No Diwali is complete without the beautiful Rangoli adorning your home. Be it in with powder, side walk chalk or playdough. Rangoli brings many colors together to form a very unique design. Similarly, people from around the world rejoice together every Diwali lighting up their homes, creating intricate designs, celebrating with delicious fare and paying homage to age old traditions passed on from generation to generation.
Diwali is essentially a series of five days –
2. Choti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi.
3. Badi Diwali or Laxmi Puja.
4. Naya Saal or New Year.
5. Bhai Dooj.
People traditionally buy silver/gold/new utensils for the kitchen. Hang up the toran (door decor) and create the rangoli. Light Diyas outside your house. Choti Diwali and Badi Diwali are the actual Diwali days on which you pray for well being and prosperity of your family.
Badi Diwali is the last day of the Hindu calendar and thus specially auspicious. Naya Saal is when you wish all your near and dear ones a very Happy New Year as the new Hindu year begins. Bhai Dooj is a day for siblings to grow close as we cherish their love and pray for their well being.
The Varied Shades Of Diwali : Different Origins One Celebration
India is a land of many languages and sub cultures. Diwali, originally known as Deepavali is celebrated by Indians all over the world and for different reasons.
Every mythological story Diwali is derived from teaches that good will always triumph over evil.
In the Ramayan, when Lord Ram returned home, the city was lit up with diyas and the people rejoiced as the prodigal son returned home.
Lord Ram, the most beloved prince and son is sent to exile by his father because of a promise he made to one of his wives (granting any two wishes when she wants). Laxman, his devoted brother chooses to go on exile with his brother and sister in law Sita. After years of hardships, Sita one day sees a deer she desires and on her behest Sri Ram and Laxman go after it. She consequently gets kidnapped by Raavan when she crosses the Laxman rekha (a spellbound line made outside their home to keep her safe by her brother in law). Ram and Laxman slay Raavan, saving her with the help of Hanuman an ardent devotee of Sri Ram. They all come back home to Ayodhya (on Diwali) among great pomp and show only to send her into exile all on her own when a citizen of the city raises a question of her purity after living with Raavan for so many years. She goes into the forest where she brings up her two sons. After years, when his sons cross his path in battle, Lord Ram goes back to bring his wife home. She in turn chooses to go back to Mother Earth instead.
In South India, Lord Krishna slaying Narakasura. Narakasura was a demon drunk with power stole the earrings of Aditi (mother of all Devas) and kidnapped 16000 women. The Devas were unable to stop him and so they went to Lord Vishnu to reincarnate as Krishna, so as to destroy the evil demon and save the women.
Marwaris and Gujratis
Diwali is the new year time for Marwaris and Gujaratis. This is when the merchants close the accounts of the old year and pray to the goddess of wealth that the new year should open with even bigger increase of trade. Kali Chaudas is devoted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti as this is the day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil. Thus, many regions pray to Goddess Laxmi (giver of weath) on this day.
To the Jains it marks the day after Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. He was released from his worldly body on the night of the full moon. So the people of Pavapuri, where he attained nirvana, lit lamps in their doorways as a symbol of their guru’s enlightenment.
This day for Sikhs celebrates the release of Guru Hargobindji along with 52 Indian kings who were imprisoned along with him at the Gwalior fort by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1619. This day is thus also known as Bandi Chorr Diwas (meaning the day of freedom).
Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and the Indian states of Assam, Sikkim and Darjeeling in West Bengal. The five-day festival in these places is considered to be of great importance as it shows reverence to not just the humans and the Gods, but also to the animals like crows, cows and dogs who maintain an intense relationship with humans.
So what is it that all these origin stories teach kids ?
- Love your family.
- Respect those you care about.
- Listen to your parents.
- Support your loved ones always.
- Stand by what is right.
- Freedom is a birth right.
- Choices have consequences.
- Women should be nurtured.
- Every woman has a right to make her own choices.
- Above all, be loyal.
Do Not –
- Think ill of others.
- Let ego get in the way of your relationships.
- Disrespect those you care about.
- Make decisions in haste.
- Be selfish or greedy.
- Pay heed to the negative voices.