Diwali Celebration in India 2020 – The Festival of Lights
Diwali, Deepawali or Deepavali is the festival of lights. ‘Deep’ or ‘Div’ means light. ‘Avali’ means row. This festival is the celebration of rows of lights. This festival is celebrated in accordance with the lunar calendar and thus, the date of the festival varies from year to year.
If you are looking for a cultural celebration, Diwali is the best time to visit India. Do you know that Diwali has several mythological background and reasons? Each day of Diwali has a long mythological history and a sequence of rituals to incorporate several good characters among the young generation? This is one of the most diverse and iconic celebrations of the land. The emblem of this festival is the crackers and fireworks.
2020 Diwali dates
It is a common misunderstanding that Diwali is just a one-day celebration. Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days.
This year Diwali will be held on 14 November 2020.
2020 Diwali Date – November 12th to 16th 2020
- November 12th – Dhanteras
- November 13th – Chhoti Diwali or Naraka Chaturdasi
- November 14th – Diwali
- November 15th – Govardhan Puja
- November 16th – Bhai Dhooj
Importance of Diwali in India
This is one of the nation-wide festivals of Hinduism. People celebrate it with fireworks, crackers, earthen lamps, and special rituals. Men and women take oil-bath and wear traditional clothes. The importance of this festival is multi-fold. In general, this is the day when Good won over Evil. This celebration indicates that no matter what the circumstances might bring, the Good will always prevail.
- North Indians consider Diwali as the day of prosperity and wealth.
- Southern states consider Diwali as a new start and a symbol of wealth and health.
- People of West Bengal consider this day as the day of strength.
- Jains consider Diwali as the celebration of eternal happiness or Nirvana. It marks the day Lord Mahavira attained enlightenment.
- Ayodhya and surrounding regions consider Diwali as the day Lord Ram, Sita and Lakshma return from 14 years of exile. The locals welcomed their future king and queen by lighting fireworks and decorating the way with rows of lights.
- Fireworks are lit to show respect to the high heavens and the way to express happiness in getting together with family and friends.
- Golden Temple of Amritsar is decorated with thousands of small lights and it would be a wonderful sight to watch it at night.
People wake up during Brahma Muhurta, the time between 4 am and 4:30 am, which is an hour before sunrise. This is an indication of health and respect for divinity. Sages of ancient times wake up during Brahma Muhurta to enrich their health. People rub sesame oil and take a bath. This ritual is scientifically known to reduce body heat and bring refreshment.
Mythologically, this ritual is considered to ward off laziness. Everyday celebrations of Diwali are focused on feasts, sharing delicacies and getting together for rituals. Every event is focused on creating social happiness by bringing everyone together. The best part about Diwali is that it is celebrated by every Hindu around the country with no regard for caste or region. This promotes unity among them.
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How is Diwali is Celebrated in India?
Each region of the country celebrates this festival in a different manner. The mythological reason behind the celebration varies from state to state and thus, the style of celebration also varies tremendously. However, all the styles of celebrations are equally beautiful and interesting. Although the celebrations might be different, there are a few elements that are common among all the styles of Diwali celebrations.
- Bursting fireworks and crackers throughout the day.
- Lighting earthen lamps around the house and in temples
- Decorating the house with decorating rangoli on the doorway, hanging flowers or other garlands on the door and so on.
- Although the style of rituals or the main deity might differ, there will be numerous rituals dedicated to Gods and Goddess during this festival.
- Special delicacies will be cooked and shared among friends and families.
- People wear new traditional dresses and some people buy new jewels to wear for this occasion.
- People join together and create social gatherings to enjoy fireworks, delicacies and other elements of the festival.
You cannot expect to see Diwali without these elements. As mentioned before, each state is unique when it comes to celebrating Diwali.
Significance of Diwali Celebration in India
Each ritual and celebration of Diwali has an inner meaning. These rituals have been conducted generation after generation for specific reasons. Diwali is the day of health, wealth and prosperity. According to literature, Diwali is a harvest festival. Thus, this is the day to pay gratitude to the divinity for showering prosperity in terms of harvest profits.
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There are numerous mythological stories that explain why Diwali is celebrated. There is one element in those mythologies, which is common. With no regard to circumstances, the Good always wins over Evil. This is the day to remove evil thoughts and habits out of your mind. According to many religious leaders, discarding evil from the mind is the actual prosperity and wealth.
Diwali is very much linked with Goddess Lakshmi, the power of wealth, prosperity and growth. Thus, Diwali is seen as the day of wealth. People consider this day as the best time for buying gold. Many regions of North India like Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and others consider gamble as an auspicious event of the day. There is a tradition of putting a silver article into a tumbler of milk, as an indication of paying gratitude to God for providing wealth.
Merchants and business people consider this day as the day of prosperity. Many rituals and celebrations are conducted for enriching the prosperity. Many people choose their best product from their business and present it to God as a token of gratitude. For instance, farmers serve their first batch of produce to God. Vendors place their best products to the deity and so on.
Diwali plays a grand role in bringing people together. People of different creed and communities come together, share food, love, and wishes. After all, every religious element is focused on bringing out the best human in us.
