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Diwali 2023: India's Festival of Light

What Is Diwali? Why Is It Celebrated in India?

Every country has that one festival where people count down the days in hopes of celebrating it with their family and loved ones, and when that time does come, they go all out. In India, that much-awaited and much-loved festival has to be Diwali. With a majority of the people in India being Hindus, it's no surprise that the Hindu Festival Of Lights tops the national festivals of India chart. In this post, let's get to know more about this famous festivity and why it is celebrated in every corner of the country.

What Exactly Is Diwali?

Diwali, also known as Dipawali, is the most significant holiday in India. People light rows of clay lamps, also known as diyas, outside their homes during Diwali to represent the inner light that protects them from darkness and to guide Goddess Lakshmi into their homes. This festival is particularly important to the Hindus, kind of similar to what Christmas means to Christians.

Over time, Diwali has become a national festival that people of different religions also enjoy. For example, in Jainism, Diwali marks the spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira in 527 B.C. In Sikhism, it celebrates the day when Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from prison. Even Buddhists in India join in the Diwali celebrations.

Diwali takes place for five days, each with its own special activities:

Day One: The Festival of Light begins with Dhanteras. People start by cleaning their homes, purifying it from negative energy and welcoming Goddess Lakshmi into their homes. People also light lamps outside their homes to guide the goddess into their homes. Then, a puja is performed to worship and honour Lord Dhanvatari, the God of Ayurveda, and Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune. The day is considered auspicious to buy gold, silver, or any utensil; it is believed to bring good luck.

Day Two: Choti Diwali marks the second day of Diwali. The day begins with cleansing the body and soul, also known as abhyanga snan. After this, homes are cleaned and adorned with traditional Diwali decor, like rangoli designs in the home, torans are hung on the doorways, and garlands are adorned on the walls. These Diwali decor trends vary based on personal beliefs and regional customs. The evening begins with the lighting of diyas and is followed by worshipping Lord Krishna or Goddess Kali. Then, the night ends with spending quality time with family and friends.

Day Three: The third day of Diwali is the main event: Diwali. Again, the day begins with abhyanga snan, followed by cleaning the home. During the evening, 21 diyas are placed in different corners of the homes. The main event starts when families gather for Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi. It is then usually followed by people enjoying delicious feasts, bursting crackers, and exchanging gifts.

Day Four: Govardhan Puja marks the fourth day of Diwali. After abhyanga snan before sunrise, the preparation for Govardhan Puja begins. Flowers and kumkum are used to decorate the cow dung hill, Govardhan Parvat, prepared by the devotees. Then, parikrama is performed around the hill, worshipping the Goverdhan Parvat. In the evening, people worship Lord Krishna, which is followed by bathing his idol, dressing him in new clothes and jewellery, and offering several dishes. The day ends with spending quality time with family.

Day Five: The festival of Diwali ends with Bhai Dooj. On this day, a tilak ceremony is performed, where sisters apply a tilak on the brother’s forehead and gifts are exchanged. This tilak symbolises a prayer for a long life. The festival ends with a traditional Bhai Dooj pooja.

When Is Diwali Celebrated in 2023?

Diwali happens once a year and lasts for five days, which marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. The specific dates usually change each year, and the moon's position also determines them. Usually, Diwali happens sometime between October and November. In 2023, Diwali will be celebrated on November 12th, which is a Sunday.

If you are looking for the best places to celebrate Diwali, check out these amazing Diwali Destinations. Learn more about how different places in India go about with this annual festivity and choose the best one according to you and your loved ones.

Why Is It Celebrated in India?

Now, we all love to celebrate Diwali. But do we actually know the reasons behind this? Let's take a quick look.

Triumph of Good Over Evil: Now, we all know that Diwali represents the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and wisdom over ignorance. This theme connects with people from all backgrounds and makes Diwali a unifying celebration in India.
Lord Krishna's Victory: In some parts of India, Diwali recalls how Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. It is celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali, emphasising the win of good over evil.
Return of Lord Rama: Diwali in northern India marks Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, where he defeated the demon King Ravana. It symbolises the victory of righteousness and is a key part of the Hindu epic Ramayana.
Rebirth of Goddess Lakshmi: Diwali also celebrates the rebirth of Goddess Lakshmi, born during the cosmic churning of the ocean of milk. Legend has it that on Diwali night, Goddess Lakshmi chose Lord Vishnu as her husband, and this special event is celebrated with enthusiasm.
Return of the Pandavas: According to the Mahabharata, the Pandava brothers returned to their kingdom of Hastinapur on Kartik Amavasya after 12 years of exile. This day is an important part of Diwali celebrations.
Bandi Chhor Diwas: In Sikhism, Diwali is celebrated as Bandi Chhor Diwas, commemorating the release of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other Hindu kings from captivity by Emperor Jahangir. It signifies religious freedom and victory.
End of Harvest Season: Diwali may have started as a harvest festival, marking the end of the agricultural season before winter. It's a time to celebrate the hard work of farmers and the bounty of the harvest.
Kali Puja: In regions like West Bengal, Odisha, Mithila, Sylhet, Chittagong, and Titwala in Maharashtra, Diwali is observed as Kali Puja. It commemorates the incarnation of Kamalatmika, the last form of Goddess Mahakali.
Mahavira Nirvana Diwas: In Jainism, Diwali marks the liberation of Lord Mahavira, the 24th and last Jain Tirthankara, on Chaturdashi of Kartik month.
Diwali as New Year: In some states like Gujarat and among certain Northern Hindu communities, Diwali also signifies the start of the New Year. It's a time for fresh beginnings and a new outlook.
Vishnu's Rescue of Goddess Lakshmi: Another Diwali legend tells the story of Lord Vishnu rescuing Goddess Lakshmi from King Bali's prison. On this day, King Bali was sent to rule the netherworld.

Diwali 2023 With Helpusgreen

Clebrating Diwali is a time honoured tradition, and at Helpusgreen, we understand all too well just how exhausting it can be to shop for the perfect Diwali gifts for your loved ones. So, in hopes of making this year a tad less tiring for you, we have assembled many different Diwali gift hampers. The best part is, no matter who the Diwali present is for, be it your grandparents, colleagues, or your significant other, there is something for everyone. From mithai gift hampers to ones with playing cards, torans, rangolis and agarbattis, you can choose from a wide range of hampers.

Now that you know everything there is to know about Diwali and where to shop for the best Diwali gift hampers, we will leave you here with our best wishes.

If you are looking to make this year’s Festival of Lights more special and traditional, we are positive that you will enjoy reading our pieces on Exploring Diwali destinations, Diwali Delicacies and Diwali Decor Trends.