Everything you wanted to know about Deepavali, but didn’t dare ask
Here in Singapore, we live in a multi-racial, multi-religious society.
But for many of us, that diversity can sometimes be understood in rather over-simplified terms.
For example, we all know that Chinese New Year is associated with boisterous lion dance performances, Muslims fast in the holy month of Ramadan, and Deepavali is known to be the Festival of Lights.
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But it was during a recent conversation with some friends that made me notice how superficially conscious some of us are of the customs and traditions we do not share.
With none of us being Hindu, we realised that nobody actually had a clear idea of the distinction between Deepavali and Thaipusam.
I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and admit – that’s pretty shameful for anyone born and bred in Singapore.
So, with Deepavali coming right up, we did our homework to find out what the festival celebrates and its significance to followers.
First things first, Deepavali is not the Indian New Year
As well-meaning as you may be, the last thing you’ll want to do this Deepavali is to wish your Indian friends a happy New Year.
That’s because the Festival of Lights is far from being the same as the Indian New Year, an occasion typically observed in March or April.
Instead, Deepavali marks the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated by much of the Indian community, including Hindus and Sikhs, among others. The festival finds its roots in ancient mythology, and there are varying accounts of its origin.
Image Source: Shutterstock / aravindskartha
One common version of the story follows the battle between Lord Krishna and the demon king Naraka who was a wicked ruler that terrorised his own people. After he emerged victorious, Lord Krishna was seen to have brought light to the darkness that the oppressed people were trapped in.
Deepavali commemorates the day the demon was slayed, and reminds believers that light can cast away the darkness.
Deepavali or Diwali?
The Festival of Lights is celebrated across many parts of India. Given the diversity of language and culture in the country, it’s referred to differently by different communities.
Image Source: Shutterstock / Pete Burana
In Sanskrit, the word deepavali translates to ‘a row of lights’, and this is a term more commonly used by South Indians to refer to the festival. In contrast, the North Indians use the modified ‘Diwali’.
In Singapore, you wouldn’t be faulted for using either, although Deepavali is the more popular reference.
Deepavali and Thaipusam are different festivals
So, to address the question that first inspired this article, both Deepavali and Thaipusam are religious festivals to the Indian community, but they commemorate different beliefs.
While Deepavali is observed by numerous religions founded in India, Thaipusam is largely celebrated by Hindus of Tamil descent as a festival that honours Lord Subramaniam, a South Indian deity of youth, power and virtue. It is also a time for repentance and thanksgiving for believers.
Image Source: Shutterstock / Itsanan
During Thaipusam, an elaborate procession begins in the early morning, where devotees carry kavadis or pots of milk and walk several kilometres along the streets. This year, the procession began at the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Serangoon Road and ended at the Sri Thendayuthapani Temple in Tank Road.
Rangoli is more than just a festive decoration
Image Source: Shutterstock / Din Mohd Yaman
Seen on the ground at the doorsteps of believers during Deepavali, Rangoli is a colourful design put together with vibrantly-coloured rice powder to welcome deities into the home and provide blessings to its occupants.
More than just a decorative art piece, Rangoli bears a deeper significance to Hindus.
A Singaporean once held the Guinness World Record for creating the largest Rangoli in the world. In 2003, acclaimed Rangoli artiste Vijaya Mohan created a masterpiece that measured a whopping 2,756 sq ft in size.
A day for tradition and family
Image Source: Shutterstock / Pete Burana
On the day of Deepavali, many Hindus, especially the South Indians, will rise early to take oil baths, an act seen as equivalent to taking a bath in India’s sacred Ganges river.
This is followed by prayers performed at the family shrine, where younger family members will receive blessings from the elders. Many will then make a trip to the temple to pray, before paying house visits to their family and friends as part of the festivities, making Deepavali an occasion not just of religious significance, but also a time for loved ones.
With these nuggets of information about Deepavali, there’s little to stop us from having a deeper conversation with those we know who are believers on what makes the festival so special to them.
And to these friends, we wish you a Happy Deepavali!
Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali
Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali
The Indian people are rich in culture, beliefs and tradition; and because of its antiquity, various beliefs had been formed. With those set of beliefs, the Indian people have began their love for commemoration forming various kinds of festivals to celebrate or give reverence to what they believe in. Even though a tradition at first instance is one in essence, there will always be times when citizens from different cities may revise or reform it as time goes by.
One of the many celebrations that clearly display India’s varying culture within a nation is the Feast of Lights which is observed all throughout the country. This feast is named Diwali and Deepavali. People usually wonder why Indians name it separately. These two may sound slightly similar, but there are a bunch of differences between them that will be discussed further in this article.
Deepavali and Diwali are just similar festival with the same meaning that have differed on how they are spelled which is one of the most apparent of all their differences. Both are “Feast of Lights” but the right word to use is Deepavali by South India which actually comes from the Sanskrit vocabulary meaning a ‘line of lamps’. However, this Sanskrit word have been modified by the North Indian people with the use of the word Diwali from their language. Also, it is an important thing to note that the South Indian colonized countries such as Malaysia and Singapore use Deepavali which is the etymologically correct term.
DAYS OF FESTIVITIES
This year in 2017, South India’s Deepavali will be celebrated on the 18th of October while North India’s Diwali will be held on the 19th of October. The four-day observation of Deepavali in South India usually holds its kick off celebration on Ashwin Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi. On the other hand, the five-day observation of Diwali in North India starts two days before the actual day of Diwali with the Dhanteras. As it is noticed, Deepavali is usually commemorated one day before the Diwali, but this doesn’t always happen especially on certain years when the Tithi coincides.
HISTORICAL & SPIRITUAL MEANINGS
Deepavali takes pride in a four day celebration with its first day of festival known as the Naraka Chaturdasi Day which is done to mark the triumph of the Divine Krishna finishing off the demon named Naraka. As a sign of victory, people who join this feast take part in the symbolic bathing done early in the morning before the sunrise as the heavenly bodies in the sky are still twinkling bright and shiny.
The second day of the Deepavali celebration is called Lakshmi Puja which is dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi who came forth from Kshira Sagara which means Ocean of Milk. Lakshmi Pooja is currently executed in the present day.
The third day of the Deepavali celebration is called Kartika Shuddha Padwa or Bali Padyami which is devoted to honor the god Vishnu when he was incarnated as a dwarf called Vamana when he defeated the demon king Bali. This is also in virtue of the coming back of Bali in the planet Earth for his act of worship to the God Almighty and also for his good works to the people. This day also marks day one of the month of Hindu called Kartika.
The fourth and last day of the celebration of the Deepavali is called Yama Dvitiya. The story behind this day happened when the Supreme Being for Death named Yama feasted his sister Yami who placed a propitious tilak symbol on Yama’s forehead for his prosperity. Because of this noble sisterly act, sisters have been praying for their brother’s welfare on this day. To payoff this act of kindness by the sisters, their brothers render them with gifts in return.
Diwali boasts a five day celebration in North India in commemoration of the return of the Lord Ram to Ayodhya after he was exiled. As mentioned in the previous part of this article, Diwali is already observed two days before the actual day of Diwali with the Dhanteras which is actually the name of the celebration’s first day. Dhanteras is done to remember the momentous day when Dhanvantari who is the medical practitioner of the Idols was given birth. The word “Dhan” means wealth just like South India’s Goddess Lakshmi who is revered for good luck and welfare. Because of this, Indian business owners begin their year of accounting on this special day.
The day after the Dhanteras is called Choti Diwali also known as Kali Chaudas which also happens to be the actual day of South India’s Deepavali. This is the second day of North India’s celebration. This day is also called the Small Diwali. This day is dedicated to Daemon Narakasura when the god Krishna killed him.
The third day of Diwali’s celebration is called Diwali & Lakshmi Puja. This is the actual day of Diwali devoted to memorialize the King of Ayodhya, Lord Rama’s faithful return to his hometown after he defeated the dark demigod king of Lanka named Ravana. Lord Rama was exiled in the forest for fourteen long years. North and South India holds the Lakshmi Puja on the same day. The myth behind this fete is similar: the goddess Lakshmi came out of the Kshira Sagara (Ocean of Milk), when devas and asuras were agitated to have the ‘amrit’.
The day after the Diwali is called Govardhan Puja also known as the Annakoot which means mountain of food. This is the fourth day of the celebration dedicated for Krishna when he defeated the god of rain and thunder Indra. Krishna emerged victorious by lifting the hill of Govardhana with his minute finger to rescue the multitude from the dangerous floods. In South India, this very day has been observed as Bali Padyami believed to be the return of King Mahabali to the Earth to pay his mortal subjects a visit.
The fifth and last day of North India’s Diwali celebration is called Bhai Dhooj which is similar to Deepavali’s Yama Dvitiya. In this day of commemoration, sisters request their brothers to visit their humble abode. The sisters will have the chance to pray for the their brothers’ success while putting a symbol of prosperity on their foreheads. In return to this prayer of prosperity, brothers also ought to give material endowments to their beloved sisters.
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Angelo, J. (2017, August 21). Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali. Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects. http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/culture-miscellaneous/difference-between-diwali-and-deepavali/.
Angelo, Julian. “Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali.” Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects, 21 August, 2017, http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/culture-miscellaneous/difference-between-diwali-and-deepavali/.
Do You Know The Differences Between Deepavali and Diwali? – TheCheckerNews.Com
Well, from Childhood days, we heard the word Diwali and Deepavali, which is touted as the light of festival and one of the most favorite festivals of India.
Technically, the light of festival, which is known as Diwali, in the whole India, modern word or device word, of the Sankskrit real word, Deepavali which is still uses by the Deccan region people but in the North India, the word is widely called as Diwali.
Must Read: Diwali: Chotthi Diwali & Bari Diwali – Festival, Puja, Celebration, Ritual, How To Celebrate Diwali, Sacred Carnival
In the month of October or November, according, to the Hindu religion, the Diwali or the Deepavali festival we often celebrate in the Ashwin month, which is celebrate after someday of Navratri.
The Diwali or the Deepavali, is the carnival which observe and rejoice for the 5 days, no wonder, why the festival is said as the 5 days festival begins from Dhanteras and marks its ending on the Bhaai Dooj.
On the day of the Dhanteras, we buy new things, and offer puja to the Mata Laxmi which is the main tradition of the festival Dhanteras. But here in this article we will be discuss the differences between, Diwali and Deepavali.
Though, Both Diwali and Deepavali are the same festival and this is also said to be the light of festival.
The Difference Between Deepavali and Diwali?
So let’s discuss the differences between Diwali and Deepavali
Diwali is the festival which is mainly celebrate in whole, India, especially, in the North India, which includes, Punjab, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and so no.
On the day, of the festival, Diwali we all North Indian people perform Laxmi Puja on the evening time and then wishes each other happy Diwali then distributes some fruits and sweets within our each and other, friends and family.
