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Diwali 2016 Festival in Varanasi

About Diwali : Diwali is commonly known as the festival of lights. It is a traditional festival and has more importance for Hindus. It is celebrated by Hindu families together by performing some religious rituals. In October-November or Aswin-Kartik comes Diwali or Deepawali Festival. In Hinduism, it is celebrated as a greatest festival of the year at the night of the New Moon or Amavasya of Aswin Month. In Jainism, Diwali is celebrated on the day of Mahavira’s Nirvana or Salvation in 527 BCE. Everybody celebrates Diwali by decorating houses with wired electric lamps or by lighting small clay diyas filled with oil or ghee which is the indication of victory of goodness over evil. Electric lamp lighting, ghee diya lighting or candle lighting starts at night. Everybody wake up early in the morning and pure cleanliness in all spheres is maintained to respect the Goddess Lakshmi who is said to come every home to check devotion of devotees.

Nowadays firework and crackers have come in vogue but it was not known to earlier times. Hence any fire cracking in the name of religion or in the name of pleasing god can’t be attributed to roots of festival. Today it is common belief that fire crackers push away the evil spirits. Sharing sweets is the sign of making new friendship with the new hopes. All the pastors dressed up in the new clothes on this day and distribute sweets, snacks to each other within family members or friends.

In Varanasi also it is celebrated with great enthusiasm.

History and Origin of Diwali :
Hindu Puranas tells the deep history of Deepawali. According to the scriptures, when evil power increases in this world, Lord Vishnu comes to the earth taking incarnations to conquer the evil power. In this order Vishnu had taken the Krishna and Rama Avatars. Events of their victory are commemorated by lighting Diyas. Diyas are a symbolic of ancient period when earthen-ware used.

Astrological Predictions of Diwali 2016 :
Though the whole day of festival is auspicious Indian astrologers have tendency to find out most auspicious hours of worship for maximum gain from worship. The complete duration of Lakshmi Puja on Diwali 2016 will be for 1 hour and 28 mins. The Lakshmi and Ganesha Puja will start from 6.50 pm to 8.19 pm.

Schedule of Diwali 2016 in Varanasi :
Diwali 2016 would be celebrated by the people all over India as well as Indians living abroad on Sunday, 30th of October, 2016. Diwali is everyone’s most favorite and traditional 5 days long festival. It would be celebrated according to following schedule of events:

  • Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi or Dhanvantari Trayodashi or Yama Deepam on 28th of October 2016, at Friday).Dhanteras Festival which marks the beginning of financial year for most business communities as well as Hindus. On this day a broom is must bought as a symbolic of cleanliness. This is the day on which every Hindu family must buy some gems, precious metals, shares, coins, jewelry, utensils etc. as affordable though never by poors.
  • Choti Diwali or Kali Chaudas is also called Hanuman Puja or Narak Chaturdashi falls on 29th of October 2016, at Saturday.The second day of Diwali festival is the Naraka Chaturdasi which denotes the victory of Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama over demon Naraka. Diwali is celebrated in Benaras and all over country on the Amavasya of Hindu Month of Kartik and people whole-heartedly worship Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) for fulfilling their wishes.
  • Main Diwali (or Lakshmi Puja or Diwali Puja on 30th of October 2016, at Sunday).
  • Padwa or Govardhan Puja is also called Annakuta or Bali Pratipada or Gujarati New Year is on 31st of October 2016, at Monday.On the 4th day (celebrated as Padwa) of Diwali, Bali went to Patala and made his new kingdom. It is considered that Lord Vishnu had defeated Bali and banished him to Patal Loka (a world that is underground in Hindu Mythology) to control his powers on the Amavasya. Lord Vishnu took his Vamana Avatar and went to King Bali in disguise of Hindu Child Priest. Bali asked him what he needed. Lord Vamana said, “You are the leader of Earth, the Patalloka and Heavens.” Vamana requested him to give him 3 feet space. King Bali laughed as he knew that Lord has come in disguise and granted permission to Vamana to do the same. He thought that surely a small child could not cover a large extent of ground, so he was agreed to Vamana’s request. Once the demand of Vamana was granted by Bali, the Vamana covered the whole world (all the three loka) in his two steps. And for the third step he asked the Bali for some high place from his foot so that he could be satisfied. The decent and infuriated Bali asked Vamana to place his third step on his head. Vamana covered third loka by putting foot on his head. According to Hindu cosmogony, Bali laid under the surface of earth.
  • Bhai Duj It is also known as Chitra gupt Jayanti or Bhaiya Dooj or Bhau Beej or Yama Dwitiyais on 1st of November 2016, at Tuesday.The fifth day of Diwali is known as the Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj (the day of sisters and brothers). On this day Sisters perform arti and put tilak on the forehead of their brothers for their long life and safety and brothers wish sisters their protection. A small earthen-lamp is lighted outside the house dedicated to Lord Yama (God of Death) in the south direction as it this direction is the abode of Yama to protect lives from unprecedented deaths.

Worship of Lord Ganesha in Hindu Religion :
Lord Ganesha is worshipped with Goddess Lakshmi. People pray Lord Ganesha for their good luck and wisdom. Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. Lord Ganesha is the Lord of victory and demolisher of evil powers. His worship is overvalued in the Panchayatana puja as he is one of the five Hindu deities.

Legends of Diwali : Not one but there is numerous legends related to Diwali Celebration.

It is said that Diwali or Deepavali Festival is celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya City after 14 years of exile. As the legend states, Lord Rama was exiled by Kaikeyi for 14 years to vacate royal seat for his own son Bharat to rule Ayodhya as the real heir according to monarchy was Lord Rama, the eldest son of King Dashratha. Though Dasharatha didn’t want to exile his son Rama he had to do so as an obligation to the service of her queen Kaikeyi, who has controlled his chariot in a war and saved his life. At that time King Dasharatha had vowed to give her any blessing when time comes and queen demanded exile of Rama when time came.

There is another narrative that all the circumstances that led to exile of Lord Rama was motivated by himself as he was the divine and supreme one come on earth in incarnation of Rama to eliminate evil from earth. The biggest evil at that time was Ravana the devil king of Sri Lanka. Some say, had he not motivated brain of KaikeyiRavana had never been killed. In whole episode of Ramayana it is shown that exile of Rama created a platform for Rama to kill Ravana who was always motivated by evil spirit.

The Story of Krishna and the Mountain
Lord Krishna convinced the public of Gokula to worship the Govardhan Mountain rather than God Indra. Indra got angered and sought revenge. He sent a lot of thunder and heavy downpour in the Gokula. Then Lord Krishna saved the life of people by lifting Govardhan Mountain on his little finger. The people gathered under it awaiting the storm passed away. The myth of offering food to God on Diwali is giving importance to God and being thankful for his generous nature.

Story of Swami DayanandaSaraswati
Story of Swami DayanandaSaraswati is associated with Diwali which says that he was one of the first persons to light the torch for Hindu rebirth in the last century, had passed into perpetuity on this day.

Story of Goddess Lakshmi :
It is considered that Goddess Lakshmi was born from the ocean when churning of the ocean was going on by demons and deities for finding out the drink of immortality, called Amrit. Thus, the Diwali festival is celebrated to memorialize the origin of the Goddess Lakshmi. People do Lakshmi Puja on Diwali to drive out darkness of evil spirits and get plenty of blessings and prosperity. Everybody prepares their puja thali after the sunset to offer the Goddess Lakshmi homemade sweets, ghee diya, essence, camphor and after puja they distribute prasad to each other. They exchange gifts to each other on this day and all men, women and children go to the temple in new dress, go to fairs, visit friends as well as relatives.

At this event, cattle are also ornamented and worshipped by villagers as they are good source of income. Cows are specially worshipped and adorned on this day because they are believed to be the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi. In Bengal, Diwali festival is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Kali, the fearful and violent appearance of Durga.

Return of the Pandavas at this day :
According to the Mahabharata, Diwali is considered had started when Pandavas returned home on KartikAmavasya. They returned home on KartikAmavasya after a long period of their 12 years of exile because of their defeat from Kauravas in the gambling. People who loved Pandavas had celebrated this day by lighting a lot of lamps.

Diwali Celebration :
Diwali is a 5 days long festival celebrated at 3rd day and starts with Diwali is feted all over the world with immense passion and full devotion signifying the victory of goodness against evil. People of all religions celebrate it together by disregarding their differences. They decorate their huts, homes, or buildingswith clay Diyas and candles. The entrance gate is garlanded with the flowers and adorned with the Rangolis to greet Goddess Lakshmi.

Diwali is an auspicious festival for everybody. People shop, inauguratestheir new homes, and launch new ventures and projects on Diwali. Diwali brings the variety of yummy sweets, Kheer, Barfi, BundiLaddos, Pedas, Rasgullas, and makes our mouth watery. People unite on this day forgetting years of enmity. Celebration of Main Diwali Main day of Diwali is celebrated by lighting Diyas. Earthen Diyas are a must though new lighting materials and electrical appliances have flooded the market in present age. Crackers are a new fashion and increasing day by day. Burning fire crackers in large numbers have often reported casualties and harm environment. People go to temples and shop according to individual affordability. You can found market flooded with decorative items, new stock filled everywhere. Statues of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are seen at every shop.

