Diwali or Deepavali is the most significant and popular festival celebrated in India. “Deepavali” translates from Sanskrit as rows (avali) of lights (deep) and so this festival is the ‘festival of lights’. In simple terms, Diwali is the celebration of light over darkness or good over evil, but as any serious observer knows, India’s ancient spiritual traditions are not merely concerned with the simplistic divisions of good and evil. This article will attempt to shed light on the deeper context and traditions of Diwali.
The five days of Diwali
Although the main celebrations happen on the new moon day (Amavasya) of the month of Karthik in the Indian lunar calendar, Diwali is actually a five-day festival starting two days prior to the new moon day. The five days are Dhanteras, Dhantrayodashi or Dhanvantari Jayanti followed by Naraka Chaturdashi, then Lakshmi Puja (observed as the main day of Diwali), Govardhan Puja or Padva and finally, Bhai Dooj.
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