After all people do get together on the day of Diwali, they all play with crackers and burn all those crackers in the evening time.
Though, the festival get Deepavali name from the South Inida, in fact, in the Deccan parts of India, the festival, Diwali is celebrate as Deepavali, which includes, some of the Southern states like, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
On the day, of the festival Deepavali, all Southern Indian also play with crackers but mostly in the morning time, which is reflecting a differences between, Deepavali and Diwali.
Legend and Mythological stories of the festival, Diwali and Deepavali
All North Indian people celebrate the festival, Diwali with the mythological memory that on this day of Lord Rama comeback to his kingdom Ayodhya post he won the Lanka war.
In the Deccan region, the festival Diwali is celebrate as Deepavali with the memory of the mythological story which is completely different from the Diwali story.
Deepavali is celebrating in the South India as on this day the Lord Krishna won over the deadly demon Narakasura.
The nations, like, Singapore and Malaysia, uses the word, Deepavali, instead of Diwali.
Sometimes, dates of the festival Deepavali and Diwali, might varies but this year both Deepavali and Diwali will be celebrate on the same date of from 5th November to 7th November.
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Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali (With Table) – Ask Any Difference
The festivals a community celebrates, be it a religious community, a community sharing a common land, or a community of any other kind tells us their history and their way of living. It tells us what the people believe in, and how their society is built on these beliefs.
India is a land of rich cultural integrity and thus, it is no surprise to find such a high number of festivals and occasions happening all across the country, all through the year. One of the most prominent festivals of this country, which is not only celebrated here but all across the world is Diwali or Deepavali. It is a common doubt, as to why do these have such different dates, yet their method of celebration is quite the same.
Diwali vs Deepavali
The difference between Diwali and Deepavali is that Diwali is the five-day festival celebrated in mostly the north Indian states, whereas Deepavali is the four-day festival celebrated mostly in the south Indian states.
Comparison Table Between Diwali and Deepavali
|Parameters of Comparison||Diwali||Deepavali|
|States Celebrated||Mostly the North Indian States.||Mostly the South Indian States.|
|Mythological Significance||Marks the return of Lord Rama after his exile.||Celebrates Krishna defeating Naraka.|
|Etymology||Is a derivation of the word Deepavali.||Is from a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘Line of Lamps’|
|Duration||Is a 5-day celebration.||Is usually a 4-day celebration.|
|Date||Falls on Ashvina Amavasya.||Falls on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi.|
What is Diwali?
Diwali is the festival of lights, that has great significance in most of the north Indian states. This occasion marks the return of Lord Rama from his exile. This is a part of the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama had been sent to exile when he was still a prince, from his father’s kingdom in Ayodhya. After the completion of fourteen years, he returned with his wife Sita, and brother Laxman. All the villages and the capital city in the kingdom had lit diyas (small clay lamps) to celebrate the good ruler’s return.
The five days of this festival are Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Diwali and Lakshmi Puja, Govardhan Puja, and Bhai Dooj.
Dhanteras celebrates the birth of Lord Dhanvantari. Lord Dhanvantari is regarded as the physician of gods. On this day, the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and is prayed to for wealth and prosperity.
The day of Choti Diwali holds significance because Lord Krishna slew the demon Narakasura on this day. Choti Diwali is the day when Deepavali starts.
The main occasion, Diwali is the third day in this series of festivals. This commemorates Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana. Also, on this day, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea of milk, and so Lakshmi Puja is also performed on this day.
The fourth day is which mythologically celebrates the event where Lord Krishna had saved the people from floods. Lord Indra had rained heavy rains to flood everywhere, but Lord Krishna had protected all his people by lifting the mountain Govardhana on his little finger.
The fifth and final day, Bhai Dooj is celebrated, an occasion between brothers and sisters, where sisters pray for the well being of their brothers. The brother presents his sister with gifts.
This is the main essence of Diwali and all the festivals that take place during this period.
What is Deepavali?
Deepavali is also the festival of lights, just like Diwali. However, it has a few differences as compared to Diwali. Deepavali starts on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi. Mythologically, this marks the event where Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Dwapara Yuga, defeats the demon Narakasura. He was a demon king.
Similar to Diwali, there are a bunch of festivals around the period Deepavali is celebrated. They are Deepavali, Lakshmi Puja, Kartika Suddha Padwa, and Yama Dvitiya.
Deepavali, as mentioned before, is the festival which signifies the occasion of Lord Krishna defeating the demon king Narakasura. On this day, people take a bath early in the morning, when the first rays of the sun are appearing, and there are still stars in the sky.
The second day is Lakshmi Puja. Same as in Diwali, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the kheer sagar (sea of milk) on this day. She is worshipped for wealth and prosperity.
The Karthika Suddha Padwa is also known as Bali Padyami. This signifies the appearance of Lord Vishnu incarnating in Earth as a Vamana (dwarf) and defeating the demon king Bali.
The fourth day, Yama Dvitiya, is the day when Yama (God of Death) had feasted with his sister, and she had put a tilak on his forehead for his well being. So, similarly, sisters put a tilak on their brothers’ forehead to pray for their well being.
Main Differences Between Diwali and Deepavali
- The main difference between Diwali and Deepavali is that Diwali is celebrated mostly in the North Indian states, whereas Deepavali is celebrated in the Southern ones.
- Diwali is the festival which celebrates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom Ayodhya. Deepavali signifies the time when Lord Krishna defeated the demon king Ravana.
- Diwali is a shortened version of the word Deepavali, which is a Sanskrit word.
- Diwali is celebrated for five days, while Deepavali is celebrated for four days.
- Diwali starts on Ashvina Amavasya. Deepavali starts on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi.
Both of these festivals have a lot in common and carry a lot of significance for everyone, not only in the country but all over the world.
This shows the cultural unity that the people of this country hold and preserve. These festivals are important for us, as they help us realize the value of tradition and family. It also gives us a break from the monotony of daily life and enjoys ourselves.
Diwali Or Deepavali: Which One Is Correct?
Diwali is the Festival of Lights and is known by different names in India. This festival symbolizes the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. In India, it is considered to be the most auspicious festival and we all love it! Practicing religious rituals, shopping for ourselves, gifting friends and families, distributing sweets, and everything else that makes a festival the best time of the year. (Psst! If you plan to shop, don’t forget to use these Diwali offers to make shopping easy on the pocket.)
But let’s get back to the main reason you are here for! You must have heard people calling it Diwali and Deepavali. So, the big question is, which one is correct?
Which is Correct – Diwali Or Deepavali?
Have you ever thought which is correct?
Well, both are. They both come from the same word! Let us take a look at what are the other names given to this festival of lights!
Meaning of Diwali
Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word Dīpāvali, which is formed by two words, ‘dipa’ meaning light or lamp and ‘avali’ meaning series or row. Thus, the word means rows or series of lights. To mark the symbol of light every house is lit in Diwali with lamps, diyas, and different other types of bulbs.
Other names of the festival
India being a country of diverse language and culture, Diwali is called by different names. In Orissa people call it ‘Deepabali’, Bengalis call it ‘Deepaboli/Kali Pujo’, Assamese call it ‘Deepavali’, Gujratis call it ‘Divali’, Sindhis call it ‘Diyari’, and it is called ‘Tihar’ in Nepal.
When does Diwali fall?
Diwali falls on the 15th day of Kartik, which is the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar. So, depending on the cycle of the month, Diwali falls either in October or November each year.
In 2020, Diwali will be observed on 14th of November. Refer to the table below for Diwali dates from 2020 to 2030.
|Diwali 2020:||Saturday, November 14|
|Diwali 2021:||Thursday, November 4|
|Diwali 2022:||Monday, October 24|
|Diwali 2023:||Sunday, October 12|
|Diwali 2024:||Friday, November 1|
|Diwali 2025:||Tuesday, October 21|
|Diwali 2026:||Sunday, November 8|
|Diwali 2027:||Friday, October 29|
|Diwali 2028:||Tuesday, October 17|
|Diwali 2029:||Monday, November 5|
|Diwali 2030:||Saturday, October 26|
Significance of celebrating Diwali
Diwali or Deepawali is generally celebrated on the 15th day of Kartika (October/November). It commemorates the return of Lord Rama to his Kingdom, Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. It is believed that when Lord Rama returned home with his wife and brother entire Ayodhya was lit up and happiness prevailed in every corner. Thus, during Diwali, we decorate our houses, light up lamps, meet relatives, cook good food, and pray for prosperity.
The other story behind Diwali Celebration
There is another story behind the Diwali celebration, which goes like this:
As per Hindu Mythology, King Bali was a demon king who was so powerful that he became a threat to the Kingdom. Lord Vishnu came as a dwarf mendicant Vamana to cease the power of Bali. By diluting Bali’s power Lord Vishnu brought back peace to the Kingdom. Vishnu gave him the lamp of knowledge to light the dark side of the world. Thus, today on Diwali millions of lamps are lit.
Whatever be the story behind Diwali, we know that you love celebrating it with sweets! So, go ahead and celebrate the Festival of Lights with everyone and not just your loved ones. Get the best offers from GrabOn, and above all, don’t forget to purchase cool gift cards for you and the entire family.
The history and customs of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights
Diwali is India’s most important festival of the year—a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. Widely observed among more than a billion people from a variety of faiths across India and its diaspora, the five days of Diwali are marked by prayer, feasts, fireworks, family gatherings, and charitable giving. For some, Diwali is also the beginning of a new year.
But Diwali is perhaps best known as a festival of lights. Derived from the Sanskrit dipavali, which means “row of lights,” Diwali is known for the brightly burning clay lamps that celebrants line up outside their homes. (See dazzling pictures of Diwali, the festival of lights.)
The dates of this festival are based on the Hindu lunar calendar, which marks each month by the time it takes the moon to orbit Earth. Diwali begins just before the arrival of a new moon between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika—which typically falls in October or November of the Gregorian calendar. In 2020, Diwali begins on November 12, and its most important festival day will take place on November 14.
The meaning of Diwali—and its many legends
Diwali is so widely celebrated—it’s an important religious festival for Hindus, but is also observed among Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists—that it has no single origin story. But while each religion has its own historical narrative behind the holiday, they all ultimately represent the victory of good over evil.
(Parents and educators: Learn about Diwali with your kids.)
In India, one of the most significant festivals is Diwali, or the festival of lights. It’s a five-day celebration that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps.
In Hinduism alone—which is considered the world’s oldest living religion, dating back to the second millennium B. C.—there are several versions of the Diwali story that vary among geographic communities. These, however, are all epic tales of victory won by men who were considered incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu, regarded as the sustainer of the universe, and whose role it is to restore the balance of good and evil in times of trouble.
