Diwali literally means “a row of lights”. This five-day festival, which is the biggest in India, honors the victory of good over evil and brightness over darkness.
History of Diwali
There are different legends about the origin of this festival that can be traced back to ancient India. According to the ‘Ramayana,’ the great Hindu epic, Diwali is celebrated as the homecoming of Lord Rama, after he completed fourteen years in exile. Lord Rama returned to his capital Ayodhya after defeating and killing Ravana, the evil king of Lanka. He returned on a no-moon day and his homecoming was celebrated with the bursting of crackers and lighting of lamps. It is also believed that on this day goddess Lakshmi married Lord Vishnu and is thus a day for celebration. Many others believe it to be the birthday of Lakshmi.
When is Diwali 2022: Date
As per the Hindu calendar, Diwali 2022 will be observed on October 24, 2022. On this day, Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped, which is known as Diwali Puja or Lakshmi Ganesh Pujan.
- Amavasya tithi begins at 05:27 PM on October 24, 2022
- Amavasya tithi ends at 04:18 PM on October 25, 2022
How is it Celebrated?
- The first day, Dhanteras, marks the start of Diwali. “Dhan” means wealth and “teras” refers to the 13th day of a lunar fortnight on the Hindu calendar. Lord Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is said to have brought Ayurveda and the nectar of immortality to mankind on this day. Legend also has it that Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, was born from the churning of the ocean on this day. Homes are cleaned and readied to welcome her. Gold and other metals are traditionally purchased. People also gather to play cards and gamble, as it’s thought to be auspicious and will bring wealth throughout the year.
- The second day is known as Naraka Chaturdasi in South India or Choti Diwali in North India. Rangoli is created in doorways and courtyards of homes, and people start bursting crackers. Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali are believed to have destroyed the demon Narakasura and freed 16,000 captive princesses on this day.
- On the main day, lots of small clay lamps and candles are lit and placed in houses. Fireworks are also let off everywhere, giving Diwali its name of “Festival of Lights”. Families gather together and perform the Lakshmi Puja, and give each other gifts and sweets. Kali Puja is usually also celebrated on this day in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam. Goddess Kali, the fearsome Dark Mother, is worshiped for her ability to destroy the ego and illusions that go with it.
- On the fourth day, Govardhan Puja is celebrated in North India, to commemorate Lord Krishna’s defeat of Indra, the rain god. In Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the victory of Lord Vishnu over demon king Bali is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padyami. Despite his shortcomings, he was actually a good king and much loved by his people, so Vishnu allowed him to return once a year to visit them. Kerala’s Onam festival is dedicated to welcoming the king’s return.
- The fifth and last day, known as Bhai Duj, is dedicated to celebrating sisters. Brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor the bond between them.
- Buy fireworks only from a licensed shop. Make sure you check the manufacturing date too.
- Burst the crackers from an open space. Make sure you are also away from combustible materials like dry grass or trees. In the excitement of bursting crackers, most of them don’t look around their surroundings.
- Don’t stay in close proximity with the other crackers while lighting fireworks. Make sure you keep a good distance from Diya lamps, matchboxes, and even other crackers. When bursting crackers that would explode, keep a distance from those too after lighting.
- Keeping a bucket of water of a garden hose next to you would be handy in case something goes wrong. Even a small flame can later turn into fire. Water is also useful when you need to extinguish any of the firecrackers properly.
- If the flame of a firecracker went off or is not coming out as expected, just let it be. Don’t go and try to relight the dud or fiddle with the firework as there is a chance of it still bursting.
- Avoid dressing up in silk, chiffon, and such material that are easy to catch fire. Make sure you also don’t wear anything too flowy. It is best to dress in cotton cloths that are loose and comfortable.
- Adult supervision is absolutely necessary when children go out to burst crackers. Most of the time, kids do not know these precautions or would not follow them in the excitement of celebrating.