The 5 Days of Diwali:
Day 03: Lakshmi Puja / Diwali
Diwali is the five-day Hindu holiday known as "the Festival of Lights" and is celebrated over five days with each day signifying a particular aspect of the festival. The five days are:
Day 03: Lakshmi Puja on Diwali to invite the Goddess of Wealth
The Diwali day amidst other celebrations, holds special importance for the Hindu community as they worship Lord Ganesha and Lakshmi (Laxmi) on this auspicious day. It is a common belief that Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth - visits the homes of her worshippers on this day and hence people keep their windows and doors open while performing puja* in order to welcome the goddess.
A sixteen step ceremonious puja is performed on Diwali to welcome the deity. People paint and decorate their houses with flowers and lights in order to welcome the goddess. Fresh scented flowers and herbs are offered to the deity along with sweets amidst blowing of a conch and the ringing of bells.
This day also marks the welcome of Lord Rama who returned to Ayodhya on this day after killing the demon king Ravana. Diyas and candles are lit in order to ward off evil spirits and provide self enlightenment. Once the puja is over people visit friends and family and exchange gifts and sweets to mark the celebrations of Diwali and the victory of truth over evil.
*Puja: "A ceremony of gratitude or a religious ritual performed as an offering to various deities, distinguished persons, or special guests". (wikipedia)
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