In northern India, Diwali commemorates Prince Rama’s triumphant return to the city of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile due to the plotting of his evil stepmother—and after a heroic rescue of his wife Sita, an incarnation of the goddess Lakshmi, who had been kidnapped by the rival king Ravana.
In South India, meanwhile, Diwali honors the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon king Narakasura, who had imprisoned 16,000 women in his palace and meted out harsh punishments to any of his subjects who dared stand up against him. And in western India, the festival celebrates Vishnu’s banishment of King Bali—whose immense power had become a threat to the gods—to the underworld.
Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, three minority religions in India, have their own Diwali stories. For Sikhs, whose religion arose in the late 15th century as a movement within Hinduism that is particularly devoted to Vishnu, Diwali commemorates the release of the 17th-century guru Hargobind after 12 years of imprisonment by Mughal emperor Jahangir. Jains, whose ancient religion dates back to the middle of the first century B.C. and also shares many of the beliefs of Hinduism, observe Diwali as the day that Lord Mahavira, the last of the great Jain teachers, reached nirvana. And Buddhists, whose religion emerged in the late 6th century B.C. in what some describe as a reaction to Hinduism, celebrate it as the day the Hindu Emperor Ashoka, who ruled in the third century B.C., converted to Buddhism.
Beyond these stories, Diwali is also a celebration of the Hindu goddess of wealth and good fortune, Lakshmi. In India’s early agrarian society, Diwali coincided with the last harvest before winter—a time to pray for Lakshmi for good fortune. Today, Indian businesses still consider Diwali the first day of the financial new year.
How Diwali is celebrated
Just as the legends of Diwali differ from region to region so, too, do the holiday’s rituals. What most have in common, though, are the abundance of sweets, family gatherings, and the lighting of clay lamps that symbolize the inner light that protects each household from spiritual darkness.
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Left: A potter arranges earthen lamps, which are used to decorate homes and temples during Diwali, at a workshop in Ahmedabad, India, on November 9, 2020.
Photograph by Amit Dave, Reuters
Right: During Diwali, many people decorate their floors with rangoli, or intricate and colorful designs made from powder, rice, flower petals, or sand.
Photograph by Jodi Cobb, Nat Geo Image Collection
But generally, each of the five days of Diwali has its own significance. On the first day of Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakshmi, bake sweets, and clean their homes—which they decorate the next day with lamps and rangolis, designs made on the floor out of colored sand, powder, rice or flower petals.
Diwali’s third day is its most important: On this day, people may go to temple to honor Lakshmi or gather with friends and family for feasts and fireworks. Devotees also set ablaze the lamps they had displayed the day before.
For many celebrants, the fourth day of Diwali marks the new year and a time to exchange gifts and well wishes. Finally, the fifth day is typically a day to honor one’s siblings.
Over the years, Diwali has become India’s biggest holiday season—rivaling Thanksgiving or Christmas in the United States. Shoppers take advantage of the sales and communities across India and across its diaspora host small fairs. Fireworks are also a major part of the celebrations, particularly in New Delhi where they are often criticized for causing spikes in the city’s notoriously bad pollution.
This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic is upending these celebrations. Some temples will be streaming services online, while family gatherings will be more intimate than usual—if they happen at all. Meanwhile, New Delhi has banned the use of firecrackers this year in hopes to mitigate the harmful effect of air pollution on human respiratory systems, which are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. And, in the U.S., cities from New York to San Antonio are moving their Diwali festivals online.
While the shadow cast by the coronavirus will make this a bittersweet Diwali for many of those marking the holiday, they may be able to derive comfort from the spirit of the holiday—the belief that, eventually, light will triumph over darkness.
Difference Between Diwali and Dev Deepavali: Know How The Two Festival of Lights Differ From Each Other
Diwali 2020 was celebrated about two weeks ago and now it is time for Dev Deepavali. While some of you may still be reeling in your Diwali memories, a festival of Dev Deepavali will be celebrated on Kartik Purnima on November 29, 2020. Dev Deepavali is primarily observed in the Varanasi, which is considered the birthplace of Hinduism. It is celebrated fifteen days after the festival of lights and considered a day on which Gods visit the holy city of Varanasi. But do you wonder, what is the difference between Diwali and Dev Deepavali? Ahead of these celebrations, let us understand more about Dev Deepavali festivities and how is this celebration of lights different from Diwali. Dev Deepawali 2020: PM Narendra Modi to Visit Varanasi On November 30 to Light First Earthen Lamp at Rajghat.
Difference Between Diwali and Dev Deepavali
- Diwali is celebrated on Amavasya or the No Moon Day, while Dev Deepavali is observed on Purnima which is the Full Moon Day. The celebration thus occurs 15 days after Diwali.
- The festival of Diwali is related to Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after defeating Lankan King Ravana. Dev Deepavali concerns the worship of Lord Shiva. It celebrates Mahadev’s win over demon Tripurasur.
- The festival of Dev Deepavali is thus also called as Tripurotsav or Tripurari Purnima.
- Another legend associated with Dev Deepavali is Lord Vishnu is said to have assumed his first avatar of a Matsya or fish.
- During Diwali, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and the lighting of diyas is said to eliminate all darkness. For Dev Deepavali, there is a belief that a dip in the holy water of Ganges River will take away one’s sins and shower them with prosperity.
- Dev Deepavali too sees an illumination of lights. The Varanasi temples and ghats are decked with the earthen diyas in days leading up to Kartik Purnima.
- There is also a belief that one the day of Dev Deepavali, Gods come down to the holy city of Varanasi and make it their abode. It is thus called a Diwali of the Gods.
- While Diwali is celebrated all over the country for five days, Dev Deepavali is celebrated in a grand manner at Varanasi, compared to anywhere else. Tourists specially visit here to experience and be a part of Dev Deepavali celebrations.
Dev Deepavali is also similar to celebrations of Diwali but it is celebrated as Diwali of Gods. The holy city of Varanasi takes an even more divine vibe on this festive. So now, you know how Diwali is different from Dev Deepavali and how it is special in its own way.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 29, 2020 08:20 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).
90,000 Diwali is a festival of lights. What is Diwali (Deepavali). Celebrating
Diwali, or Deepavali, is the largest and brightest holiday among all Indian holidays. Diwali is a festival of lights (“dip” – fire, “avali” – a row, a string; thus, dipavali is translated as “a garland (string) of lights”). Diwali is celebrated for five days. During this period, the whole of India is literally lit with lights.
Origin of Diwali
Diwali is an ancient Indian holiday.Previously, it may have been a harvest festival. Diwali is mentioned in Sanskrit texts of the first millennium AD – Padma Purana, Skanda Purana, however, it is believed that these texts were taken from the main scriptures of an earlier era. The clay lamps mentioned in the Skanda Purana symbolically represent particles of the Sun, the cosmic source of light and energy for all living beings.
For the Jains, Diwali is the day when Mahavira reached nirvana. For Buddhists, this holiday is marked by the conversion of Emperor Ashoka to Buddhism.Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the day their guru Hargobind was freed from Mughal captivity.
Many legends are associated with the holiday. The most popular of these is described in the ancient epic Ramayana. This is the story of the return of the god Rama, his wife Sita and brother Lakshamana to the kingdom after defeating the demon Ravana. The residents of Ayodhya, the capital of the kingdom ruled by Rama, lit thousands of lights to illuminate the road and celebrate the arrival of their ruler.
According to other myths, on this day the goddess Lakshmi married the god Vishnu, Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasura, and the Pandava brothers returned from a twelve-year exile.
In Bengal, the festival is dedicated to the worship of mother Kali, a dark-skinned goddess who symbolizes strength. On this day, they also worship Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, the symbol of wisdom and the remover of obstacles, the goddess Saraswati, patronizing music, literature and study, Kubera, who bestows blessings on accountants and treasurers. Hindus in some regions of India associate Diwali with the legends of the god of Death Yama.
In addition, Diwali marks the beginning of the new year, sometimes called the Indian New Year.
How Diwali is celebrated
Diwali celebrations last five days. Each region has its own customs and holidays; the sequence of celebrating one or another event may also change. Here are the most common customs.
The first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras, or Dhanvantari Triodashi, or Yamadipdan
It is believed that on this day a divine doctor appeared from the waters of the Ocean of Milk, the incarnation of the god Vishnu, the father of medicine and Ayurveda, Dhanvantari.
Another legend says that once, according to predictions, a certain prince on a certain astrologer day after the wedding had to die from a snakebite. Wanting to save the prince, his wife put all the jewelry, gold and silver in a large pile at the entrance to her husband’s chambers and lit a large number of lamps. So that the prince did not doze off, she told stories and sang songs all night.
When the god Yama in the guise of a snake came into the house, he was blinded by an incredible radiance. He crawled to the top of the heap and listened to beautiful songs all night, and left in the morning.Due to this story, the first day of Diwali is called Yamadipdan, and the lamps are not extinguished all night in a sign of Yama worship.
To mark this day, Hindus clean and renovate their homes. Women buy gold and silver or at least some of the kitchen utensils.
The second day of Diwali – Narak Chaturdashi or Small Diwali.
On this day, the Hindus celebrate the destruction of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
Some believers also worship Lord Yama on this day.Offerings are made to him three times. A small oil lamp is displayed at the entrance to the house towards the south (this side of the world is connected to the Pit).
The single-lit lamp on this day is also a reminder of the lamp of Bharata, brother of Rama, whose light welcomed the return home of the famous hero of Ramayana.
Usually on the second day the floors in the house and yard are covered with colorful rangoli patterns. Women decorate their hands with mehendi designs. Families are busy making sweets for Diwali’s main day.
The third day of Diwali – the festival of lights
The main festival falls on the darkest, moonless night. The sounds of firecrackers and fireworks are heard everywhere, and the darkness is illuminated by innumerable lights. In the evening, there is a prayer to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. Indians open windows and doors of houses, put lighted lamps on windowsills and balconies, inviting Lakshmi to their home.
People ask each other for forgiveness for mistakes made intentionally or unintentionally, relations are renewed, gifts and sweets are given.
The fourth day of Diwali – Govardhan Puja or Balipratipada or Padva
On the fourth day of Diwali, a prayer is held in honor of the fact that Krishna, having raised Govardhan Hill, saved the inhabitants of Vrindavan. Many years ago, the villagers near Govardhan Hill prayed to Lord Indra. They believed that Indra would give rain for a good harvest. Lord Krishna convinced the villagers to worship Govardhan Hill, because this hill and the land around it is the source of their abundance. The people listened to Krishna. One night, when all the inhabitants were asleep, Indra took revenge on them. He sent thunder and torrential rain to the village. Krishna saved the people by lifting the top of the hill with one finger, and everyone was able to take refuge under Govardhan.
This day is also dedicated to Annakuta, which means “mountain of food”. After traditional prayers, an innumerable number of various sweets and dishes are offered to the deities, after which the believers accept this consecrated food.
