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Diwali Traditions

One of the greatest Hindu festivals, Diwali is an occassion unparalleled in its splendour and dazzling glory. From ancient times, it has been a festival for Hindus to get closer to their friends and relatives and celebrate their health and happiness as well as pray for their spiritual advancement. Various fascinating traditions are associated to this wonderful festival and with the occassion approaching again, it is time for you to check out all about these customs. If you like reading our article on "Diwali Traditions", click here and refer this page to your friends and dear ones who you feel will be interested to enjoy it. May this Diwali bring peace and happiness for you and your near ones.
Diwali, the "Festival of Lights", celebrates a plethora of Hindu legends in all their glory. It is a time when Hindus of all ages and social standings around the world indulge in unbridled fun and entertainment as well as perform important religious activities. Primarily a sacred occassion dedicated to the celebration of the triumph of good forces over evil powers in mythical incidents occuring long long back, Diwali is similar to other Hindu religious festivals in the sense that there are several traditions associated with its celebrations. These customs and rituals, religious as well as non-religious, are observed over the five days of the festival.

'Dhanteras', the first day of Diwali, has Hindus across the world cleaning and decorating their houses and workplaces.
It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi, the bestower of wealth and prosperity, visits only those houses which are kept neat and clean. The cleaning drive is follwed by decoration with items like diyas (earthen lamps), candles, electric lights and garlands of fresh flowers beautifying every nook and corner of homes and workplaces. In many North Indian states, members of individual homes draw colourful 'rangoli's, beautiful designs created using cereals and pulse grains, on the ground before their front entrances, as well as in the living room to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. It is regarded as an auspicious day to shop and to buy utensils, jewelries as well as other valuable gold and silver items as they signify bringing wealth home. In Maharashtra, lightly pounded dry coriander seeds and jaggery are offered to the Goddess on this day as a mark of respect. People in the villages show respect to their cattle as cows are considered sacred and others of mankind (as they nourish humans with milk) in Hinduism. Lamps and candles are lit throughout the night to make a warm reception to the Goddess who is believed to visit individual homes at this time.

On the second day, people wake up early in the morning taking bath before sunrise. Then they anoint themselves with oil and 'Ubtan' (scrub made up of gram flour and fragrant powders). Bursting of firecrackers, is a highlight of the day and this funfilled tradition is enthusiastically observed at night by young and old alike. The noise of the crackers is believed to scare and drive out evil spirits from every home. Lighted diyas and candles are placed everywhere on this night around each home by their inhabitants to set the mood for celebrations.

The third day is the main day of the Diwali festival and people add speciality to it by dressing up in new clothes and visting houses of their friends and relative, exchanging gifts and wishes and sharing sweets with them. Women prepare sweets by themselves at home in advance of the celebrations for this purpose. Children burst firecrackers on this day.

The fourth day of the festival is dedicated to the worship of Lord Govardhan or Lord Krishna. It is the time of 'Annakoot', when the deities in the temples of Mathura and Nathadwara are bathed with milk and dressed with precious clothes and ornaments. Numerous delicacies are offered to the deities as a mark of respect and obeisance.

The fifth and last day of Diwali culminates in another important Hindu festival known as 'Bhai Duj', an occassion dedicated to the beautiful relationship between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters treat their brothers with delicacies and good wishes. Even married women invite their brothers to their homes for this purpose. In return, brothers offer their sisters with sweets and gifts, often inculding a token cash amount.

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