Colorful ''Deepavali'' - the Hindu festival of light of 2020


Happy Deepawali 2020, depositphotos.com

Happy Deepawali.  Let this  festival of light  help us get through the worst Covid-19 pandemic  and usher in a new period of happiness and prosperity. 

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Diwali, also known as Deepawali,  is one of the most popular  of all Hindu festivals and  is held on the 14th of this month. In some states it is said to be a 5-day long  festival.  Normally, it is observed in  the month of Kartika (Karthikai in Tamil)  according to the  Hindu lunar calendar. Tradition has been that the month of Kartika is the holiest one and on this day Hindus worship Goddess of wealth and prosperity  Lakshmi. In states like West Bengal,  Durga is worshiped widely with devotion and fanfare.  Prior to this festivals, most of the families clean  and decorate their homes. On the day of Deepawali, people take head bath and put on new dresses. On account of Covid - 19 pandemic that is not yet gotten rid of, this year  people  went shopping with  much reservation and, and worries.  However, in  many cities and towns, one can see a large number of people in the shops and certain malls. But the places of worshi - temples, churches and mosques have very much restricted admission of   devotees as per strict government regulations.. The  Hindu temple festivals take place on a low-key level at many places across India. 

This festival of lights,  symbolizing  the  ''victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance''  marks many events and one being  fire-work  displays and lighting of crackers and this year it is very much limited because of their impact on the air-quality  that may further worsen  the air-quality. Metros like Delhi and other cities face very much restrictions on fire-work displays in public spaces. However,  on this day, in most of the homes oil  lamps are  kept  all around the house at night and  impressive and colorful  Rangolis or Kolams are drawn by women in front of their homes in the early morning.    Like-wise many homes  display a variety of colored lights, .a tradition that symbolizes  removal  of darkness and negativity from our homes  and inviting happiness and positive elements.  It is an happy occasion to rejoice and cleanse our mind and begin  a new life. Wearing  new dress, eating  sweets and special meal on this festival day bear testimony to it. 

Lakshmi puja is a common one during this festival as on  this day, Goddess Lakshmi was born in the month of Kartika  and  when she grew up, according to the  Hindu mythology, her wedding with Lord Vishnu took place on the  new moon day (Amavasya)    Lord Rama, an incarnation of God Vishnu, returned victorious to his kingdom Ayodhya with his consort Sita after his long-drawn battle  with  the demon king Ravana of Lanka. God Rama's return to the kingdom also marks the end of his long exile - 14 long years. 

As mentioned earlier, in some Indian states,  it is a five-day festival and the events signify as follows: 

01. First day  called Naraka Chaturdasi marks the defeat of the demon Naraka  by Lord Sri Krishna ( an incarnation of God Vishnu). 

02. Second day id dedicated to the worship of Goddess of wealth - Lakshmi. People offer prayer to the goddess  so that they will be blessed with prosperity  and good health. Elderly people  also narrate the story of Vishnu's incarnation as a dwarf saint to banish king Bali to Pathala Lokha - hell.  On the Amavasya day, king Bali is allowed by God Vishnu to return to his land to spread the message of happiness, compassion and love. 

03. Third day called  Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali  comes out of Hell and rules the earth in accordance with God Vishnu's boon as the ruler happened to be a man of charity.  

04. The fourth day referred to as  Yama Dvitiya, also known as Bhai Dooj, is observed. On this day sisters invite  their brothers into their home and give them gifts, etc and the brothers do the same. This event strengthens the bond between sisters and brothers.

05. The fifth day known as  Dhanteras, is a celebration of wealth and prosperity. It is  normally celebrated two days before Deepavali  and Hindus around the world offer worship to God Shiva  and Parvati as they spent the day happily  by being cheerful and play the game of dice. It symbolizes the closeness of a well-knit family and the perfect relationship between husband and wife.  Share-brokers and  people who trade in company shares worship the god and goddess for their success in their new risky deals.

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https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/diwali-2020-history-and-significance-of-the-festival-of-lights/story-XP3f9hyTiq50UzN19K7P6H.html