Another name for the fourth day of Diwali is associated with the story of Lord Vishnu, whose incarnation in the form of a dwarf pacified King Bali and cast him into the lower worlds.Bali was allowed to return to Earth once a year to light millions of lights that will dispel darkness and ignorance and spread love and wisdom.
Another traditional custom on the fourth day is called Padwa. It is associated with the veneration of conjugal love and fidelity. On this day, husbands give gifts to their wives. Recently married daughters and their spouses are invited to join their parents’ family for a special dinner.
The fifth day of Diwali – Bhaya Duja or Yamadvitya
Bhaya Duja, or Brotherhood Day, marks a special relationship between brothers and sisters.The sisters put tilak, a sacred sign, on the foreheads of the brothers, tie a protective thread around their wrists, treat them to sweets, perform aarti and pray for their health and happiness. The brothers, in turn, give gifts to the sisters as a sign of their love and care.
According to one of the legends, on this day the god Yama visited his sister Yami, therefore another name for the fifth day of Diwali is Yamadvitya.
From darkness to light …
In Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India, the smoke of incense rises into the air, accompanied by the sound of fireworks, joy, a sense of unity and hope.Lighting houses and lamps and the sky with fireworks is an expression of respect to heaven for health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. The sound of the fireworks informs the gods of human jubilation.
Diwali is replete with various legends, but the central theme of all stories is the immortal truth about the victory of good over evil, about the light of knowledge that illuminates the darkness of ignorance. Diwali lights illuminate not only homes, but also hearts, recalling this simple truth.
Diwali – international holiday
Diwali is celebrated all over the world, not only in India.This is more than a Hindu holiday. In Fiji, Guyana, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, Diwali is an official holiday. It is also celebrated by Hindus in countries such as the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and the United States.
Photos of Deepavali and other holidays
What is Diwali and how do you celebrate it? – Recipes & Travel
What is Diwali? What is the best way to celebrate? You will surely hear a lot about the Festival of Lights in India as you travel through Asia in the fall. Diwali Festival – also known as the “Festival of Lights” – important
What is Diwali? What is the best way to celebrate? You will surely hear a lot about the Festival of Lights in India as you travel through Asia in the fall.
The Diwali Festival – also known as the “Festival of Lights” – is an important Hindu festival celebrated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and other places with large populations of India or Hindus. The tradition dates back to ancient times and is both fun and festive at the same time.
Diwali is celebrated throughout India, but is especially common in major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur in Rajasthan. Although the Jain version of Diwali is celebrated on the same night as the Hindu Diwali, the reasons for celebrating are different.
This is an important festival in India. It is also one of the largest autumn festivals in Asia. Similar to the Lunar New Year in January or February, Diwali is celebrated with family gatherings, new clothes, special treats and food. Diwali is considered by many to be the beginning of a new life.Devotees make offerings to Lakshmi and Ganesha in the hope of future wealth and prosperity.
Fireworks shoot continuously, creating a spectacle of noise, chaos and delight in some places. The cities glow with bright lights, lanterns, garlands and ghee. They are left for the whole night as a celebration of good over evil and a triumph of inner light over ignorance. Loud firecrackers scare evil spirits and unsuspecting tourists for days before and after Diwali.
The Diwali festival lasts five days, but traditions are changing.Preparation begins well in advance; fireworks continue for several days after that. The peak usually falls on the third day, which is considered a kind of New Year’s Eve. The last day is reserved for brothers and sisters so that they can spend time together.
Temples are especially busy with rituals and religious practices during Diwali. Be respectful and cover yourself if you get inside; do not take pictures of parishioners.
Diwali is often written with many variations depending on place and language, but what is the difference between Diwali and Deepavali?
Since this word is transliterated from Hindi, Tamil and other alphabets, we get different pronunciations, just as the festival is celebrated differently between numerous ethnic groups and religions.
The pronunciation of the three most common cases is as follows:
- Diwali (English): “di-wall-i”, but also sounds like “di-wall-i”
- Deepavali (Hindi): ” di-la-li “
- Tihar (Nepal): ” ti-har “
How to Celebrate
As in the days leading up to Lunar New Year, homes are being cleaned, refurbished and decorated in preparation for good fortune in the coming year. New clothes are bought, as well as sweets and small gifts for friends and family.
Diwali is an ancient holiday. As with all ancient traditions, different approaches are used in different regions. Although the official reasons for celebrating Diwali vary, the event is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and even Nuwara Buddhists. Lamps and colorful decorations create a festive atmosphere. The quickest and easiest way to show that you recognize Diwali is to light lanterns and candles in front of your house.
The Diwali Festival, still a relatively new concept, is becoming more and more popular in the West.Many major cities in the US, Europe and Australia are now sponsoring the celebrations. Sometimes one of Diwali’s days coincides with Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night), which is celebrated on November 5 in the UK, which gives two good reasons to celebrate with fire and fireworks.
Diwali – time to make peace, pay off debts and start all over again. In the past, Indian and Pakistani soldiers have even exchanged candy along the disputed border. Diwali is also a meeting time. Look up and reach out to distant family members or loved ones with whom you have lost contact.
In 2009, President Obama was the first US president to celebrate Diwali at the White House. San Antonio, Texas was the first city in the United States to host an official Diwali festival.
How to say Happy Diwali
The easiest way to cheer up Diwali is to say Happy Diwali:
Diwali / Deepavali mubarak ho (pronounced di-wall-i-mu-bar-ak ho)
Traveling during the festival
Although Diwali is a fun, festive and great time to be in India, it can affect your plans.
With such massive celebrations and many people not working to return to their home villages. , The already busy public transport system will be jammed. Trains during the festival are booked several weeks in advance. Hotels in popular cities fill up quickly as well; book budget hotels in advance.
The abundance of fireworks during Diwali actually makes New Delhi’s already apocalyptic air quality even worse.
When is the Diwali festival?
Diwali dates are based on the Hindu lunisolar calendar and change every year, but the festival usually runs from mid-October to mid-November. in the Gregorian calendar.
90,000 Diwali – Hindu Festival of Lights
One of the most important holidays in Hinduism, Diwali or Deepavali, proclaims the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali, also known as Deepavali or Festival of Lights, is a Hindu religious festival celebrated on the darkest new moon in the month of Kartika in the Hindu lunar calendar, somewhere between mid-October and mid-October.November every year. The festival is celebrated in all parts of the world with significant numbers of Hindus and is a national holiday in countries such as India, Fiji, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
The main feature of the festival is the illumination of houses, courtyards, temples and other buildings with diya (such as oil lamps) or candles, which contrasts sharply with the darkness of the new moon night, embodied as a symbol of the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
Numerous tales, legends and pieces of folklore are associated with the origins of the Diwali festival.The festival is also mentioned in many ancient Hindu texts and scriptures. One of the most popular Diwali legends is based on the return of Lord Rama, the Hindu king, back to his kingdom in Ayodhya, 14 years after he was banished by his father, King Dasharatha, as part of an evil scheme by one of his stepmothers.
He was accompanied by his loving wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. When they returned, Rama, a popular royal among the subjects of his kingdom, was greeted with great joy, and the whole city was lit with lights to welcome him to the kingdom.Ancient Sanskrit scriptures dating back to the 1st millennium AD, such as the Skanda Purana and Padma Purana, also mention Diwali celebrations. The Katha Upanishad, the Sanskrit play Nagananda and the accounts of ancient travelers in India also describe the celebration of Diwali in India.
Rituals and Holidays
Diwali is usually celebrated for five days, although there are huge regional differences in different parts of India. In the days leading up to the festival, people start cleaning up their homes, repainting walls, and repairing damaged areas of their homes and furniture.The first day of the festival begins with the celebration of Dhanteras, a period when people decorate their floors with colorful floral designs called rangolis, outdoor lighting and flowers. People also celebrate the birth of the goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, and go shopping for gold and silver jewelry. The second day, known as “Choti Diwali”, is associated with decorations, ritual baths and the preparation of homemade sweets.
The main day of Diwali is the third day when, on the new moon, houses and streets are decorated with oil lamps and candles, firecrackers explode, and Hindu gods and goddesses such as Lord Ganesha, goddess Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati, and others are worshiped depending on regional Indian customs. states.Sweets are distributed among friends, families and neighbors in the form of goodwill gestures. Children and adults in the neighborhood gather in open spaces to crack crackers and have fun. The next day, the precious relationship between husband and wife is celebrated, giving each other their desired things, and women are often invited along with their husbands to parental homes for family holidays. Many shopkeepers and merchants also close their old accounts on this day, viewing it as a new year, renewing new blessings from Goddess Lakshmi.The last day of Diwali marks another valuable bond: the relationship between brother and sister. Siblings participate in rituals where a sister prays for the brother’s welfare and the latter promises to take care of his sister during her difficult times.
Safety and Environmental Issues
Like all other major festivals in the world, Diwali is associated with several safety and environmental concerns. If mishandled, some fireworks can cause burn injuries to the person handling the fireworks.Children are also advised to be constantly supervised by an adult during the fireworks ceremony. Environmentalists also warn against noise and air pollution from fireworks across the country. Birds, dogs, and cats are generally disturbed by the noise generated by the exploding crackers. Noise can negatively affect the elderly and people with heart problems. This has led to strict rules to limit noise pollution across the country, and burglars making loud noises are banned in many places.The day after Diwali, the air is heavily loaded with particulate matter from the explosion of crackers, although this contaminated air condition only prevails for about 24 hours.
Diwali brings happiness to those who celebrate this “festival of lights”. During this time, people reserve time for their friends and families, community feelings are heightened as people come together to enjoy the holidays, relationships are nurtured through various Diwali rituals, and love and togetherness bloom during this festival.Diwali supports the unique legends, mythology, traditions and culture of Hinduism. Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists also celebrate the holiday in their own way, supporting their own beliefs and legends. The light in the dark night inspires people to seek true knowledge, develop and expand their minds, and discover the path of truth and benevolence.
90,000 Diwali Celebration in India | Indian culture
Diwali (or Deepavali, Dipabali) is a festival of lights and an official day off in India.Followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism observe various customs and traditions associated with Diwali.
The ancient festival of Diwali has been celebrated for centuries in India, and the annual celebrations are still held every year across the country with great enthusiasm, pomp and fun. Traditionally, Diwali is considered a Hindu celebration of wealth and prosperity, but it has become one of the most popular festivals for all Indians, regardless of their status and castes .
Find out how Diwali is celebrated throughout India.
North India : According to the great Hindu epic “ Ramayana “, Diwali is celebrated in honor of the return of Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to the capital of Ayodhya (Faizabad district, Uttar -Pradesh) after the end of the fourteen year forest and his victories over Ravan, the evil demon. Diwali falls at the beginning of the month of Kartik on the day of the full moon. On the day of Lord Rama’s return, candles and lamps are lit, fireworks and firecrackers are set off and have fun.
