Diwali, or Deepawali, is an important Hindu festival that marks the spiritual triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Celebrated throughout India and Southeast Asia – by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists alike.
The festival lasts five days, and each day holds special meaning: from welcoming Goddess Lakshmi into your home on Day 1 to Day 5, celebrating brother/sister relationships on that very same day.
1. Day 1: Dhanteras
Diwali is one of India’s most beloved festivals, celebrating the spiritual triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali is celebrated across Hinduism, Jainsim Sikhism, and some Buddhist communities – starting on Dhanteras and ending on Bhai Dooj. Each day holds special meaning and traditions.
Dhanteras (also called Dhanatrayodashi) marks the beginning of the festival of lights and marks an eventful and prosperous start for most families. People buy jewelry and gold objects on this day in hopes that it will bring good luck. Worship of Lord Yamaraja on this day ensures family protection and well-being.
This festival has its origins in Hindu mythology. There are multiple legends associated with it; the most well-known relates to a wife trying to change her husband’s horoscope, which foretold his death on the fourth day of marriage by keeping him awake through stories and keeping lamps lit throughout the night. When Yamaraja, God of Death himself, came knocking, his eyes were blinded by all the jewelry and lamps present at that moment in time, and death was postponed temporarily.
Dhanvantari, the God of Medicine, was believed to have been born on this day when Gods and demons joined together to stir the ocean for immortality nectar, making this day one of the holiest days in Hinduism. On this day, people avoid buying sharp objects such as scissors, knives, and pins, which are believed to bring bad luck; also, it would not be appropriate to purchase items made with iron on this date.
2. Day 2: Choti Diwali
Diwali is an occasion for family, friends, sweets and gifts, fireworks, and lots of joy! As it’s also a significant spiritual event, many pray to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and luck on this special day. Additionally, Diwali marks the victory of good over evil as well as the return of Lord Ram, Sita, and Laxman from 14-year exile back home in Ayodhya.
Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi marks the day before Diwali proper and serves as an opportunity for people to clean and decorate their homes in preparation for its festivities. Many also purchase new clothing and jewelry to bring good luck. While Choti Diwali should be enjoyed with family, its celebration can also be stressful for those away from them.
Diwali (or Deepavali in Hindi), the five-day festival of lights held each October to mid-November in the Hindu lunisolar months Ashvin and Kartika (October to mid-November), sees celebrants celebrate with festive cuisines, gifts, decorations, puja (worship), to goddess Lakshmi and lighting ideas to make way for fireworks explosions.
Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, can be an incredible way to bring people together; however, living abroad may make it more challenging to feel part of a community. There are various ways Diwali can help you feel at home abroad: making rangoli designs or eating exceptional food will bring together families and friends in celebration, or you could find a local Hindu temple where you can attend their services and build a sense of belonging within a larger Hindu community – alleviating feelings of isolation or loneliness.
3. Day 3: Diwali
Diwali (formerly Deepavali) is one of the Indian and worldwide celebrations to honor light over darkness, celebrating the victory of good over evil and joy over sorrow. Celebrated primarily by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists but now widely observed by many communities worldwide.
Diwali, also known as Deepawali or Diwali, is celebrated over five days, beginning with Dhanteras and concluding on Bhai Dooj. During this time of celebrations, friends and family come together, exchange gifts, and enjoy delicious feasts together; they decorate their homes with lights and rangoli designs while praying to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity.
Diwali is an occasion when friends and families exchange small gifts like jewelry, souvenirs, and items for the home. Additionally, this celebration also allows friends and families to gather and enjoy sweets such as besan ladoo made with chickpea flour, ghee, sugar, and cardamom.
Diwali marks an important holiday in Hinduism as it commemorates Rama’s return to Ayodhya from 14 years of exile when they were welcomed home with lights and fireworks by the Ayodhya people – this symbolized his victory over evil and ignorance.
Lakshmi Puja, or the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune, is celebrated on the third day of Diwali as an auspicious occasion to venerate Her and seek her blessings of prosperity, wealth, health, and wisdom for oneself and those surrounding you. One famous prayer called Lakshmi Vandana asks her to bless all these virtues upon us all.
4. Day 4: Govardhan Pooja
Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, brings families closer together while spreading hope, joy, and happiness. Celebrated all over the world as part of Hindu tradition, it commemorates light’s spiritual victory over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance – as well as providing an opportunity to celebrate this joyous occasion in an eco-friendly manner that honors age-old traditions while minimising environmental impacts.
Govardhan Pooja marks Lord Krishna’s victory over Lord Indra and is observed during this fourth day of the Festival of Lights. Legend has it that when Gokul villagers worshipped Lord Indra despite having received water, food, and other resources from him, he became angry and began raining torrential storms upon them – until Lord Krishna intervened by lifting Govardhan Hill with one finger so as to shield its residents from further rainstorms.
The villagers decided to continue worshipping the Lord and offered Annakoot, which is an extensive offering of food cooked and prepared collectively, as an offering to Anna. This serves as a lesson: devotion and simplicity are more meaningful than elaborate rituals while simultaneously strengthening community ties and emphasizing environmental sustainability.
On this day, people clean and decorate their homes with colorful rangolis and flowers, offering various food items, including rice, sweets, milk, fruits, and other dairy products, to the deities for worshiping purposes. Prasad (food offerings to gods) is then shared among all. Padwa commemorates husband-wife relationships, while Bhai Dooj celebrates those between brothers and sisters.
5. Day 5: Bhai Dooj
Bhai Dooj marks a day to honor and appreciate siblings’ relationships, traditionally two days after Diwali and known by various names, including Bhaubeej, Bhai Tika, or Bhai Phonta, depending on your region and culture. As part of its Hindu significance, it celebrates love and trust between siblings. Sisters offer prayers for the longevity and well-being of their brothers, while brothers present them with gifts as a mark of affection – while vowing their protection.
Christmas is a fantastic opportunity to show the ones you care about just how much they mean to you. It is also an occasion for fond memories and quality time spent with family members.
Diwali festival commemorates this auspicious occasion by honoring brothers and sisters through an auspicious event known as Shukla Paksha in Kartik. Sisters place tilak on their brother’s foreheads while praying for his health and well-being before brothers return the favor by giving money and gifts back.
Legend has it that this festival began when Lord Krishna defeated Narakasura and was welcomed home by his sister Subhadra with sweets and a tilak ceremony, prompting Bhishambha to commemorate it by placing a tilak on Bhishambha’s forehead, symbolizing that receiving such blessing from a sister will ensure long life.
Sisters go beyond simply applying tilak on their brothers to include making tasty food items and meals that they either bring directly or send food deliveries for. Finally, after applying tilak, sisters offer Akshat and Rolli, wish their brothers happiness and prosperity, and perform Aarti for them as part of their offering rituals.