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Radiance of Tradition: The Profound Significance and Importance of Diwali in Hindu Culture

Today's generation associates Diwali with making rangoli, putting up new clothes, exchanging Diwali gifts, and lighting fireworks. However, the festival is much more than that. It is not only popular for its vibrant displays but also for its deeper spiritual and cultural significance.


When is Diwali Celebrated?

Diwali is celebrated annually on the Kartika Amavasya, or 'new moon day,' according to the Indian lunar calendar. As a result, it is observed on different dates each year, but usually, it takes place in October or November. The festival spans five days of vibrant celebrations: Dhanteras, Chaturdashi, Diwali, Govardhan Puja, and Bhai Dooj. The main day, Diwali, is observed on the third day.


Historical Origin

The Festival of Lights is traced back thousands of years with its roots embedded in the legendary Sri Ramcharitmanas or Ramayan text. It marks the celebration of Lord Ram, an incarnation of the God Vishnu returning to Ayodhya, his kingdom along with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita after 14 years of exile and defeating the demon king Ravana. To celebrate the occasion, people dress up, exchange Diwali gifts, and spend quality time with family.


For Hindus, Diwali also marks the victory of Goddess Lakshmi over the demon Narakasura. The worship of Goddess Lakshmi during Diwali is believed to bring prosperity and wealth. In Jainism, Diwali is associated with Lord Mahavira's attainment of nirvana. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the day when Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Sikh Guru, was released from imprisonment.


Diwali Rituals

Home Cleaning and Decoration

The first step in starting with the Diwali celebration is cleanliness. People deep clean their homes days before the festival. This includes refurbishments, throwing away unwanted items, polishing all show pieces, and sweeping every little corner of the house. Afterward, the place is decorated with lights, lamps, diyas, flowers, and other stuff to make it more appealing. Also, people make rangolis at their door entrance to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to bring wealth & good fortune.


Shopping and Gifting

The most indulgent and exciting aspect of the festival remains shopping and gifting. People go shopping for new clothes, home goods, and appliances, as well as Diwali gifts for their loved ones. It fosters an attitude of charity, love, and community. As a result, everyone looks for the greatest Diwali gift for the family because it allows them to express their gratitude, build ties, and invoke prosperity blessings. This kind of act spreads happiness and transforms the festival into a time of sharing and care for all.


Lakshmi Pooja

The most important Diwali ceremony is the Lakshmi Pooja. People worship the Goodess and seek blessings for a wealthy, peaceful, and prosperous life. According to Hinduism, every prayer or pooja begins with Lord Ganesh to ensure an auspicious start. The ritual concludes with the burning of a diya in front of the idol and offering it sweets, flowers, and prayers.


Food Feasts

After Lakshmi puja, it's time to feast on some delectable food. Delicious foods like samosas, pakoras, paneer, daal, and veggies are served with rice, wheat bread, or poori. Following this are sweets, which are a staple of all Hindu celebrations. Some traditional Diwali sweets are jalebi, coconut, barfi, gulab jamun, kheer, halwa, kaju katli, and more.


Fireworks

Bursting crackers is another important Diwali ceremony. People lit up the night sky with diyas, lanterns, and firecrackers. There are numerous options available in the market, such as phooljhadi, chaklis, mini bombs, rockets, and the ultimate sky shots. However, environmental concerns have led to a worldwide ban on the use of fireworks.


The Significance Of Diwali

Religiously, the burning of lamps and the bursting of fireworks herald the return of Lord Shree Rama to his realm after a 14-year exile. During this time, despite several obstacles and trials, he pursued the path of Dharma and Maryada. Therefore, the festival has much more significance in the Hindu culture.


Spiritual Significance

Diwali, the festival of lights has a great spiritual significance in the Hindu culture. It symbolises the triumph of good over evil, as well as the triumph of light over darkness. The clean surroundings, bright dwelling, and diya lighting represent the eradication of ignorance and negative energy. The bursting of crackers, on the other hand, is considered the expulsion of negative forces and the celebration of life's joys. In addition, exchanging Diwali presents serves as a reminder to serve love, unity, and companionship.


Diwali is a time for spiritual awakening and cleansing of the mind and soul for many individuals. They seek forgiveness for their past deeds and promise to lead a life on the path of Dharma, just like Lord Shree Rama.


Cultural Significance

In Hindu culture, family always takes precedence over anything else in life. As a result, the Diwali festival is a time when families, especially those who live far apart, gather to rejoice and strengthen their relationships. The lights, home decorations, and delectable cuisine provide a warm and inviting environment for family members to gather and spend valuable time together. Besides, engaging in prayers, pujas, and rituals, reinforces faith and a sense of belonging in the children.


Furthermore, the tradition of distributing Diwali gifts among family and friends develops a sense of solidarity and connection. Finding the proper Diwali gifts for family members symbolises the spirit of charity and provides an opportunity to get to know one another better.


Economic Significance

Diwali, in addition to being a religious and cultural celebration, is also essential for India's economic development. Economic activity is boosted as people shop for clothes, gifts, home decor, jewelry, appliances, and other items. As every industry is busy, many businesses raise the holiday spirit by giving bonuses and gifts to their staff, increasing their spending and saving capacity.


Diwali has its roots in India, but the rituals, significance, and celebrations have crossed the borders. Indians worldwide mark the festival with great zeal and enthusiasm. Many non-Hindu communities and countries around the world celebrate Diwali to promote cultural diversity, unity, and harmony.


Author

Ajay Singh Rawat

Guest Writer


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