This tradition of continues to this day in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab , Haryana , Bihar and surrounding areas where huge effigies of Ravana are burned, symbolizing the victory of Lord Rama over the demon king. On the night of Diwali, these states witness lights, fireworks, firecrackers, lighted candles and scarecrow burning. On this day, in most Hindu houses, the goddess of fertility and wealth Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha, symbolizing prosperity and wisdom, are worshiped.
Most of the temples dedicated to the worship of Lord Rama or Krishna celebrate Diwali with great piety and zeal.
East India : In the eastern region of the country, Diwali is celebrated with great fanfare. Oil lamps, candles and lanterns are lit and placed in rows around private houses in Orissa. All over the state, people set off firecrackers, light sparklers, and give each other gifts and sweets. Celebration here is almost the same as throughout the country, with the exception of one ritual that invokes the spirits of the family’s ancestors.A simple custom of this holiday involves lighting a jute stalk to illuminate the dark path so that the spirits of the ancestors can return to heaven. Most of the houses are brightly lit and the windows and doors remain open to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi, who is supposed to visit every house during this time and ignore all empty and dark places.
In West Bengal, Lakshmi Puja is celebrated earlier than Diwali, and therefore celebrations at this time are dedicated to the fierce Goddess Kali .
Kali Puja, or worship of the goddess Kali, makes the celebration in this part of India unique. In Kolkata, the state capital, as well as in other parts of West Bengal, Kali Puja night is celebrated with lavish celebrations, which consist of events similar to those in other regions: the launch of dazzling fireworks, firecrackers, lit rows of candles and diyas (earthen lamps) around private homes, drawing colorful patterns on the doorstep, donning new outfits, and visiting friends and family.
Temporary pandals (awnings) of bamboo and fabric are being erected throughout the state to worship the Goddess Kali during the two days of the celebration. The actual worship of the deity is only performed for one night during this festival. It is also believed that it is on the night of the “Pitripurush” (ancestors) that lamps on long poles are lit to guide their souls into that night. But this custom is more common in rural Bengal than in cities like Kolkata .
West India : In the western states of India, Diwali is a four-day festival with preparations starting 15 days in advance.Markets liven up more than a month before the start of Diwali for shoppers, with an insane shopping rush for the occasion.
On the night before Diwali, Gujarati people kick off the festivities by creating patterns depicting festival-related images such as deities, sun and flowers , painted with natural powder dyes (Rangoli) on their verandas. Images of small footprints are also drawn near the doors of houses, as if inviting the goddess Lakshmi into the house.
On the first day, Narakchaturdashi, the roar of firecrackers and fireworks symbolizes the killing of the evil demon Narakasur.On the second and most important day of Diwali – Lakshmi Puja, Hindu houses throughout the western region of India worship Lord Ganesha (deity of well-being and wisdom) and Goddess Lakshmi (deity of wealth and prosperity) or their symbols such as banknotes and gold. The third day, Padava, is considered one of the most auspicious days of the year in states such as Maharashtra , and a good time to start any important task. This is a day of shopping, lighting of clay lamps and performing the ceremony tilak (a sacred ceremony for every follower of the Vedic tradition).
In Gujarat, it is the first day of the new year when people visit each other to wish a fresh start. Bhau Bij is the last day of the festival, which symbolizes the kinship between brother and sister, and the celebration of this day is much like Rakhi, another major Indian festival. Unlike Raksha Bandhan, this day is dedicated not to brothers, but to sisters.
South India : In South India, Diwali is celebrated in the Tamil month of aipasi (thula month) “Naraka caturdashi” thithi, preceding amavasai.Naraka Chaturdashi is the main day of Diwali in South India.
Preparation begins the day before, when the oven is cleaned, oiled with lime, religious symbols are painted on it, and then filled with water for an oil bath the next day. On the day of the holiday, it is customary to put things in order at home, to decorate with kolam ornaments (like rangoli in North India). Fireworks and new outfits and decorations to be used the next day are kept on the plate.
On the morning of Naraka, chaturdashi actually begins with an oily bath early in the morning, before sunrise.Then it’s time to dress up in new clothes and treat yourself to sweets. The unique Diwali custom in Tamil Nadu is a once-in-a-lifetime event. This is Thalai Deepavali, when the newlyweds spend their first marriage since Diwali at the home of the bride’s parents. The newlyweds, after receiving the blessing from the elders and the roar of the first firecrackers, visit the temple, receive clothes and jewelry as a gift, taste the sweets prepared for them, and receive the blessings of the elders for a happy life together.On this joyous occasion, the groom’s parents and relatives join the celebrations.
In the state of Maharashtra, Diwali is celebrated for four days. The first day, Vasubaras, is celebrated by performing Aarti (prayer with songs) of cow and her calf, which symbolizes love between a mother and her child. The next day, Dhanatrayodashi or Danteras, is a special day for traders and business people to open accounting books after glorifying Lord Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi.On the third day, Narakchaturdashi, people get up before sunrise and bathe after rubbing aromatic oils into their bodies . After that, the entire family of visits the temple and offers prayers to their God. Then everyone is treated to Faral, a special preparation of Diwali, which consists of delicious chocolates such as “karandzhi” and “lada”, as well as some spicy snacks like “chakli” and “sev”. The fourth day is Lakshmi puja, the day of the new moon, the dark night of which is illuminated by lamps and fireworks.In every house, the goddess Lakshmi and symbols of wealth – banknotes and jewelry are worshiped. Friends, neighbors and relatives visit each other and the celebrations are in full swing.
Rural India : In rural India, Diwali celebrations are celebrated as harvest celebrations. In villages across the country, Diwali is a time that farmers celebrate with joy and praise God for a good harvest. In the morning, differently painted colored Rangoli, or Kolam, depicted as the footprints of the goddess Lakshmi, are drawn not only near the thresholds, but also in other places of houses to commemorate the beginning of wealth, good luck and prosperity.On this day, the goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are worshiped in most Hindu houses.
Real celebrations begin closer to dusk. Rows of tiny clay lamps and candles are lit at the doorsteps of the houses and are a beautiful sight. People put on new clothes, set off fireworks, light sparklers, visit relatives and friends to wish them a happy Diwali and exchange gifts. All this lighting and fireworks, joy and celebration symbolize the triumph of divine power over the forces of evil, or, more precisely, good over evil.
Author and source of publication:
Journal Indian Gazette
90,000 Diwali – a festival of lights | Guyana
Diwali or Deepavali, which in Sanskrit means “bunch of fire” is a festival of lights, widely celebrated in Hindu countries, including Guyana. Symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. Falls at the beginning of the month of Kartik (October-November) and is celebrated for five days.
There are several legends associated with the holiday. The variety of legends depends on the variety of Hindu attitudes.
The Vishnuites link the beginning of the Diwali celebration with the coronation of Prince Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. On the night of his happy enthronement, illumination was set up throughout the country.
According to another version, the wise rule of Rama marked the deliverance from spiritual darkness. Lit fires symbolize the return of mankind from darkness to light thanks to the legendary prince.
Another version. Diwali is dedicated to the Goddess of wealth and fertility Lakshmi, the consort of God Vishnu. The houses are carefully cleaned, all the lights are lit, since the Goddess does not like the dark, they turn to her with prayer, bring her milk, in which coins are dipped, and leave the doors and windows open at night so that it is easier for her to enter the house.
There is also a legend that the festival of lights symbolizes the victory of God Krishna over the demon Narakasura. On this day of the victory of good over evil, the Hindus abundantly lubricate themselves with coconut oil, which cleanses them from sins, since this ceremony is considered equal in value to bathing in the sacred Ganges.
Some of the Hindus devote Diwali to the worship of the black Goddess Kali, who personifies the cult of power. On this occasion, prayers are made in front of the images of the Goddess for ten days, and then these images are immersed in the waters of rivers or ponds.
Diwali is also celebrated by Muslims who celebrate the arrival of Lakshmi with fires and playing cards and dice, because Lakshmi brings good luck.
On this holiday, all the streets and houses of villages and cities are illuminated with numerous lights. Merchants on this day tidy up accounting books, clean up shops.
In the evening, shops and houses are illuminated with oil lamps or garlands of electric bulbs.
Like in a carnival, cars decorated with lights are walking along the streets of the city to Indian music, one brighter than the other, competing with each other in brightness and beauty.
Theatrical performances of the holiday legends were arranged on the machines.
90,000 Two semesters and two New Years in the Indian calendar Text of a scientific article in the specialty “Art history”
DOI 10.31250 / 2618-8600-2020-2 (8) -129-151 UDC 39 (540)
Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography. Peter I. Yu. Kotin the Great (Kunstkamera) RAS
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation ORCID: 0000-0001-5751-7703 E-mail: [email protected]
| Two semesters and two New years in the Indian calendar *
ANNOTATION.Anyone who comes to India celebrates a huge number of sacred days, but the small meaning of the holiday, which is considered the actual date of the beginning of the new year. We are talking about the traditional Indian calendar (more precisely, the unified national calendar and regional calendars, in many ways similar to it and to each other), according to which about a billion Indians live. It turns out that there are several holidays that could be considered the New Year in this calendar. And this is connected both with the specifics of the Indian calendar (calendars) and with the peculiarity of business cycles – six months.The article deals primarily with the North Indian holidays, but in some cases the material on other regions of India is also used. The system of time counting, lunar and solar months, solar and lunar days, the concept of the signs of the zodiac, the system of calendar holidays in India, their connection with agricultural seasons, linking to the dates of the lunisolar calendar, the role of holidays that are considered New Years by different groups of the population of India are analyzed. An analysis of the calendar holidays in India shows that the important agricultural holidays Diwali and Holi are in the center of the semesters, acting as a nationwide New Year’s celebrations and surpassing the once calculated as the days of the winter solstice Makara Sankranti and the spring equinox of Vaisakhi (Baisakhi).At the same time, the shade of an agricultural holiday is transferred to Baishakhi, in particular, during this period, the sale of winter harvest grain begins, and in the south of India Makara-sankranti turns out to be the ripening time of the third harvest and also receives the status of an agricultural holiday.
KEYWORDS: India, calendar, holidays, New Year, autumn-winter and spring-summer agricultural cycles, Diwali, Holi, Makara Sankranti, Baishakhi
FOR Citation: Kotin I.Yu. Two semesters and two New Years in the Indian calendar. Ethnography. 2020.2 (8): 129-151. doi 10.31250 / 2618-8600-2020-2 (8) -129-151
* The research was carried out within the framework of the project “Calendar holidays of the Ancient East: calendar ritual and the role of temporal representations in the formation of the traditional consciousness of the peoples of the Ancient world” (grant of the Russian Science Foundation, No. 19-18-00085).
