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Diwali Festival

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Diwali is India’s biggest festival celebrated with great joy, happiness and enthusiasm. For five continuous days, the festival is celebrated where the main Diwali festival is celebrated on the third day. People celebrate with firecrackers and illuminating candles and diyas that makes the house look stunning and beautiful. This year Diwali is coming on Wednesday,November 11,2015. Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights.

The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word –Deepawali which means row of lights. This also signifies the Hindu New Year. Some people pray for better business prospects in the days to come. The festival of lights is celebrated by millions of Sikhs, Jains, Hindus, other Indian religions and diaspora communities around the world. As this festival displays attractive colors and lights, it has now become very popular among other people living in different parts of the world.

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On this day, Lord Shri Rama came back after completing 14 years of exile with his wife Sita and brother Laksmana having been exiled by his stepmother. While deported in the forest, the princess Sita was made hostage by Ravana who with 10 heads was the king of the monsters. After defeating Ravana, Rama recaptured her and then they came back to Ayodhya for Ram-raj (a period of rule) which was said to be untroubled and prosperous.

You can read this story in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, which is believed to be written by the sage Valmiki between 500 BCE to 100 BCE. Diwali. On this day, people also perform Laxmi Puja and seek heavenly blessings of Goddess of Wealth. Sometimes people leave their doors open to expedite her entry.

If you look in the Bengal region, people worship the goddess Kali, who is seen as the goddess of time and death and as a strong mother.

In Punjab, Diwali is celebrated as Bandi Chhorh Diwas as on this day, the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind released from prison and also helped other 52 princes to be freed from life imprisonment. The celebrations were held in Amritsar when he arrived there. And since then it’s celebrated with ravishment and euphoria with the famous saying – Daal Roti Ghar Di Diwali Amritsar Di.

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People celebrate this occasion by lightening up small earthenware lamps known as diyas made with mixture of ghee and coconut oil and wicks of cotton string. Nowadays, with the modernization and advancement, electronic lights and LEDs are available that people use to spruce their homes and buildings.

Diwali is incomplete without firecrackers and have now become a constitutive part of Diwali celebrations. Firecrackers with graceful colors make the night of the new moon very enjoyable and scenic.

Diwali is Celebrated until the fifth day, Bhaiyadooj where women give gifts and presents to their brothers and it ends in a very memorable fashion. Happy Diwali!

Manmohan Kumar