Top 10 Diwali Facts

  1. The word Diwali means “the row of lighted lamps (diyas)” in Hindi.

  2. Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month of Kartika. Hinduism is a major religion of India, and is considered to be the oldest religion in the world. More than 800 million people celebrate this festival

  3. It is a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Surinam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji. And is an optional holiday in Pakistan. The English city of Leicester hosts the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India.

  4. Diwali also plays a significant role in Sikhism. The foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali in 1577.

  5. On the same night that Hindus celebrate Diwali, Jainscelebrate a festival also called Diwali to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira,  Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison, and Newar Buddhists, unlike the majority of Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Lakshmi.

  6. Hindus across the world celebrate Diwali in honor of the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana from exile of 14 years after Rama defeated Ravana. To honor the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana from Lanka and to illuminate their path, villagers light Diyas to celebrate the triumph of good over evil.

  7. During the festival of Diwali, fireworks worth billions of dollars are ignited. These fireworks cause a lot of pollution, which is a particularly life hazard for those living in densely populated areas such as the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in India. Fireworks produce a variety of pollutants affecting sound, light, air and water. The total cost of the firecrackers exploded in Diwali is estimated to be around one billion dollars.

  8. Electricity consumption also rises significantly during the festival season, which results in heavy use of diesel generators to meet the demand for power. In turn, more pollution is caused due to the burning of fossil fuels.

  9. There is unique traditional practice in orissa where the people call upon the spirits of their dead ancestors. They burn jute stems to shed light on the dark path of the spirits on their way to heaven.

  10. Gambling during Diwali is admitted as there is a belief that it brings good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.

 

Bonus

Dhanteras (Day 1)

Dhanteras (celebrated in Northern and Western part of India) starts off the five day festival. Starting days before and through Dhanteras, houses and business premises are cleaned, renovated and decorated.

According to a popular legend, when the gods and demons churned the ocean for Amrit or nectar, Dhanavantri (the physician of the gods and an incarnation of Vishnu) emerged carrying a jar of the elixir on the day of Dhanteras.

On Dhanteras Hindus consider it auspicious to purchase gold or silver articles or at least one or two new utensils. It is believed that new “Dhan” or some form of precious metal is a sign of good luck.

 

Naraka Chaturdasi (Day 2)

Narak Chaturdasi is the second day of festivities, and is also called Choti Diwali.

The Hindu literature narrates that the asura (demon) Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali.

The day is celebrated by early morning religious rituals and festivities followed on. This day is commonly celebrated as Diwali in Tamil Nadu, Goa and Karnataka. Typically, house decoration and colourful floor patterns called Rangoli are made on or before Narak Chaturdasi.

Special bathing rituals such as a fragrant oil bath are held in some regions, followed by minor pujas.

Women decorate their hands with henna designs. Families are also busy preparing homemade sweets for main Diwali.

On coming to know about this, Satyabhama was enraged by Narakasura’s malevolence towards women, and she appealed to Krishna to give her the golden chance to destroy Narakasura.

The legend also says that Narakasura was given a curse that he would be killed by a woman.

Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to fight with Narakasura. With Krishna as the charioteer, Satyabhama entered the battle field

During the war, Krishna swooned for a while, a preordained divinely act adopted to empower Satyabhama to kill the demon. After Narakasura was beheaded, the imprisoned women were released, and Krishna accepted to marry them.

As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon king’s blood.

Krishna returned home in the very early morning of the Narakachaturdashi day.

The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice especially in Maharashtra.

 

Lakshmi Puja (Day 3)

The third day is the main festive day. People wear new clothes or their best outfits as the evening approaches.

The day of Lakshmi-Puja falls on the dark night of Amavasya.

Then diyas are lit, pujas are offered to Lakshmi, and to one or more additional deities depending on the region of India; typically Ganesha, Saraswati, and Kubera.

Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.

Lakshmi is believed to roam the earth on Diwali night. On the evening of Diwali, people open their doors and windows to welcome Lakshmi, and place diya lights on their windowsills and balcony ledges to invite her in.

On this day, the mothers who work hard all year are recognized by the family and she is seen to embody a part of Lakshmi, the good fortune and prosperity of the household.

Small earthenware lamps filled with oil are lighted and placed in rows by some Hindus along the parapets of temples and houses. Some set diyas adrift on rivers and streams.

Important relationships and friendships are also recognized during the day, by visiting relatives and friends, exchanging gifts and sweets.

 

Padwa, Balipratipada (Day 4)

The day after Diwali, is celebrated as Padwa. This day ritually celebrates the love and mutual devotion between the wife and husband.

The day following the Amavasya is “Kartik Shuddh Padwa” and it is only on this day that the King Bali would come out of Pathal Loka and rule Bhulok as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu.

The husbands give thoughtful gifts, or elaborate ones to respective spouses. In many regions, newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals.

The husbands give thoughtful gifts, or elaborate ones to respective spouses. In many regions, newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals.

Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on this day.

Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura and on this day of Diwali people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar build cowdung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers and then worship them.

This festival is in commemoration of the lifting of Mount Govardhan by Krishna.

 

Bhai Duj, Bhaiya Dooji (Day 5)

The last day of festival is called Bhai dooj (Brother’s second) or Bhai tika in Nepal, where it is the major day of the festival. It celebrates the sister-brother loving relationship, in a spirit similar to Raksha Bandhan but with different rituals

The festival of Diwali is incomplete without bhai dooj. It is referred as “Bhaiyya-Duj” in the Hindi-speaking belt, “Bhav–Bij” in the Marathi-speaking communities, “Bhai fota” in Bengal and “Bhai-Tika” in Nepal.

The day ritually emphasizes the love and lifelong bond between siblings.

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Post Author: MaximumFacts Team

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