How Is Diwali Celebrated In Different Parts Of India
The Diwali celebration is linked with Ramayana according to the communities of North India. Lord Ram, with his wife Lord Sita and his brother Lakshman, was sent on an exile for 14 years. After the completion of exile, when the trio returned back to their kingdom, the locals celebrated the day with fireworks, sharing sweets and lighting lamps to illuminate the path for their future king and queen to walk. This tradition is still continuing as the Diwali festival.In many regions like Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and others, large effigies of demon king Ravanan is made and burnt to indicate the victory of Lord Ram over Ravanan.
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The eastern part of India celebrates this festival as the day for Goddess Lakshmi. According to mythology, Narakasura was a demon born to Mother Earth. He received a boon that he should be slain only by his mother. Mother Earth took the form of Sathyabama (an avatar of Lord Lakshmi) and slew the demon. Celebrations are conducted for Goddess Kali too.
Western India also celebrated Diwali as the celebration of Lakshmi’s victory over demon Narakasura. Gujarat also sees Diwali as their local new year.
South India also celebrates Diwali as the celebration of Lord Lakshmi’s victory.
Top Rituals Performed during the Festival
Earthen lamps and lights are lit around the house. Special rituals are performed to Lord Lakshmi for better health. Womenfolk prays for the well being of their spouse, during this ritual. The ritual starts by 5:45 pm and goes on up to the late night. The lamps are allowed to burn throughout the night as an indication to keep the Lord of Death, Yama away from their household.
On this day, many rituals are conducted with scented oils, sandalwood, and flowers. Lord Hanuman is worshipped with delicacies made with coconut, poha (flattened rice), dried fruit and others. The rituals of the day indicate that Diwali was indeed a harvest festival. Rice from the recent harvest should only be used for making delicacies for the deity. Those who learn or practice Veda and mantras for living should learn or start their education on this day. Many families offer food and rituals to forefathers to get their blessings.
In Goa, many effigies will be burnt during this day. Hindus of West Bengal believe that the night of Naraka Chaturdashi is the day when the dead souls visit their dear living ones. Thus, lamps are lit and delicacies are served as a way to welcome the souls to the earth. Bathing with sesame oil is considered to ward off poverty. In southern states, this is the day of Diwali and they celebrate it with fireworks and crackers.
This is the main Diwali day for north, west and other parts of India. They celebrate it with fireworks, crackers, rituals and more. Special rituals take place for Lord Lakshmi and Lord Kali.
Special rituals take place for Lord Vishnu.
This day is celebrated with private feasts at each household to honor the sisters of the family.
Exotic Seasonal Delicacies Made during Diwali
Although it is one festival, each state celebrates it in a different way and for different reasons. So, you can find different seasonal delicacies during this festival. Based on literature citations, Diwali is the time of harvest and the people use their recent harvest to make delicacies for the deity as thanks for their help in the prosperity of agriculture.
1. Maharashtra – Ravaladdoo, karanjee, besanladdoo
2. Rajasthan – cashew sweet, milk cake, mawamishri, sohanhalwa, and others
3. West Bengal – Rasgulla, Sandesh and other milk sweets
4. Bihar – cashew barfi, khaja, and others
5. Kerala – Kozhikodehalwa, ilayappam, coconut barfi, payasam, unniyappam, and others.
6. Punjab – Punjabi pooda, carrot halwa, panjiri, and others
7. Haryana – dry fruits laddoo, barfi, and date fudge
8. Uttar Pradesh – gulabjamun, peda, saffron jelabi, and others
9. Orissa – chenajhili, Sandesh and rasgulla
10. Gujarat – basundi, Srikhand, mango flavored amrakhand, and others
11. Himachal Pradesh – Babroo
12. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – shahitukda, apricot sweet, phirni, and others
13. Tamil Nadu – payasam, coconut barfi, sweet pongal, and others
14. Assam – coconut laddoo
15. Chhattisgarh – Khurmi
16. Jharkhand – Anarsa
17. Uttarakhand – Singhori, laddoos, and jalebis.
18. Karnataka – Mysore Pak, puranpoli and others
19. Madhya Pradesh – balushai, shakkar pare, dry fruit barfi and others
20. Kashmir – Shufta
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- Always buy branded fireworks and burst them with caution.
- Even if you are not bursting crackers, remember that people around you are celebrating with crackers and you need to be careful while walking.
- It is not safe to drive through roads where kids are celebrating with crackers and fireworks
- Always wear cotton clothing that covers your arms and legs completely. Wear thick shoes so that you would not step on something hot and hurt your feet.
- Smog and smoke would be at the highest recorded level. If you have any respiratory problems, stay indoors and always have a mask.
- If you are a tourist visiting a Diwali celebrating destination, make sure to pre-book all the facilities. Demand would be sky-high during this festival.
- Temples will be crowded beyond your imagination. Thus, if you are traveling with young children, beware of their safety.
- Always have first-aid kit handy.
- The sound pollution would also be at the height during this celebration. Thus, make sure to wear proper ear cover.
There is much more to Diwali and no amount of flowery English phrases would be able to capture the spirit and vividness of the celebration. This is the celebration of bliss and color and it is best enjoyed by being there during the celebration and taking part in the activities. Get started with your Diwali vacation by booking tickets with Palace on Wheels. Avail Palace on Wheels offer for more details.
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Places to Visit in India during Diwali Festival: