The 5 Days of Diwali
Diwali is the five-day Hindu holiday known as "the Festival of Lights".
Homes, businesses, cities and country sides are illuminated in the glow of candles, oil lamps and even firework displays during this festive time. In addition, each of the five days of the festival is marked with its own unique traditions and mythology.
Day 1: Dhanteras
In many regions of India and other Hindu nations, the first day of Diwali is marked by a holiday called Dhanteras. At sunset, Hindus bathe and offer a diya (lighted oil lamp) to Yama Raj, the Lord of Death, for protection from an untimely death.
Homes and business are decorated with diyas and kandils (colorful paper lanterns). Many also offer a fire ritual for good health and strength in the coming year.
Day 2: Choti Diwali
On the second day of Diwali, the focus is on worshipping Kali, the goddess of Strength. Special emphasis is also placed on abolishing evil and, particularly, laziness.
Day 3: Lakshmi Puja / Diwali
The third day of Diwali is the highlight of the festival, when families light their oil lamps, symbolizing the illumination of knowledge. It is on this day that the Goddess Laskhmi is worshipped, calling on her to bring wealth and prosperity, and to triumph over evil and darkness.
Day 4: Padwa & Govardhan Puja
On the fourth day of Diwali, there is a tradition to settle old accounts and start new books. These new books are worshipped in a special ceremony, during which Hindus focus on eliminating jealousy and anger from their lives.
Day 5: Bhai Duj
The final day of Diwali is known as Bhai Duj. On this day, brothers and sisters exchange gifts as tokens of their love and as a hope for one another's safe-keeping. There is also a focus on seeing the good in everyone on the last day of the festival -- even in one's enemies.
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