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and I.Kotin Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian
Academy of Sciences St. Petersburg, Russian Federation ORCID:
E-mail: [email protected]
Two half-year periods and two New Years in the Indian calendar
ABSTRACT.This article attempts to look into some Indian calendar festivals, their relations to agricultural seasons and the roles of those considered as New Year festivals by different groups of Indian population. A visitor to India can notice that the formal dates of the New Year there are not one and they are less popular than calendar festivals connected to agricultural activities. This article attempts to trace the origins of festivals connected to the New Year and other important calendar dates. It analyzes Indian calendar systems, lunar and solar months and fortnights, as well as the following festivals: Makara Sanskranti, Vaishakhi (Baishakhi), Holi and Diwali.It is argued that the lunar calendar has been very important in South Asia since the time of the Ancient Indus Civilization. Indians paid much attention to the lunar days, half-months and months and days of ‘travel’ of Moon from one ‘star home’ to another. Agricultural seasons were connected in a greater degree to the solar calendar. In the days of the Akhemenid Empire and Alexander the Great’s march to India, luni-solar calendars were introduced to India along with the Zodiac system. At present several calendar systems are popular in India and different days are used as the beginning of the year.Various agricultural stages are close to these dates. As the result several days are recognized in India as the beginning of the year by different groups of the Indian population.
KEYWORDS: FOR CITATION:
India, calendar, festivals, New Year, Kotin I. Two half-year periods and two New
autumn-winter agricultural season, spring- Years in the Indian calendar.Etnografia.
summer agricultural season, Diwali, 2020.2 (8): 129-151. (In Russ.). doi
Holi, Makara-Sankranti, Baishakhi 10.31250 / 2618-8600-2020-2 (8) -129-151
The semantic opposition of spring and autumn in Mesopotamian texts was noted by V.V. Emelyanov (2014).It can be assumed that such opposition is characteristic not only of the Mesopotamian region. To begin with, we state the fact that anyone who comes to India celebrates a huge number of holy days, but the relatively low status of the holiday, which is considered the actual date of the beginning of the new year. It is about the traditional Indian calendar
(more precisely, about a unified national calendar and regional calendars, in many ways similar to it and to each other), according to which about a billion Indians live.It turns out that there are several holidays that fall under the category of the beginning of the year in this calendar. And this is due both to the specifics of the Indian calendar (calendars), and to the peculiarities of business cycles – half a year. This article deals primarily with the North Indian holidays, but in some cases, material is used from other regions of India.
OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH IN THE AREA OF THE INDIAN HOLIDAY CALENDAR RITUAL
A number of works by domestic and foreign scientists are devoted to the topic of calendar holidays, the calendar, astronomical observations that determine the time of calendar holidays in India, but in general it is not sufficiently disclosed.A brief description of calendar systems and division into months is given in his essay on the culture of ancient and early medieval India by A. Basham (1977). VB Ketkar (Ketkar 1923) explores in more detail the system of Indian calendars, the problems of chronology, the determination of the dates of Hindu holidays, the issues of the relationship between the dates of the lunar and solar calendars. The peculiarities of Indian chronology are most fully covered in the work of A. Rahman (Rahman 2007). Research by R. Kochhar (2007) is devoted to astronomical knowledge and ideas about the starry sky, popular in ancient India.The works of D. Pingree (Pingree 1973; 1981) substantiate the fact that the ancient Indians borrowed the Babylonian system of signs of the zodiac and ideas about the starry sky, the movement of luminaries along it and about the “star houses” of the planets – nakshatras. D. Frawly (2015) disagrees with Pingri’s position, proving (however, not entirely convincingly) that the ancient Indians independently formed their astronomical knowledge and even ideas about the signs of the zodiac. The works of S. Seleshnikov (1977) and I. Klimishin (1985) analyze the features of the calendar system and calendars in India.Calendar holidays in India in their connection with economic activity have been studied in the works of S. and R. Fried (Freed S., Freed R. 1998), M. Albedil, N. Krasnodembskaya, S. Maretina, I. Kotin, E. Uspenskaya (2005 ). A number of works by M.F.Albedil are devoted to the reconstruction of the calendar of the ancient civilization of the Indus Valley (Albedil 1993; 1994; 2009). This reconstruction seems convincing to us. It allows us to make some assumptions about the Indian calendar-holiday system, explaining its complexity and multi-layered nature.
INDIAN REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT TIME AND CALENDAR
A. Basham in his monograph “The Miracle That Was India” gives a brief description of the Indian calendar, which is associated with the main religious holidays in India. Basham, in particular, writes: “The basic unit of dating was not the solar day, but tithi, the lunar day; approximately 30 such days were a lunar month (that is, the four phases of the moon), or about 29.5 solar days.The month was divided into two halves (paksha), 15 tithis each, beginning with a full moon (purnamasya) and a new moon (amavasya, or bahula-valya), respectively. The half of the month beginning with the new moon is called the light half (shukla-paksha), the other half the dark half (krsna-paksha) ”(Beshem 1977: 517). Basham notes that already in antiquity in Northern India and in a significant part of the Deccan the month began and ended with a full moon, and in the Tamil country – in the extreme south of India – the month began with a new moon (Ibid: 517).Thus, despite the fact that the names of the months in the north and in the south were for the most part the same or similar, in the north and south the same month began at different times, in the south, 15 days or one half moon earlier. Data
differences remain to this day. At the same time, the New Year in the traditional calendars of the north and south can be celebrated on approximately the same day, but it is considered the date of 1 chaitra in the south and 16 chaitra in the north.
Indian traditional calendars – lunar, but with elements of the lunar-solar calendar, with most holidays celebrated according to the lunar calendar, but with several sacred days, more or less fixed relative to the dates of the astronomical year and associated with the solar annual cycle. The question of the origin of the Indian calendar, more precisely – calendars, remains controversial. The fact of borrowing the concept of the signs of the zodiac in Mesopotamia is recognized by many (see.gay 1973; 1981), although some Indian researchers dispute this (Frawly 2015).
A significant part of the short texts of the most ancient civilizations in India, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, according to some researchers, is devoted to rituals and holidays of the calendar cycle (Albedil 1994). MF Albedil considers the proto-Indian calendar “as a certain way of semiotizing time, adopted in archaic culture” (Albedil 2009: 41).She connects the appearance of the lunar calendar with the economic subsystem of hunters and gatherers: “Hunting and gathering demanded heightened attention to space-time landmarks, among which the most important role was played by the movement of the moon across the starry sky and its change in phases” (Ibid.). According to M.F.Albedil, “probably a little later
second subsystem; conditionally it can be called solar or agricultural ”(Ibid: 42).In addition to two economic subsystems, the author also distinguishes state and priestly. In the state, the astronomical solar year was probably decisive, in which seasonal changes in the weather were taken into account, which required organized work, for example, to maintain the irrigation system during the rainy season. In the latter, “the main units of time measurement <...> Were regularly performed sacrifices. This system divided the year into so-called numbered months within four <.... > seasons “(Ibid: 42-43). Of course, this is only a reconstruction, but also the modern Indian calendar-festive system, as inherited from the creators of the Indus Valley civilization with additional borrowings from the Vedic Aryans and Babylonians, she explains.
Already in the Harrap era, probably in India there were ideas about the length of the month according to the phases of the lunar cycle, about the two-week period as half of the lunar month, about the length of the solar year, defined as the “path” of the Sun through the twelve constellations, about the ratio of the solar year and twelve lunar months by inserting additional days in a given month, and every few years – additional months.At the same time, probably, the Indian idea of six seasons, each of which has two months, already existed or was formulated. For the Indians, for a long time, it seemed important to visually observe the movement of the sun across the sky from one star to another, usually called a sidereal year (Seleshnikov 1977: 138). Very early, made more than two thousand years ago, and taken as a constant, without taking into account the effect of percession (see: Klimishin 1985: 28-30), the calculation of the sidereal year led to actual errors and incorrect determination (Seleshnikov 1977: 138) by traditional Indian calendars days of the autumn and spring solstices, which will be discussed below.
The existence of significant parts of India within a particular civilization (Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa), within the boundaries of a particular empire (Maurya, Gupta, Satavahanov, Chaulukiev, Chola) determined the presence of general principles and features of Indian calendars. At the same time, during periods of fragmentation and isolation of many Indian states, their hermetic development was observed, which, in the presence of many common features, determined the specifics of the calendar of a particular principality.It is the isolation of the Indian principalities and the fact that “almost each of them had its own local calendar system” that SI Seleshnikov attributes to the inconsistency in the system of Indian calendars (Seleshnikov 1977: 138). These were tens and hundreds of very similar systems, differing in the date taken as the beginning of the New Year, in the duration of a particular month, in the era of chronology, but uniform in dividing the year into twelve months,
months – for light and dark halves, for seven-day weeks.At the same time, the New Year could fall at the beginning of the month in the south of India and in its middle in the north.
The confusion of the system of local calendars and their attachment to the religious traditions of one form or another of Hinduism in a united and secular India was seen as unacceptable by the leadership of independent India. The first prime minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, instructed the country’s government to create a special commission to streamline the calendar. Its work was headed by the outstanding Indian astronomer Meganad Sakha (Seleshnikov 1975: 142).The commission under the leadership of Sakha took into account the peculiarities of many calendars, but took the North Indian as a basis, adopting the chronology according to the era of Shaka (Saka), named after the people and ruling dynasty of India. Another era – Vikrama (Vikram-samvat), named after the outstanding and legendary ruler of India Vikramaditya (probably Chandragupta II Vikramaditya), is used in a number of regional calendars, especially in the south, but is not a state in India, although it is considered as such in Nepal. The era of Vikram began in 57 BC.BC e. The Shaq era is approximately 78 years younger than the Christian era. Another era known in India – the Gupta era, named after the ruling North Indian dynasty in the country, begins in 320 AD. e. Chronology is based on it in a number of regional calendars in Central India. The common Indian calendar, created by Sakha on the basis of the North Indian ones, recognizes March 22 as the beginning of the new year. This date was chosen as the closest to the modern date of the vernal equinox (March 21), but for the Hindus it is insignificant, because they consider April 13-14 as the day of the vernal equinox, which in the north under the name Vaishakhi (Baishakhi) is celebrated as the beginning of the new year.
Names of eras speak of the names of rulers, names of dynasties or conquering peoples. In ancient India, the countdown was carried out for a long time from the accession to the throne of the ruler. With the change of power, the date of the beginning of the chronology changed, which was acceptable for the majority of Indians indifferent to history. The three mentioned dates are the result of attempts to establish a certain initial, and the names of dates related to semi-legendary peoples or rulers do not say anything concrete to the layman and are not comparable in importance with the dates of the beginning of the Christian and Muslim eras.The preservation of different eras is not least due to the needs of local astrologers, who compose such individual horoscopes for newborns that determine all the most important milestones in their lives. However, for administrative purposes, the civil calendar is functional. We will also be guided by it when describing and characterizing holidays, indicating cases of regional differences in the dates of their celebration.
