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Traditions and Festivals India's vibrant festivals and unique traditions..

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Old October 28th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Lightbulb Happy Diwali. What each day of Diwali means.

Diwali, Lighting The Lamps

{ Introduction to Diwali }

Every Year On the dark nights if Diwali the sound of firecrackers announces the celebration of the favourite festival of Indians. Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed by everyone and thousands of lamps lit to create a world of fantasy. Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. Enthusiastically enjoyed by people of every religion, its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity. Diwali Celebrations in India are similar to Christmas celebrations in the USA.
{ Origin of Diwali }

The ancient story of how Diwali evolved into such a widely celebrated festival is different in various regions and states of India. In the north, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and the surrounding areas, Diwali is the day when King Rama'scoronation was celebrated in Ayodhya after his epic war with Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. By order of the royal families of Ayodhya and Mithila, the kingdom of which Sita was princess, the cities and far-flung boundaries of these kingdoms were lit up with rows of lamps, glittering on dark nights to welcome home the divine king Rama and his queen Sita after 14 years of exile, ending with an across-the-seas war in which the whole of the kingdom of Lanka was destroyed.


{ How Diwali is celebrated all across India }

{ The first day : Dhana Teras }

The first day of Diwali is Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras. Doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Rangolis are drawn with different coloured powders to welcome guests. The traditional motifs are often linked with auspicious symbols of good luck. Oil diyas are arranged in and around the house. Because of these flickering lamps, the festival has acquired its name : Dipawali or Diwali meaning `a rows of lamps'. On this day, people buy something for the house or some jewellery for the women of the house. It is auspicious to be buy something metallic, esp silver.
{ The second day : Kali Chaudas }

The next day or Kali Chaudas is also called Chhoti Diwali.

{ The third day : Diwali }

On the dark new moon night, the entrances to all homes are lit up and decorated with rangoli patterns to welcome Lakshmi, the radiant consort of Vishnu and the goddess of wealth and lustre. Lakshmi Puja is performed on this day. Diwali is the last day of financial year in traditional Hindu business and businessmen perform Chopda Pujan on this day on the new books of accounts. The day ends with a mega cracker bursting sessions. For 5-6 hours, every family burns fire crackers worth thousands of ruppees. Poplular fire crackers are sparkling pots, bombs, rockets etc.



{ The fourth day : New Year day or Bestavarsh }

The day after the Lakshmi Puja, most families celebrate the new year by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewellery and visiting family members and business colleagues to give them sweets, dry fruits and gifts. Among the business communities of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Diwali is the festival when the new
business year begins. All business establishments and families perform muharat pujan or veneration of their books. Stock brokers do mahurat trading or symbolic auspicious business deals to i iwali : Time to shop or start new ventures</FONT> }</B></FONT>

Diwali, one of the longest festivals in the Hindu year, is a time when everything in India comes to a standstill except family life, feasting and shopping. Diwali is considered auspicious for shopping, inaugurations of new homes, business deals or for starting any new ventures and projects.

{ Diwali in Krishna Temples }

In many Krishna temples, Diwali is celebrated as a day of feeding and venerating cows. In Nathdwar, for instance, there is a day-long feast for cattle called Annakoot. The reason for this special place given to the cow lies deep in the religious consciousness of Indians.The sacredness of the cow goes back to the myth of the churning of the cosmic ocean by the gods. Of the 14 `jewels' which the ocean gave to the gods, Kamadhenu ,the celestial cow, was one. She was venerated as the mother of the universe. The celestial cow is also called Surabhi or Nandini, the giver of joy and plenty. A cow is the constant companion of Krishna.

{ Diwali in South India }In the south, Diwali has two more legends connected with it. The first legend again concerns the victory of good over evil. Narakasura the demon of hell, challenged Krishna to battle. After a fierce fight lasting two days, the demon was killed at dawn on Narakachaturdashi.To commemorate this event, people in peninsular India wake before sunrise and make imitation blood by mixing kumkum or vermillion with oil. After crushing underfoot a bitter fruit as a symbol of the demon, they apply the `blood' triumphantly on their foreheads. They then have ritual oil baths, annointing themselves with sandalwood paste. Visits to temples for prayers are followed by large family breakfasts of fruits and a variety of sweets. The second legend is about King Bali, the benevolent demon king of the netherworld. He was so powerful that he became a threat to the power of celestial deities and their kingdoms. Intimidated by his expanding empire and taking advantage of his well-known generosity, they sent Vishnu as the dwarf mendicant Vamana, to dilute Bali's power. Vamana shrewdly asked the king for land that would cover three steps as he walked. The king happily granted this gift. Having tricked Bali, Vishnu revealed himself in the full glory of his godhood. He covered the heaven in his first step and the earth in his second. Realizing that he was pitted against the mighty Vishnu, Bali surrendered and offered his own head inviting Vishnu to step on it. Vishnu pushed him into the nether world with his foot. In return Vishnu gave him the lamp of knowledge to light up the dark underworld. He also gave him a blessing that he would return to his people once a year to light millions of lamps from this one lamp so that on the dark new moon light of Diwali, the blinding darkness of ignorance , greed, jealousy, lust, anger ego, and laziness would be dispelled and the radiance of knowledge, wisdom and friendship prevail. Each year on Diwali day , even today, one lamp lights another and like a flame burning steadily on a windless night, brings a message of peace and harmony to the world .


{ Diwali : Time to rejoice and enjoy }
Whatever may be the fables and legends behind the celebrations of Diwali, all people exchange sweets, wear new clothes and buy jewellery at this festive time. Card parties are held in many homes. Diwali has become commercialised as the biggest annual consumer spree because every family shops for sweets, gifts and fireworks. However, in all this frenzy of shopping and eating, the steady, burning lamp is a constant symbol of an illuminated mind .
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Old October 28th, 2008, 04:02 AM
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Re: Happy Diwali. What each day of Diwali means.

It's a proper time to rejoice and enjoy, 'economy falling' can't daunt us.

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Old October 29th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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Re: Happy Diwali. What each day of Diwali means.

thx for posting this cha
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