Really from the Sanskrit word Deepavali. Deepa – Light, Avali – Row. So row of lights. Celebrated over 5 days and each day gots myths, legends, beliefs and more importantly significance.
Day 1 – Called Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi (Dhan means wealth). Houses are cleaned and lights are lit and stuff to welcome the Goddess of Wealth aka Lakshmi. It says the ladies buy gold, silver or one two new utensils… I’m loving it! Puja performed, more lights lit to drive away bad things.
Some farmers worship the cattle coz that’s their source of income while in the South they worship the cattle coz its supposed to be an incarnation of Lakshmi.
Day 2 – Called Nakra-Chaturdashi or Choti Diwal. This day is mainly dedicated to lights and prayers heralding a future full of joy and laughter.
And there’s oil massages and bathing stuff.
Day 3 – Called Lakshimi Puja or Chopada Puja. This is the day the sun enters his second course and passes Libra which is represented by the scale/balance and the day itself is considered most auspicious. Its believed to have suggested balancing of account books and their closing. Food for blessing or blessed food is offered to Lakshimi, feasts are arranged, gifts exchanged and everyone gets suited and booted to link at temples, fairs to meet friend and fam. It says everything is gay, gold and glitter. This is the day gambling is indulged in coz Goddess Parvati played Lord Shiv and basically whoever plays on this day will win. So much happened man.
On this day 1 – Lord Krishna discarded his body, 2 – Mahavir Bhagvan attained
Nirvan, 3 – Swami Ramtirth was born, took Sanyas and took Samadhi too. Say what? 4 – Swami Dayanand Saraswati ‘greed’ his soul from his body and mingled with divinity. I don’t know what this is man, lets just say more lights and celebrations.
Day 4 – Padwa or Varshapratipada. Something to do with King Vikramaditya and VikramSamvat. Deities are given milk baths and dressed in enough bling we’re talking gold, diamonds, pearls… LOTS OF PRECIOUS STONES. After prayers and traditional worship innumerable varieties of sweets are ceremoniously raised in the form of a mountain. (Ok I skipped the mountain story so just figure it out). Lol so this is the day the wife has to do lots of rituals on the hubby and in appreciation of all the tender care he be getting dude gives her a costly gift. Brothers went and ‘fetched’ sisters from the in-laws… because of Day 5 procedures.
Day 5 – Bhayya-Duj or Bhav-Bij or Yama-Dwitiya (Bhai-Tika in Nepal).
Something about sibling love. This day has its own importance in continuing to maintain the love between brothers and sisters for it is the day of food-sharing, gift-giving and reaching out to the inner most depths of the hearts.
Summary – It’s a festival of light, beauty, encourages artistic expressions through home decorations, stage plays, elocution competitions, singing, dancing, gift making, making sweets thereby discovering new talents of younger people. Its been more social than religious connotations (with all them prayers you’d think different). It is a personal, people-oriented festival when enmities are forgotten, families and friends meet, enjoy and establish a world of closeness. Sorry it was 5 pages long.