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In India, there are a lot of festivals that are being celebrated vividly by various religions. Diwali is one of the biggest festivals among those, celebrated by more than billions of people accross the world. The reason behind this celebration is to celebrate the joy of the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. The name Diwali came from the Sanskrit word Deepavali (dīpāvali), which means “The row of lights”; Diwali is mostly celebrated between October to November because this festival is arranged based on the Hindu lunar calendar, which marks each month by the time it takes the moon to orbit Earth. Diwali begins just before the arrival of a new moon between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika—which typically falls in October or November of the Gregorian calendar.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists, although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories, but nonetheless, the festival represents the same symbolic victory.
Hinduism is considered the oldest living religion in the world. There are several versions of the Diwali stories that vary among the geographic communities in India.
In northern India, people celebrate the triumph of Prince Rama as he returned to the Ayodhya from 14 years of exile due to the plotting of his evil stepmother, after a heroic rescue of his wife Sita, an incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, who had been kidnapped by the rival king Ravana.
In southern India, Diwali is celebrated in honor of the victory of Lord Krishna over the devil Narakasura, who was a demon king and imprisoned 16000 women in his palace and meted out harsh punishments to any of his subjects who dared stand up against him.
In western India, Vishnu‘s banishment of king Bali is celebrated as Diwali. King Bali was the biggest threat to the gods as he had immense power to destroy gods.
In eastern India, in Bengal (West Bengal) Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja. Goddess Kali is the symbol of power, the victory of good over evil. People worship goddess Kali to get rid of bad powers.
This religion arose in the late 15th century as a movement within Hinduism that is particularly devoted to Vishnu. Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas in remembrance of the release of Guru Hargobind from the Gwalior Fort prison by the Mughal emperor, Jahangir, and the day he arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
This religion arose in the middle of the first century B.C. A scholar of Jain and Nivethan, states that in Jain tradition, Diwali is celebrated in observance of “Mahavira Nirvana Divas”, the physical death and final nirvana of Mahavira. The Jain Diwali celebrated in many parts of India has similar practices to the Hindu Diwali, such as the lighting of lamps and the offering of prayers to Lakshmi. However, the focus of the Jain Diwali remains the dedication to Mahavira.
This religion emerged in the 6th century B.C. celebrate Diwali as the day the Hindu Emperor Ashoka, who ruled in the third century B.C., converted to Buddhism. But Diwali is not a festival for most Buddhists, with the exception of the Newar people of Nepal.
As we previously said, the Diwali word came from the Sanskrit word “Dipavali” which means “Row of lights“; now, as Diwali symbolizes the victory of the light (good power) over the darkness (bad power), people enlighten their houses, streets and other areas with plenty of lights to defeat the darkness from their mind and from their society. People also enjoy the bright fireworks which are symbolized as a weapon to defeat the bad power (darkness).
Diwali is a five days long festival, each of the days has its own significance.
On the first day, people pray to the goddess Lakshmi, bake sweets, and clean their homes.
On the second day, people decorate with lamps and rangolis, designs made on the floor out of colored sand, powder, rice, or flower petals.
The third day is the most important day for Diwali. people may attend the temple to honor Lakshmi or gather with friends and family for feasts and fireworks. Devotees also set ablaze the lamps they had displayed the day before.
The fourth day is celebrated as the new year (for most of the Hindu regions), people exchange gifts and well wishes with one another.
The last day of Diwali, The fifth day, is celebrated to honor one’s siblings.