Astronomical calculations of Indian scientists were based on visual observation of the movement of the planets and what they perceived as the movement of the Sun across the starry sky.In this case, the year was defined as the period of the Sun’s movement through the twelve constellations and the return to the starting point. In the Sanskrit astronomical treatise “Surya Siddhanta”, attributed to the great astronomer of antiquity Aryabhata, the length of the year is defined as 365.25876 average days (Seleshnikov 1975: 138). This estimate is 20.4 minutes longer than the tropical year. It was considered correct for fifteen centuries, during which a significant error has accumulated, which is not taken into account. The Indian tradition celebrates the day of the vernal equinox, which actually occurs on March 21, is April 13-14, and the day of the autumn equinox, which falls on September 23, is October 15-16, that is, 22-23 days later.As the day of the winter solstice, the Makara Sankranti festival is celebrated, which falls on January 13-14, although in fact in our time the winter solstice falls on December 21. The Indian civil calendar does not correct these dates, for holidays are celebrated according to traditional calendars, and for administrative purposes the correctness of the date of the equinoxes did not seem significant. Formally declared the date of the New Year, the day of March 22 is not widely celebrated by Indians, as the time of the beginning of the new year is worshiped only by Zoroastrians.
The civil calendar adopted the division of the year into months, known in most of India, giving them the form of names in Sanskrit, without taking into account regional, similar-sounding names. The principle of dividing the year into months is the same for most of the peoples of India, and their North Indian names, similar to many other Indian names, sound as follows: chaitr (a) (March-April), vaisakh (i) (April-May), jy-eshth ( a) (May-June), Ashar (a) (June-July), Shravana (a) (July-August), Bhadrapad (a) (August-September), Ashvin (a) (September-October), Kartik ( a) (October-November), margashirsha (November-December), paush (a) (December-January), magh (a) (January-February), phalgun (a) (February-March).
The twelve lunar months are only about 354 days, so there is a difference of 11 days between the lunar and solar years. 62 lunar months are approximately equal to 60 solar months. Already in antiquity, Indians began to add one extra month every 30 months, as was done in Babylonia (Basham 1977: 518). As A. Besh notes in this regard, “this additional month was usually inserted after the ashadha or srvana and was called the second (dvitiya) ashadha or sravana.Borrowings from Babylonia were possible both due to the presence of trade between Mesopotamia and India since the earliest days, and due to the entry of Northwestern India and Babylonia into the Achaemenid state in the U-1U centuries. BC e. Although the Hindu calendar
is quite suitable for chronology, its construction is somewhat cumbersome, and it is so different from the solar calendar that it is impossible, even with any degree of certainty, to establish which month this or that date of the Hindu calendar falls on… “(Basham 1977: 518). In ancient Indian and medieval inscriptions, the dates (if indicated) were given as follows: “Month, paksha, tithi, abbreviations shudi and badi, used respectively for the light and dark halves of the month, for example,“ chaitrashudi 7 ”means“ the 7th day from new moon in the month of Chaitra “” (Ibid: 518). Yu. E. Vanina notes: “Like all peoples, the Indians began to measure time intervals early, using the methods of astronomical observations and calculations available to them.”The movements of the Sun, planets, stars are manifestations of Time. Due to their differentiation, various measures of Time are generated,” wrote the Indian poet Bhartrihari1. The key unit of time for the ancient Indians was the year (samvatsara), which was divided into six months (ayana) – “northern”, which began on the day of the winter equinox, and “southern”, which began on the day of the summer, as well as twelve months, making up six seasons ( rita): spring, hot season, rainy season, autumn, winter, cool time ”(Vanina 2012: 77).Each season lasts two lunar months. The six seasons, or ritu seasons of the Indian year, are named vasanta (spring, March to May), grishma (summer, from May to July), varsha (rains, from July to September), charade (autumn, from September to November ), shishira (cold season, January to March) (Basham 1977: 518).
Ancient Babylonian, and perhaps independently of them, Indian astronomers also saw that, in addition to fixed stars, seven “moving in the sky” are visible in the sky, which ancient authors called planets (that is, “wandering”).Noting that each planet governs a specific day, and starting from the first hour of Saturday, the ancient astronomers determined which planet governs which day and hour. As a rule, the countdown went from the evening hour, which was considered the first hour of the new day. The Indians believed that the first hour of the day was ruled, respectively, on Monday (somavara) – Moon (Soma), on Tuesday (mangalavara) – Mars, on Wednesday (budhavara) – Mercury, on Thursday (brihaspativara) – Jupiter (Brihaspati), on Friday ( Sukra-vara) – Venus (Shukra), on Saturday (shanivara) – Saturn (Shani), on Sunday (ravivara) – the Sun (Ravi) (Beshem 1977: 518).Some planets, including those that had patron gods associated with the signs of the zodiac, had one or another relation to certain months and, as noted earlier, the days of the week. Currently, for convenience, a unified Indian calendar based on the North Indian calendar has been introduced.
1 Bhartrihari was a great Indian poet who lived in the 5th century. n. e.
Essentially, two cycles of holidays are concentrated around the holidays of two agricultural cycles – spring-summer and autumn-winter (Kotin, Uspenskaya 2005: 21).At the same time, the significance of the lunar months, the beginning and the end, their middle days, remains extremely important in the life of an Indian.
The previously mentioned Sankranti were recorded in the Indian tradition for a long time, once they reflected the movement of the Sun, which was considered a planet, from one constellation to another. The most popular of the sankranti is Makara-sankranti. This holiday in the context of the solar symbolism of ritual food was described and analyzed in detail by S.I. Ryzhakova (2018: 323-330). She correctly notices and explains the relative “fixedness” of the holiday in relation to the days of the astronomical year and the European calendar: “Unlike many other Hindu holidays associated with the position of the moon and therefore moving relative to the dates of the Gregorian calendar, this holiday belongs to a small group of” fixed ” and in various regions of South Asia it is observed from 13 to 15 January at the time when the Sun crosses the Tropic of Capricorn. In the Indian calendar, this coincides with the end of Pausha and the beginning of Magha; at the same time tithi – the lunar day of the holiday – differ ”(Ibid: 323).Let us allow ourselves one more long quote from the work of S. I. Ryzhakova, which most clearly formulates both the peculiarity and the uniqueness of Makara Sankranti among Indian holidays:
“The transition of the Sun from one zodiac sign to another (sankranti) is an event that occurs in each of the months of the year, but only the position of the sun in the sign of Capricorn (makara) is accompanied by important rituals and is surrounded by many beliefs similar to almost all peoples of South Asia.This position of the Sun is considered the most favorable for people. According to the stable view, it is with Makara Sankranti that the winter solstice (which actually occurs more than three weeks earlier) and the completion of the sun’s movement “southward” [which is considered the “land of death” and an unfavorable direction are associated. – Approx. I.L. no Hindu holidays, wedding ceremonies and other ceremonies aimed at increasing the good are not arranged.Uttarayana begins with Makara Sankranti – the movement of the Sun “northward” until it reaches the Tropic of Cancer. Six months of the movement of the Sun to the north is represented by one “day of the gods”, the next six months, after the Sun crosses the tropic of Cancer – “the night of the gods” (the year in the Hindu picture and especially its beginning throughout India marks
the onset of a favorable time for a variety of human activities) “(Ryzhakova 2018: 324).
Makara-sankranti is celebrated under this and other names (for example, in South India – as pongal) as a harvest festival.On this day, in the south, relatives and neighbors are treated to boiled rice (pongal), and in the north – sweet porridge made from rice, legumes and sesame seeds (kichri) (Ibid: 325). In Tamil Nadu, Pongal is essentially a New Year’s holiday.
Two other important Indian holidays – Diwali and Holi – while not formally New Year’s, bear many features of such, and are considered by certain groups of the population as such.
HOLIDAYS IN INDIAN TRADITION
There are more than 140 holidays in the Indian calendar, some of which are celebrated more than one day.In fact, this means that in India half of the days a year are holidays. Naturally, not all of them can be weekends. Researchers associate the etymology of the word utsav sutsaha (‘joy’) (Kotin, Uspenskaya 2005: 17). Thus, a holiday for an Indian is an object of joy, but not necessarily an idle day. Utsav is often the day of the beginning (arambha, samarambha) of a particular rite (vrata). The beginning of a certain season, month, or other major time unit, for example, a twelve-year cycle, is counted from utsava.The holiday often marks some stage of the agricultural year, and in Indian conditions – a season, half a year, because in most of India two or even three crops are harvested. There are mainly two agricultural periods associated with two harvesting seasons – kharif (autumn) irabi (spring). At the same time, in most of India, two agricultural cycles can be distinguished, and in the south – three.
AUTUMN-WINTER HOLIDAYS AND DIVALS
A number of autumn-winter holidays, such as navratri, dashera (dasara, dashara) and diwali, fall on autumn, the time of the ripening of the harif harvest, and they are, as it were, a continuation of each other.The first nine days of the month of Ashvin are dedicated to the celebration of navaratra (or navaratri, literally ‘nine days’), which is a kind of prelude to dashera (literally ‘tenth’). Dashara is associated with the cult of Durga and Rama, it is considered a Kshatrian, military holiday. With the help of Durga, the epic Rama defeated the Rakshasa Ravana on the eighth day of navratri. This victory is perceived and celebrated as the victory of the world Good over Evil. It is the Ramayite story that comes to the fore in North
India, where in the days preceding the dasher, huge statues of the demons of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meganatha were made and installed to be burned on the tenth day of Ashvin.The statues of these demons, about twenty meters high and more, are made of poles, the heads are made of clay, all this is covered with old rags. Potters supervise the work.
The main autumn festival of all India, celebrated especially cheerfully in the north of the country, is Diwali, or Deepavali. It is celebrated for several days. It symbolizes the onset of the darkest and coldest time. Hence, the key for the holiday is the lighting of lamps, which gave the name to the holiday – ‘(time) of lamps (lamps)’.The celebration begins on the 13th day of the dark half of ashvin and continues until the second day of the light half of the kartik. Diwali symbolizes the arrival of winter. The most widespread belief connects the celebration of Diwali with the day of the return of the victorious army of Rama from the island of Lanka. There is also a fairly popular legend that in Diwali the liberation of the earth from the rule of the demon (asura) Bali is celebrated, whose image has features and an animal (an elongated mouth-face, like a dog or a wolf). This asura ruled all three worlds with dignity and lived a righteous life, so the gods had no formal reasons for displeasure.But, having lost their power, they set out to return it with the help of Vishnu, who took the form of a beggar brahmana, who asked Bali for as much land as he could cover in three steps. With two steps, Vishnu covered heaven and earth, and then took the third and last step, stepping on Bali’s head and plunging him into the underworld – Patala. Thus, Bali became the king of the underworld, and the legend that connects this myth with Diwali says that Bali asked Vishnu for blessing so that everyone who celebrates the holiday with burning lamps in the house should die peacefully in due time.
