Diwali or Deepavali (in Sanskrit), means �row of lights� and thus is popularly known as the festival of lights. This is a 5-day festival celebrated by Hindus all over the country late in October or early November. It is perhaps one of the festivals that is equally popular among the non-Hindus as well.
Diwali signifies the triumph of good over bad or evil i.e. the victory of brightness over darkness. If legends were to believe, it is said, the residents of Ayodhya celebrated by lighting oil lamps the victorious return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, having defeated the demon king Ravana.
Before the advent of Diwali, people clean their houses and mainly the old, unused stuff is cleared off. This symbolizes releasing the negativity of one�s lives and making room for positive changes.
Each of the 5-days has a unique significance and meaning attached to it. The first official day of Diwali falls on the 13th day of Kartik month, which is called Dhanteras. This day is for celebrating wealth. Hence people buy gold and new kitchen utensils on that day. The front-yard of the house is decorated with colourful rangolis. In the evening, people worship Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity. Some even have a reunion of family and friends to play cards and gamble as it is considered to be a good omen.
The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi or called Choti Diwali in North India. People take early morning oil bath and then the whole day is celebrated visiting friends and family and exchanging sweets. In the evenings, oil lit clay lamps adorn the homes and people also decorate their homes with lanterns, while fireworks and crackers fill the surroundings.
The third day is the main day i.e the day of Lakshmi puja. People worship and welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth on this day. Businessmen close old accounts and open new accounts on this day. In West Bengal, Assam and Odisha, this day is celebrated with Kali Puja.
In North India, the Govardhana Puja happens on the fourth day of Diwali, while in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu people celebrate the victory of Lord Vishnu over demon king Bali.
The fifth day is the last day of the Diwali festival, which is called Bhai Dhuj. This day is dedicated to sisters. On this day, brothers and sisters come together to celebrate their love and bond. This day is marked by a feast at home and brothers and sisters exchange gifts and rejoice each other�s company.
Thus Diwali, the festival of light emphasizes the shine within oneself while illuminating our surroundings. It lets you introspect and ward off your inner demons and darkness within. This year, Diwali falls on October 27, 2019.