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Diwali / Deepavali 2013, way the festival is celebrated

Oct 31 (): Diwali or Deepavali is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus, celebrated with great happiness and enthusiasm in India. The festival is celebrated for five days continuously, where the third day is celebrated as the main Diwali / Deepavali festival or ‘Festival of lights’ (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights). The main objective for lighting deeps is to drive away the darkness of Amavasya.

The exact Diwali day is decided by the position of the moon. Amavasya or ‘no moon day’ is the perfect day to celebrate Diwali. The festival generally comes in mid-October or mid-November, depending upon the lunar cycle for that year.

2013 Diwali is celebrated on November 2, Saturday in AP, CH, DL, GJ, HR, KL, MH, PY, TN and WB, while other states celebrate the festival on November 3, Sunday.

In many regions, the five days of Diwali is celebrated in this manner:

• Day 1 – Dhanteras – the start of the financial year for most Indian businesses and is also the day of worship of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.
• Day 2 – Naraka Chaturdasi – this is the day of cleansing. Oil baths are taken, people put on new clothes and food delicacies are prepared.
• Day 3 – Diwali – The day of the new moon – Amavasya – and the official day of the Diwali holiday.
• Day 4 – Kartika Shudda Padyami – the day when the dictator Bali, stepped out of hell and ruled the earth.
• Day 5 – Yama Dvitiya (or Bhai Dooj) is the day when love is symbolised between brothers and sisters.

Though this mode of celebration is followed in many places in north India, Diwali celebrates Lord Rama’s victory as the King of Ayodhya after his return to the kingdom from 14 years of exile along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman after killing the demon, King Ravana.

In Gujarat, the festival honours Lakshmi, and in Bengal, Diwali is related with the goddess Kali.

However, looking at the ancient tales, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or Deepavali. Irrespective of the differences across the land, the exciting theme for all places is the renewal of life and the lifting of darkness, and it is a happy festival of lights.