Deepavali Festival 2012 India
Deepavali is one of the biggest Hindu festivals that signals the start of the Hindu New Year and also symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Known as the ‘Festival of lights’, this festival covers a span of six days with each of the days holding a special significance. Literally speaking, Deepavali means a row of lights and that’s the reason why rows of lit lamps adorn the homes of every Hindu during this festive season.
Date of Deepavali 2012:
According to the Gregorian calendar, there is no fixed date for this festival. It varies every year as it falls on the 15th day of Karthika as per the Lunar Calendar. In 2012 Deepavali falls on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.
Lighting mud lamps and adorning the homes with colorful paper lanterns is a must during these festive days. Days before the onset of the festival, homes are cleaned and painted. Hindus wear new clothes, visit and greet each other with sweets. Laxmi pooja or the worship of Goddess Laxmi is a major tradition of this festival. Fireworks and lighting of crackers also accompanies the joyous celebrations.
Stories associated with Deepavali:
Hindus celebrate Deepavali to commemorate several religious occasions. One of the most prevalent reasons for celebration is Lord Krishna’s victory over the evil demon Narakasura.
According to legend, the evil demon reigned over the earth and heavens, spreading havoc and terror. At the behest of the gods, Vishnu agreed to defeat Narakasura in the incarnation of Krishna. Eventually, Narakasura was defeated and killed in a war waged by Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.Another religious belief that is also celebrated in the festival of Deepavali is the return of Lord Rama who lived in exile for fourteen years. Upon his return, Rama was welcomed with rows of lit lamps, which is symbolized by the lighting of the lamps even today.Yet another religious occasion attributed to Deepawali celebrates the return of the Pandava princes after its exile of 13 years.
As Deepavali also signifies the start of a New Year, Hindus invoke the blessings of the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity – Goddess Laxmi – with a Laxmi Pooja (Worship of Laxmi). This day also commemorates the occasion when Lord Vishnu took the form of Laxmi and emerged from the ocean with the nectar of immortality that the demons and gods were seeking together.
The six days of Diwali:
Each of the six festive days is celebrated in a unique manner.
- Vasu Baras / Govatsa Dwadashi: This twelfth day of Karthika signals the start of the festival days of Deepavali as Hindus worship the cow and her calf.
- Dhantrayodashi or Dhan teras: The second day of the festive season is an auspicious day for Hindus and many wait to make their most significant purchases on this occasion. While traditionally gold and silver are purchased, people also choose to get their new cars or purchase a home or sign an important deal during this occasion.
- Narak Chaturdashi: This is the fourteenth day of the month and signifies the anniversary of the death of the evil demon Narakasura who was killed by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama
- Laxmi Pooja: This day is the main Deepavali festival. It falls on the fifteenth day and holds the occasion when the Hindus worship the Goddess of wealth. Homes are decorated, rangolis (colorful designs on the floor with color power) are drawn and doors are left open, signifying an open invitation to Goddess Laxmi to enter.
- Govardhan Pooja: The day celebrates Indra’s defeat at the hands of Krishna, when Krishna provided shelter to the people under the Govardhana hill as Indra unleashed torrential rains to flood the region.
- Bhaiduj / Yama Dwitiya: This is the final day of the six day celebrations. It is an occasion for brothers and sisters to unite and express their love for each other. It follows the popular belief that God Yama visited his sister Yami on this day and shared a meal together. Yama also presented his sister with a gift before leaving – a custom that is followed to this day as brothers’ gift their sisters.Deepavali Festival is an important festival for Hindus in India.