Diwali Decorations :
People adorn their home with flowers, roli, rangoli, Goddess foot prints, hanging bells, door hangings and give their home a cultural and graceful look. Well painted or decked clay Diyas add a festive essence to the rooms. Decorative things can be located in the courtyards, balconies or ridges. Brass idol of Lakshmi and Ganesha sighted at the corner of room givescomplete look. They decorate their gate-ways with the beautiful rangolis to attract neighbors and relatives. Kalash and exclusive pots are also placed in the middle of courtyard.

Red and yellow color bandhanwar is a famous and traditional door hanging which is hung at the gateway of home in the belief that it will drive away the evil power from entering into home.

Flowers for Diwali Decoration :
Flowers are integral part and play a great role in decoration items of Diwali festival. Flowers are used to make rangoli in the courtyard or gateway. Also used for worship and giving gift of flower bouquet to friend, relatives, neighbors. Online florists offer attractive flower packing as gift, worship as well as decoration purposes. A bouquet of fresh flowers can be placed in the room for more appeal.

Diwali Gift Ideas :
Gift are given to each other to increase the happiness levels of your loved ones and indicate your love and respect to them. A variety of Diwali gift are available in the market such as silver coins, idols, dry fruits, sweets, candle stands, furnishing items, accessories, lamps, bed sheets, pillow covers, wall hangings, table sets, carpets, flowerpots, chocolates, apparels, puja thali, kalash and many more. There are different types of diyas in the market such as red diya, swastika diyas, terracotta diyas, makhhandiyas, wax diyas, ethnic diyas, etc.

Diwali Crackers and Fireworks :
Diwali is a festival of lights, sounds, worship and sharing gifts. A variety of crackers with safety levels are available to enjoy the Diwali. Children, young and old all enjoys Diwali fireworks and crackers. It is always advisable for people specially children to use crackers with safety. Crackers are a new fashion and increasing day by day. Burning fire crackers in large numbers is a bane to environment and sustainable development. The extent of cracker burning is such that a PIL was filed in Supreme Court of India to ban crackers but the court refuged in respect of religious freedom guaranteed by Constitution of India and to contain public sentiment.

Diwali Customs and Traditions :
Gambling is the great custom at Diwali. According to mythology, Goddess Parvati had fun while playing dice with Lord Shiva on this day. It is said that those who win on Diwali would win whole year. Playing chance and win at Diwali night is a sign of remaining prosperous whole year.

Lakshmi and Ganesh Puja :
Lakshmi Puja is held on main day of Diwali together with worship of the Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is worshiped as a Vighnaharta of all the vighna (obstacles) of the people. People offer Goddess Lakshmi red flowers, ghee diya, camphor and worship by chanting the mantras and Aarti.

Traditions of Diwali Festival :
It is considered that a morning bath is very crucial on Diwali. People in Benaras take bath before sunrise and do their all works in proper discipline and punctuality. There is myth that the routine one would follow on Diwali would be key to routine of whole year.

Diwali Superstitions : There are a number of superstitions correlated with the Diwali festival and followed as rituals all over the country.

  • Cleansing: Everybody sanitize their home on this day in the myth that when Goddess Lakshmi will arrives in their home prosperity will be there for the entire year. Much of the waste material is produced and dumped into the open ignoring all environmental concerns. A lot of water is wasted in the name of cleaning.
  • Gambling: It is another custom of Diwali in the myth that prosperity will be throughout the year by playing game of chance. Many people lose as all can’t be winners and people create violence in a fit of rage or losing the game.
  • Chirag: Women put floating Chirags (lamps) in the Ganges water which is a sign of good luck. A lot of waste material is produced in such rituals and pollutes river water.
  • Driving out Alakshmi: Old woman of the house drive out Alakshmi in the early morning of Diwali. It is considered that Alakshmi is the goddess of misfortune, paucity and calamity, so they drive out her from home.

Message of Diwali : Nowadays many decorative items, fire-crackers are becoming a hazard in the name of celebration and religion. A lot of harmful materials are produced every year and make it difficult for municipalities and government to dispose them off safely. Fire crackers are a threat to children and many times animals get injured in such activities. People become insensitive to poor creatures and often tie crackers in the tail of dogs, cats and monkeys and light it. All these things are negative custom in the name of Diwali which is a festival with message of peace and prosperity. Such untoward happenings should be avoided and should not be debated in the name of religion. The celebration of Diwali could bring a real joy only if you are considerate to smallest creature of the earth and leave all dogmatic practices.

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