In India, everyone, is very fond of the Diwali festival. Rich and poor, young and old, men and women, everybody participates in and celebrates Diwali in their own way. Every family, every state, every region has its own small variations to the Diwali celebrations. And yet the similarities are far greater than the differences. In that way, Diwali is a great uniting force for the entire Indian population. Even the Indian population, who have migrated to foreign lands, celebrate Diwali with equal enthusiasm.
The Diwali festival is generally celebrated in the months of September or October. Before the Diwali festivals starts, weeks before, all the family members are excited about the celebrations. Preparations start on all fronts. The parents start the cleaning of the house, furniture, etc. The women of the house prepare home-made sweets and delicacies to be shared during Diwali. Children are all excited because they get to shop for new clothes.
The day before Diwali starts, special lamps, lights and lanterns are arranged at specific places all over the house. On the first day of Diwali, everyone gets up early in the morning and have a bath before sunrise. Then they put on new clothes and sweets are shared with family and friends. Later the elders in the house get together and worship the gods and goddesses. On the second day of Diwali, there are special rituals and prayers done, because it signifies the purification of the soul. The children are more interested in lighting fire-crackers. The third day is the most important, as this is the day of the Worship of the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity [Laxmi]. All family members put on their best clothes. They arrange the tools of their trade and business for worship. It is a way of welcoming wealth, happiness and prosperity in your lives. The fourth day called Padwa is a special celebration for husbands and wifes and it is also the beginning of the new year. The last day is a special day to celebrate the relationship between brother and sister.
Diwali, rightly called the festival of lights, brings the light of joy, in everyone’s hearts.