celebrating Diwali. It is a tradition to cook varieties of dishes at home on this auspicious day.
Sweets such as Rasmalai, Burfi, Kheer, Gulab Jamun, Halwa, Gujiya are the most preferred ones. Murukku, Namakpare, Mathri, Chivda, Sev, Kara boondi, Samosa are some of the most common savoury dishes served on Diwali.