Diwali is undoubtedly the most celebrated festival in India and among Hindus all over the world. Diwali or Deepavali means a row of lamps or lights. As Ram, Sita and Laxman arrived back in Ayodhya after defeating Ravan, jubilant citizens of Ayodhya welcomed them with a row of lights. Significance of lights is more pronounced as it happens to fall on new moon, the darkest night, also referred to as amavasya.
Just like Navratri, Diwali is a multi-day festival, counting backwards -
Diwali is on the new moon day, last day of the lunar month. For Gujaratis, it also happens to be the last day of the year, which is why it is the day to close the books. Closing off the books for this year - personally and professionally - and reflecting back on the year. Reflecting on the credits and debits, plusses and minuses, the good and the bad. It is a time to assess, introspect and examine.
Day before Diwali, fourteenth day of the descending moon, is referred to as Kali Chaudash. It is also referred to as Narak Chaturdashi. Narak = hell and chaturdhashi = fourteenth. It signifies the defeat of a demon (Narakasur) by Lord Krushna. Perhaps because of Narakasur, there are beliefs that the bad spirits (or spirits from hell) roam around. And as a result, Lord Hanuman is worshipped on this day to help protect against those spirits.
"Bhoot Pishaach Nikat Nahi Aave…"
Besides, Lord Ram gave boon to Hanuman that Hanuman would always be worshipped before him.
Sameedh offers following prayers to be recited on Kalichaudash -
Thirteenth day of the dark fortnight is celebrated as Dhanterash. Dhan = wealth and terash = thirteenth. Goddess Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. Wealth is often misinterpreted to refer to monetary wealth. But wealth here refers to wealth of good health, wealth of good and noble gains, wealth of pure spiritual thoughts and wealth of having supportive friends and family. Dhanvantari is the Hindu god of Ayurveda, a medicine system originated and developed in India. Dhanvantari along with Goddess Lakshmi and Ganpati are worshipped on this day. It is a day to wish for good “dhan”.
Sameeedh offers following prayers to be recited on Dhanterash -
New Years Day
Where Diwali is celebrated as the last day of the year, day after Diwali is the New Years Day! It is a day of new beginnings, new resolutions, new relationships, new promises … fresh starts.
Second day is celebrated as Bhaibij or Bhaiduj. Bhai = brother and bij or duj = second. Tradition for this day began with Yam (God of death) going to his sister (Yamuna)’s home. Just like Rakshabandhan, this is a day honoring the purest relationship of all - brother and sister.
These five days making up Diwali are the festive times. As the winter begins, it is a time to eat special food that provides the immunity to fight against the cold. It is time to celebrate with fireworks. It is a time to reflect. It is a time to pay respect to the elders. It is a time to appreciate the wealth one has and desire for more of it. It is a time to recognize the defeat of good over evil. Above all, it is a time to light the lamps within.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali and a wonderful new year, from the Sameedh family.