From today, Diwali (the festival of lights) commences. For all Hindus in India and across the world, the five day festival is the largest and most important.
Today, the Diwali or Deepavali festival starts with Dhanteras (Dhan = wealth, Teras = 13th day of the lunar calendar). Every family will buy some item of wealth today; jewellery, gold or silver coins, a metal utensil, etc..
Tomorrow, the second day of the festival is Naraka Chaturdasi (Chaturdasi = 14th day of the lunar calendar), marking the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
Wednesday is Amavasya or the new moon. On the darkest day of the month, lamps and lights symbolically mark the dispelling of the darkness of ignorance by the light of knowledge. A grand puja worshipping Ganesh, the elephant headed god of wisdom, and the destroyer of obstacles, Shri MahaLakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Saraswati, the godess of knowledge, in their most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation Vamana vanquished the king MahaBali, and banished him to patal-lok, the netherworld.
On the fourth day of Deepavali, Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali who went to the netherworld and took the reins of his new kingdom, is allowed to return to the earthly world for one day as per the boon granted him by Lord Vishnu.
The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj, and on this day married sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
Along with Vinay and Vedant, I take great pleasure in extending our warmest wishes for a safe, happy and prosperous celebration and a joyous year ahead to all our readers and your loved ones.