Diwali is a word that has been derived from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, which means a “row or a string of lights”. The word is a conjugation of “deepa” or an earthen lamp and “vali” or a continuous row or series of something. The festival falls during the beginning of autumn and at the end of summer harvest. Diwali coincides with the darkest day of the year, also known as Amavasya. This day is the darkest of Hindu lunisolar calendar. Although the festival has been known as a predominantly Hindu festival, it’s also celebrated by Jains, Sikhs and Newar Buddhists. However, the day marks different historical events and stories for all these religions. Here are the facts for you to absorb, if, like me, it was unclear..

Diwali 2018 Dates in India & Calendar

Diwali 2018 Dates Diwali Festival
Dhanteras 2018 5th November 2018
Chhoti Diwali/Narak Chaturdashi 2018 6th November 2018
Badi Diwali/ Lakshmi Pujan 2018 7th November 2018
Govardhan Puja 2018 8th November 2018
Bhai Duj/Bhau Beej 2018 9th November 2018

Diwali 2018: Diwali coincides with the darkest day of the year, also known as Amavasya

The significance of Diwali varies regionally within India, with people worshipping different deities on the day and following different traditions. One of the most well-known traditions of Diwali is associated with the Hindu epic of Ramayana. This tradition celebrates the victory of the King of Ayodhya, Ram, over the demon king Ravana of the kingdom of Lanka. Diwali is the day when Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman, returned to Ayodhya, after a period of 14 years of exile. Legend has it that the kingdom had lit up with lamps, with people rejoicing and celebrating the return of the righteous heir to the throne.

Here are the dates for all the five days of Diwali 2018 and a day-wise significance:

1. Dhanteras 2018: Dhanteras will be celebrated on November 5th, 2018 this year. This is the day that most people go out to buy new things like utensils, gold coins and jewellery. Houses and offices are cleaned and decorated with earthen lamps and artificial lights.

2. Chhoti Diwali 2018: This day is also known as Narak Chaturdashi, but is commonly known as chhoti Diwali. Falling on November 6th 2018 this year, this is a major day for purchasing sweets made from various ingredients for guests, friends and family. Halwais or sweetmeat makers work over time to meet the increased demand for sweets like laddos, halwas and more, during the run up to this day. Families are also busy preparing homemade delicacies for the guests who visit on the main day of the festival, that is, Diwali.

3. Diwali 2018: This is the main day during the five-day festival and is also known as the day of Lakshmi Pujan. This is because Goddess Lakshmi, who is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, is worshipped on this day. The muhurat or auspicious timing for conducting Lakshmi Pujan this year is between 5.57 pm and 7.53 pm on November 7th, 2018. During this time, the family gets together and recite prayers and sing holy songs in unison. After the conclusion of the prayers, everyone takes blessings from the holy flame and indulges in sweets. This is the time to meet and greet with friends, family and relatives and exchange gifts and sweets.

Diwali 2018: The main day during the five-day festival and is also known as the day of Lakshmi Pujan

4. Govardhan Puja 2018: This is the day right after Diwali and this year it will be celebrated on November 8th, 2018. This day celebrates the unique bond between husband and wife and in some Indian regions, this is the day when husbands give gifts to their wives. In yet other regions, parents invite their newly married sons or daughters along with their spouses to a family meal and bless the couple with gifts.

5. Bhai Duj 2018: Bhaiya Duj or Bhau Beej is the last day of the five-day festival and this year, it will be celebrated on November 9th, 2018. This day celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, the brother travels to his sister’s house and the ’tilak’ ritual involves the sister decorating her brother’s forehead with a round of vermillion. The day is similar in spirit with another Hindu festival of Rakshabandhan.

Diwali 2018: Special Foods and Sweets

Diwali is a festival of indulgence and it’s hard to resist the wide variety of sweets and delicacies that flood the markets, around this time. It’s customary to keep a plateful of dry fruits, nuts and some sweets ready for when guests come home and offer the same to them. Food is central to Diwali celebrations and people start preparing to make a number of sweets and savouries to serve to their guests on Diwali evening. Along with bursting of crackers and exchanging sweets, eating mithais made in pure desi ghee and mava is an indelible part of Diwali.

Happy Diwali 2018!

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