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Viva Holidays Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd. Diwali
Diwali", the festival of lights, illuminates the darkness of the New Year's moon, and strengthens our close friendships and knowledge, with a self-realization!

 DiwaliDiwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya - the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, (October/November) every year. It symbolizes that age-old culture of India which teaches to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights even to-day in this modern world projects the rich and glorious past of India.

Every year on the dark nights of Diwali the sound of firecrackers announces the celebration of the favorite festival of Indians. Homes are decorated, sweets are distributed by everyone and thousands of lamps are 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. 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's coronation 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.

On the day of Diwali festival, doorways are hung with torans of mango leaves and marigolds. Rangolis are drawn with different colored 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 jewelry for the women of the house. It is auspicious to be buy something metallic, such as silver.

Whatever may be the fables and legends behind the celebrations of Diwali, all people exchange sweets, wear new clothes and buy jewelry at this festive time. Card parties are held in many homes. Diwali has become commercialized 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.

The Jain communities of India celebrate Diwali as a New Year's Day. Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained his Nirvana on the day of Diwali. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to express joy at the return of the sixth Guru to Amritsar in 1620; Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned him along with 52 Hindu kings. The Guru was granted freedom but refused to leave until the kings were also released.

Diwali is by far the most enthusiastically enjoyed festival in India. People of different nationalities, races, religions and backgrounds come together to share their joys generating a feeling of universal brotherhood and inter-religious harmony.

Lakshmi Puja
Diwali marks the end of the harvest season in most of India and Nepal. Farmers are thankful for the plentiful bounty of the year gone by, and pray for a good harvest for the year to come. Traditionally this marked the closing of accounts for businesses dependent on the agrarian cycle, and the last major celebration before winter. Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead. There are two legends that associate the worship of Lakshmi on this day.

According to the first legend, on this day, Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagar, the Ocean of Milk, during the great churning of the oceans, Samudra manthan. The second legend (more popular in western India) relates to the Vamana avatar of Vishnu, the incarnation he took to kill the demon king Bali. Thereafter it was on this day, that Vishnu came back to his abode, the Vaikuntha; so those who worship Lakshmi on this day, get the benefit of her benevolent mood, and are blessed with mental, physical and material well-being.

Chhoti Diwali
The day before Diwali is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali (small Diwali). This is the day when Hanuman reached Ayodhya to deliver the long-awaited message of Lord Rama’s return. On Chhoti Diwali, people socialise and exchange sweets and gifts.

There is a puja in the evening, and the puja sthan (most Indian homes have a special room or corner with a little temple in which they pray) is decorated with empty earthen lamps and newly purchased idols that are to be worshipped in it. In Bengal, people celebrate the Kali puja on this day. Kali is the Goddess of War and is highly revered by the Bengalis. In South India, an oil massage followed by a bath before dawn on this day is equated to taking a dip in the holy River Ganga. and a dip in the Ganga (the holy river of India supposed to absolve one of all sins) on this day is also considered to be an act of piety.

The Mass Celebration of Diwali Festival
Finally the big day arrives and the excitement reaches fever pitch, especially for the children, as they can hardly wait for the night to get their hands on the crackers! But the day itself is not without its share of delightful moments.

The women of the house get their culinary act together to turn out an elaborate feast. An extensive fare is laid out for the household, and certain sweets are especially made during this festival, as Diwali is also the festival of sweets and feasting. In the evening, lamps and candles are placed all around the house after which the entire family assembles for the puja.

A big earthen diya (lamp) is lit and later taken around the house to light all the candles and diyas. Every house – big or small – participates in this ritual. Even the most modest shacks are transformed into bright households with a few diyas. Every little village and town glitters on this night. The sky is set ablaze with thousands of crackers bursting and diffusing coloured lights high into the sky.
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