Diwali Festival

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Oct 302009

Diwali in Delhi

diwali-festivalDiwali Celebration in Delhi

First Day:     Dhanteras

Second Day:     Choti Diwali, Roop Chaturdashi

Third Day:     Laxmi Pujan, Bandi Chhor Diwas

Fourth Day:     Goverdhan puja, Annakoot

Fifth Day:     Bhai Dooj

In Delhi, Diwali festivities start at Dussehra. From then on, as people set out on a frantic spree of shopping, spring-cleaning, whitewashing and redecorating, the shops and market places embark on a frenzy of sales and promotional offers. Market places are festooned with streamers; melas and fairs crop up everywhere. Many people buy new clothes to wear on Diwali, and on the day of Dhanteras, traditionally, a kitchen utensil of some kind is purchased.

On Diwali day, shops in Delhi remain open till the afternoon, believing that good sales on Diwali day predict a prosperous year ahead. In the corporate sector, the process of buying and distributing Diwali gifts begins several days before the big day, and slowly picks up pace. Sweets and dry fruits are the most common gifts, as are silver coins. But gifts also range from silver dishes and other household gifts to suit pieces.

Delhi get crowded with shoppers and shopping bonanzas. Around every street corner can be found the temporary stages for holding the Ramlila – a dramatic rendition of the story of the Ramayan, which continues for several evenings, culminating in the defeat of Evil (Ravanna) by Good (Ram) on the Dussehra Day.

Houses are decorated and on Diwali evening Lakshmi puja is organized. Often the women of the house do “aarti” to their husbands, garlanding him and putting a “tika” on him, while praying for his long life. In some houses, there is a ritual of immersing a silver coin in a tumbler of milk. The milk is then sprinkled lightly in the rooms of the house. The Prashad is kept in front of the idol throughout the night.

Diwali Festival is also known by the name of “the festival of lights”. One of the major Hindu festivals, it is celebrated almost in each and every city of India. There is a legend associated with this festival. It is believed that Demon King Ravana had kidnapped Sita Mata, the wife of Lord Rama, while they were undergoing their 14 years of exile. Lord Rama defeated and killed Ravana and rescued Sita Mata. With this, their period of exile got over and Lord Rama and Sita Mata returned to their kingdom Ayodhya. As a measure of welcome, the people of Ayodhya lit their homes with diyas (earthen lamps).

Since that time onwards, this day is celebrated amongst the Hindus of India with much fanfare. The days leading to Deepavali are spent in cleaning up and decorating the house. Diwali season also holds special relevance for the shopkeepers, since, in the days before the festival people shop a lot for themselves, their home, their family and friends. Exchange of gifts and sweets between friends and families is one of the traditions of Diwali. It is one of the busiest seasons as far as the shopping is concerned. Most of the big companies also offer super discounts and bonanzas to encourage people to shop more.

During the festival of Deepavali, Delhi city also wears a festive look. The markets as well as homes of the people are beautifully decorated with flowers and lights. Some people even make Rangoli (designs made on floor with colors) on the entrance of their homes. On the day of Deewali, people decorate the entrance and top of their homes with diyas and electric lights. Also, on this day, people worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi to bless them with prosperity. Deewali celebrations in New Delhi, the capital of India are incomplete without the lighting up of crackers, by both the adults as well as the children.

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