Diwali Celebration, the Fun Holiday, 1-5 nights

Let me give you the details of the Diwali celebration in this post. Diwali is the most popular festival in India. There are lots of customs and attractive things about Diwali.  It is the festival of lights and colors, filled with sweets and joy.  It is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. Hindus celebrate the power of good over evil on Diwali. It is mostly celebrated in October or November. Its dates are changed by the position of the moon. People in India go to the temples with their families to pray to god.

Why do we celebrate Diwali?

Diwali is celebrated for different reasons. The southern part of India celebrates Diwali to honor the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.  The Northern part of India celebrates Diwali as the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. After 14 years Rama returned home along with his wife Sita and Laxman, brother of Rama. Since it was night, a new moon day and dark, the people lit diyas across the kingdom, this tradition is still followed. 

South Indians (Diwali Celebrations)

The Diwali celebration for the people in the southern part of India is very different. After Navarathi, people get ready for Diwali. Diwali is a festival of lights. People start shopping for dresses before 15 days. The word Diwali is a joy for most people either poor or rich.

On Diwali or before Diwali family members who live in other countries or states come to their native place to meet near and dear. Women start prepping and preparing traditional sweets to eat on Diwali. Some sweets are Murukku, Adhirasam, Thattai, Laddoo, Mixture, Jangri, Mysore Pak etc. Before 2 days from Diwali, they clean the whole house. Before the day of Diwali people start giving sweets to their neighbours, family and friends. They also start the fireworks before the day of Diwali.

On Diwali, elders and adults get up early in the morning at 4:00. Then, they bath in oil, also known as oil bath. Next, they pray to the god and put on their  new traditional dresses. They first open up their dress and put Turmeric paste on a corner of the traditional dress to make the day auspicious for them. Some examples of traditional dresses that people wear on Diwali are, Dhoti, Salwar, Kurti and Saree.

After starting the fireworks in the morning, friends and family start eating breakfast. Before breakfast on an empty stomach, they drink a sip of a syrup called the “Diwali Legiyam”. During, the Diwali celebration friends and families get together, where there are so much joy and fun.

But you have to be careful, to shop for all the groceries, presents and the fireworks, before Diwali, because the stores will be closed, or even sometimes they are out of stock!!!

For lunch, they prepare lots and lots of food. Prepared much like a feast. But in India people do not eat at the table. One: there are lots of people, and I am pretty sure the table won’t be able to fit everyone. Two: It’s traditional to eat on the floor. Guess what?? Indians do not use plates, instead, they use a very big banana leaf, to eat.

Diwali, is a good time in the year, to start new beginnings, and learn our mistakes. Lucky plants, are very good and special gifts for older members of the family, plants like: “The money plant” are great gifts.

Diwali Celebration
The Money Plant

But only one festivals, we do not use leaves daily. After you are done eating with the leaf you throw it out. Next, everybody eats the food together in the afternoon, you cannot eat alone on Diwali. They do the fireworks in the evening too. People eat lots of traditional sweets.

They light the diyas (clay lamps) and pray to the gods. This is how the Southern parts of India celebrate Diwali.

Diya with Lakshmi

There is an Indian story behind this festival.  Narakasura is the child of Booma Devi ( Earth Goddess).  As he grew, his asura Gunna ( bad traits) developed. He prayed to Brahma (a god), not eating anything nor stopping thinking about him. Then, when Brahma asked what wish Narakasura wanted, he answered that no one in the three worlds should be able to defeat him except his mother.

He tortured everyone as usual. He went to Lord Indran’s place and pulled the earring from Indran’s mother’s ear. Indran went to Lord Krishna and said, “Is there no one to stop Narakashura?” Krishna was with Satyabhama (Krishna’s wife). Satyabhama was another form of Booma Devi.

Krishna replies, “I and Satyabhama will go to him and try to defeat him.” Satyabhama rode a horse cart with Krishna to meet the demon. After a long time of fighting, Krishna still couldn’t defeat Narakashura. Satyabhama didn’t realize Narakashura was her son and took an arrow and fought to help Lord Krishna. But, Narakashura was defeated and died by the arrow because it came from the hands of his mother. This is why people celebrate Diwali with firecrackers and sweets.

North Indians ( Diwali Celebration)

The northern parts of India celebrate Diwali in a different way too. They celebrate Diwali for five days and light up diyas everyday. They also decorate their houses. On the first day they do Dhanvantari puja. On Dhanvantari Puja, people believe that buying gold, silver, copper and new utensils will bring good luck to their families. Some people wait until Dhanteras to buy new electronic appliances and vehicles.They do pooja for gold, silver, copper.  Some parts of Northern India celebrate with dhani(grains) and toys. They put 5 diyas for the god and the toys.

The second day is Hanuman Jayanti, ( Hanuman is described in the epic as great and he helped Lord Rama to save Sita (Lord Rama’s Wife.) The third day is Diwali and  they make Rangoli art, which is an art people make on the floor with colorful powders . They decorate their house with flowers, and pray to the god. They also open the windows and doors for Lakshmi to bless them with wealth ( Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and purity).

People do Lakshmi and Kuberan pooja, they keep a statue of goddess Lakshmi for this puja. The fourth day is Govardhan Puja. On this day people believe that Lord Krishna defeated Indra by lifting the Govardhan Mountain, so people make small mounds using cow dung.

The fifth day is known as Bhai Duj. It’s dedicated to celebrating sisters, in a similar way like the  Raksha Bandhan (Raksha Bandhan is a celebration when sisters tie a rope in their brother’s hand.). Brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor and make the bond between them stronger. After they complete the puja everyday they light fireworks and crackers to celebrate.

Food Preparations (Diwali Celebration)

Hindus cook some special types of foods and snacks to celebrate Diwali.

Some parts of South India celebrate with a feast of non vegetarian or vegetarian. They cook meat into curry, biryani or other recipes. Biryani is rice cooked with spices and meat. Some people cook vegetarian. They use vegetables and spices to make rice and other stuff like Sambar, Rasam,poriyal,aviyal,payasam.vadai and curd. They make some unique and tasty sweets and snacks.

Some popular sweets you may have heard of are GulabJamun, Halwa ( Halwa comes in different types of flavors and colors.) Soan Papdi,  Rasagulla, Ladoo ( Ladoo is made with gram flour, it is round and filled with raisins and cashews). Badusha, Jalebi and Kaju katli( It is a diamond shaped sweets, which is one of my favorites).

One of the most famous snacks is Samosa ( Samosa has vegetable stuffings, and it is the spiciest snack.) Murukku ( is a spiral snack, the spiciest and one of the tastiest). Boondi is also fried in oil (golden crispy balls made with gram flour). These snacks and sweets are the right appetites for Diwali. 

Indian Sweets Murukku, Elladai, Adhirasam

To add it all up, Diwali is a special day for all the North Indians and the South Indians, you know why? It’s not because all the sweets and all the presents we get, it’s because all our family members, spread out in the world, will come and visit us once again, with care and love. One day, maybe you could get your family members to celebrate Diwali.

Here’s the link to explore other stories: https://twinsparkle.com/

Here’s the link to see how people make tiny bags with banana leaf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFxy84HkWL0

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