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Traditions And Significance Of The Festival Of Diwali

Author : Yash Misra

Submitted : 2010-09-21 14:13:21    Word Count : 1170    Popularity:   88

Tags:   Diwali, Diwali gifts to India, Diwali 2010, send Diwali gifts to India, Deepavali, Diwali gifts online, Diwali gifts

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India - a country abode to diverse religions. A nation that binds multiple races, castes, creeds and ethnic groups in a common chord of mutual respect, love and harmony. Festivals form the most integral part of Indian society. Filling the air with vibrant colors, the colossal churches, temples and mosques, threshold of the houses illuminated with rows of lamps, traditional attires, folklore, singing and dances and unwavering jubilance mark the festival in India. All the festivals that are celebrated in India have some mythological tales associated with them. Be it Eid-ul Fitr or Christmas, Raksha Bandhan or Diwali, festivals celebrated in India have an universal appeal. The concept of 'unity in diversity' encompasses all the festivals, making India a land that upholds multi-lingual, multi-cutural and multi-religious harmony.rnrnDiwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most auspicious festivals celebrated in India with full vim and brio. Diwali is known as the festival of lights. Diwali is celebrated on the last day of the last month of lunar calendar. According to the Hindu calender, last day of the last month of lunar calendar is 'Amavasya' (No moon Day). Every people in India candidly participates in this holy festival. Triumph of the good over the evil and ascendancy of wealth and prosperity is the main essence of the festival. Though the mode of celebration differs in different states according to their culture and rituals, the true essence of the festival remains the same everywhere.rnrnEssentially, Diwali is a five-day long festival. Many interesting rituals and traditions are attached and each of the five days are celebrated with fun and fervor. The first day of Diwali is known as 'Dhanteras' or 'Dhan Trayodashi'. Dhanteras is referred to as "Yamadeepdaan". To mark the occasion, lamps are kept illuminated throughout the night, in reverence of Yama, the God of Death. The festival of Dhanteras is also celebrated to honor the Dhanavanthri, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On this day, people decorate their houses and workplaces, make traditional 'Rangoli' motifs on the entrance, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Lamps and candles are lit throughout the night. It is considered auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day.rnrnThe second day of the festival is 'Narak Chaturdashi', or 'Chhoti Diwali'. According to mythology, the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna and he returned home in the very early morning of the day that is celebrated as Narakachaturdashi. On the other hand, Bengalis believe that Goddess Kali killed the demon Raktavija on this day. Different traditions are followed on this day in different parts of the country. In South India, people prepare a paste mixing Kumkum in the oil and bite a bitter fruit and then apply the paste on their forehead. Then they have an oil bath using sandalwood paste. In Maharashtra, on this day, it's a tradition of bathing before sunrise, anointing oneself with oil and 'Ubtan' (a paste of gram flour and fragrant powders). However, a custom that is followed unanimously on this day is bursting of crackers. People light diyas and lamps and adorns their houses.rnrnThe third day is the main day of the Diwali called 'Badi Diwali'. It is the day when Goddess Laxmi is worshiped and offered "Naivedya". It is believed that on this day, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya from exile after defeating the demon of Lanka, Ravana. On the eve of Diwali, every corner of the house are illuminated with eathen diyas, lamps and candles. Colorful 'Rangoli' motifs are used to beautify and decorate the entrances of the houses. This practice of beautifying the floor of the entrance is practiced as a tradition of welcoming Goddess Lakshmi who is believed to bestow the people of the house with wealth and prosperity. People adorn themselves in new attires and exchange gifts and sweets. Women prepare delicacies and heartfelt wishes are exchanged. Fireworks and burning of crackers is another significant symbol of celebration. According to the popular belief, illuminating homes with lights and filling the the skies with the smokes of the firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.rnrnThe next day, that is the fourth day is 'Govardhan-Puja' or 'Annakoot'. In home, usually 56 different food items are prepared and arranged in a thali and are placed before Lord Krishna. Prayers are chanted accompanied by holy hymns and songs. In temples, celebration takes place in a larger scale. The idols are bathed with milk and adorned with precious clothes and ornaments. Then a large variety of delicacies are offered to them.rnrnThe fifth and the last day is Bhai Dooj. This occasion has a number of legends associated with it and is celebrated in different parts of the country, in different manners. However, the tradition of putting a tilak of roli (vermilion), kesar (saffron) and rice on the brother's forehead by their sister as a mark of their love and protection, is observed everywhere. Sisters pray for good health and well-being of their brothers and brothers reciprocate this act by the gesture of presenting gifts to their sisters.rnrnOne of the inseparable part of Diwali festival is the gesture of gifting. Exchanging gifts on this holy occasion holds a special place. However, there are a number of Indians who reside offshore and cannot be with their families on Diwali. On such a predicament, they often seek aid of the advanced technology available. Thanks to the advancement of internet that these NRIs can send a gift to their loved ones in India, online. There are a multiple online gifting portals that facilitates e-gifting to India. Online gifting is less time consuming, and one may browse through a thousand gift articles with recurring clicks of the mouse. Easy payment process, secured payment gateways, proficient delivery service and the option to track the status of the order placed - all these make e-gifting a hassle-free affair.rnrnNot only helping the global NRIs with the service to send gifts to India, these e-gifting websites also aid the families in India to send gifts to abroad. Those who have their dear ones settled abroad, can now send gifts to USA or UK or Australia or Canada on a special occasion as Diwali. Enfolded with the selfless affection, love and best wishes, these gifts will surely convey the heartfelt emotions to them.rnrnDiwali is the celebration of illuminating one's own soul with the light of hope and positive energy. It brings people together in spite of religious, cultural, social or geographical barriers. With passing time, the mode of Diwali celebration have undergone several changes, yet the spirit of this auspicious festival remains the same. Enjoy Diwali 2010 will all joy and gaiety.

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