It is the last legend that explains the names of the days during which Diwali is celebrated. The first three days of the festival are likened to the three steps of Vishnu and are called, respectively, Dhana Trayodasi, Narakachaturdasi, Amavasya. Bali was a just king, but his belonging to the asuras (rivals of the harsh gods) makes him consider him a demon, although it is more accurate to speak of him as a pre-Aryan deity. A popular idea is that evil spirits are activated on days and especially nights associated with Bali.Indeed, diwali falls during the darkest nights of the year. Therefore, not only the house is decorated with lights: fireworks are arranged in the streets, firecrackers are launched, the phuljari, known in our country as “sparklers”, are lit, and water pistols are fired into the air. All this is designed to drive away evil spirits from a person’s dwelling. Note that they try to drive away evil spirits with light (fire) and water, just like wild animals.
On the eve of the holiday, the platform in front of the house is decorated with sacral patterns – alpana, among which is the solar sign of the swastika.Previously, these patterns were applied with cow dung and vegetable dyes, and now often with synthetic dyes. Housewives and their assistants carry out ritual cleaning of the premises with the help of five sacred cow products (panchgavya – ghee, the so-called ghee, milk, yogurt, dung, urine).
Sacred images are applied to the floor and the platform in front of the entrance, including the image of a foot called Narayanpada (“Narayana’s foot”, that is, the foot of Vishnu), but of more ancient origin.On the first day, as a rule, all Indians buy sweets – toys made of sugar (batasha), etc. Dhanvantri-triyodasi is also a day dedicated to Dhanvantri, a mythical creature, the keeper of the divine amrita, the drink of immortality, the healer of the gods. According to one of the legends, Dhanvantri once reconciled Shiva and Parvati, who quarreled over the fact that Parvati won the dice against her husband. Dhanvantri recommended that the goddess play with Shiva again and lose to him, thereby returning his favor. It is noteworthy that dice and other gambling are very popular during Diwali.Players cite both this legend and their belief in Lakshmi’s affection for them these days (Diwali 1979; 1988).
On the second day of Diwali, also known as Small Diwali, lamps are lit. On this day, newly purchased brass dishes, which are valued more than ceramic ones, are bought or exhibited for the first time, and gold jewelry is cleaned (Diwali 1988). Narakacaturdashi is the day when the victory of the god Krishna over the demon Naraka is also celebrated (lit.’hell, hellish’) or Narakasura (Ibid.). Probably, the connection of the Naraka myth arose later than the name of the day, which dates back to the mentioned legend about Bali. However, with the spread of the Krishna cult, this legend became popular in western Hindustan, where the Diwali image of Krishna is also highly revered.
On the third day of Diwali, called Amavasya and dedicated to Lakshmi, many lamps are lit to meet this goddess of family happiness and wealth.Houses are being decorated. On their walls and on earthen, stone and concrete floors, rangoli are painted with tinted rice, lime, and mineral paints – geometric and plant patterns, including the swastika sign, which is at the same time a symbol of Lakshmi. The doorways are decorated with bandawar wreaths made from mango leaves, the windows are left open so that the goddess of happiness and wealth can enter the house. In some, wreaths are placed on a pole with an oil lamp (akashdip). Idols are also adorned in home altars and temples.Sweets are distributed and sent to relatives and friends. On this day, it is also customary to visit elders and ask for their blessings.
It is no coincidence that the night of Amavasya is called Kala-ratra (‘black night’, or ‘Shiva’s night’). She is considered dangerous because of the raging evil spirits. All the more justified is the presence of many lamps. The fourth day of Diwali is associated with the worship of Krishna. It is called Govardhanapuja and refers to the ancient pastoral rites. The fifth day, known as Yama Dvitiya, Bhartri Dvitiya, Bhaya Dauj, is dedicated to the god of death Yama – the first person who was ever to die.Ancestors are remembered on this day (Diwali 1988).
It is customary to clean the house before diwali. Clay (kachcha) and stone or brick (pakka) houses are coated with clay from the inside and covered with whitewash. Bankers, usurers, merchants start new ledgers. For them, it is diwali – New Year, or rather, the beginning of a new financial year. This holiday is considered the main holiday among members of the castes, ranked among the varna category of vaisyas, mainly merchants, less often artisans.On this day, it is customary to worship tools that bring food, among others – accounts and books, and now even computers and laptops.
Diwali – a holiday of the family hearth, family, relatives. It is not surprising that on this day it is customary to receive and visit relatives, treat them with various sweets, such as halva and other dishes, mainly cottage cheese sweets, and exchange gifts. On the days of Diwali, it is customary to arrange fairs, riding a Ferris wheel, swinging and other entertainment.It is also customary to spend as much money as possible to show the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, how much money is required for a year, if so much money goes away in a few days (Bhagavat 1989). At the same time, when accepting or giving money, they are applied to the forehead as a sign of respect for them. Hindus believe that Lakshmi brings financial luck to believers.
The connection between Diwali and the cult of fertility is recalled, in particular, by the popular in North India prescription for infertile women to be cured by bathing in the waters of seven wells collected on Diwali (Diwali 1988).
Khichri (Makara Sankranti) is celebrated on January 14 (less often on January 13, 15), regardless of whether it falls on the Hindu month of Paush or Magh. The day of the holiday is calculated by astronomers according to the movement of the Sun and is tied to the solar, not the lunar calendar. The holiday marks the turn of the luminary in the north direction, that is, “for the summer”, and, accordingly, the onset of the bright half of the year. On this day, the Sun crosses the Tropic of Cancer, which is why it is called Makara-sankranti.As Makara-sankranti, the festival is especially popular with the brahmanas. It is also known as Khichari – by the name of the ritual dish consumed on this day by everyone – necessarily sweet khichri porridge.
Speaking about the Makara-Sankranti holiday, S. I. Ryzhakova writes: “Unlike many other Hindu holidays associated with
with the position of the moon and therefore moving relative to the dates of the Gregorian calendar, this holiday belongs to a small group of “motionless” and in different regions of South Asia is celebrated from 13 to 15 January, while the sun crosses the tropic of the Zodiac “(Ryzhakova 2018: 323 ).In the south of India, Makara Sankranti fits well into the circle of agricultural holidays and is considered a harvest festival in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, where, however, it has other names – Suggi and Pongal.
On this day, khichri is made from millet and peas. The dish is eaten at noon. Be sure to treat yourself to a special sweet called tilva on this day. It is made from sesame seeds and gur (sugar). Cows are also treated to delicious food, and this is considered a particularly auspicious act of the holiday.On this day, kites are flying in many villages. Children and young people compete: whose kite will fly higher; who will cut off more of the ropes holding the other participants’ kites (to prevent this, the top of the kite ropes are covered with glue and broken glass).
In the south of India, the celebration of the New Year (Onam among the Malayals, Pongal among the Tamils) is associated with the cult of the bull – an important farm animal related not only to the cult of Shiva, but also to the pre-Aryan cults.It is no coincidence that the demon Mahesha turned into a bull to fight the goddess Durga. In South India, the New Year is considered the time of a short return from the underworld to the land of the previously mentioned good asura Bali, who was an exemplary king. His short return should bring a rich harvest to the land and prosperity to the people. The culmination of the celebration of onam falls on the full moon of the Malayal month of Ching (August-September), the first month of the local calendar, when the Sun enters the zodiacal sign of Leo. In different regions of Kerala, this festival is celebrated in different ways and is sometimes complemented by local harvest festivals, but one of the most striking episodes in many places is the ritual competitions on the so-called snake boats (Albedil 2005: 129).
A Pongal harvest festival similar to Onam in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu is celebrated around mid-January, when the harvest of rice, sugar cane and turmeric, often used in Tamil national cuisine, is completed. The name of the holiday comes from the Tamil word pongal, which means “boil over” – this is the name of rice cooked in milk in a pot tied with turmeric stalks; together with sugar cane, bananas and coconuts, it is offered as a sacrifice to the gods.First of all, they worship the sun gods, Indra and Surya, who are most “responsible” for the harvest. The holiday usually lasts three to four days, although in cities it is often limited to two days. One of them must be dedicated to veneration
livestock, primarily cows and bulls. They paint their horns, hang bells and garlands of flowers on their necks and treat them to pong-gal rice, arrange a competition on them, and in the backwaters near the sea, they also arrange long boat races.
The fourth day of the dark half of the month of Magh is dedicated to Ganesha. The worship of this elephant-headed god of luck and the remover of obstacles is observed by representatives of all castes, while the rites are performed by women who have sons. The fulfillment of the vows and rituals of this day should contribute to the long and prosperous life of sons. Worshiping Ganesha includes strict fasting, honoring the moon appearing in the sky, sacrificing his favorite sesame and gur (palm sugar) treats to Ganesha.The rituals are especially carefully performed if a son was born or married during the year that has passed since the last holiday. They tell stories about what happens if you perform the rituals of the holiday, and what happens if you don’t, as well as how you can fix the situation. Those who observe the fast in honor of Ganesha break their fast with sweets and delicious food such as puri, khir, churma, sira (sweet cakes and porridge), etc.
In 1893, India’s national hero Lokmanya Gangadhar Tilak urged Hindus to refuse to participate in Muslim festive processions on the occasion of the 10th muharram (ashura) and to conduct their own processions, which usually wear large images of Ganesha.The holiday, therefore, is relatively new and copies the Muslim procession, during which they carry taziyya – images of domes over the grave of the Shiite Imam Hussein. On the tenth day of the holiday in honor of Ganesha, all his images are collected in a general procession. The procession is accompanied by music, singing and dancing and heads to the local body of water – lake, river or sea, where these images of Ganapati are submerged in the water to the sounds of musical instruments and shouts.
Worship of Lakshmi, Bali, Ganesha is intended to ask the higher (and in the case of Bali – and underground, chthonic) forces of well-being, fertility of the earth, wealth.
In the center of the complex of winter and spring holidays, the Holi holiday stands out. It occurs in the last month of the Phalgun year. It is winter, the darkest and coldest time of the year, but it is also the waiting time for spring and the upcoming New Year. As N. G. Krasnodembskaya notes, “it symbolizes the end of the cold season and the approach of spring” (Krasnodembskaya 2005: 110).Holi is celebrated on a full moon, which is why it is often called Holi Purnima. On the first day of the holiday, in the center of a village or urban area, a mountain of brushwood is formed, on top of
which houses an effigy of Holika, a demoness that symbolizes winter and resembles Maslenitsa, after which a similar Slavic holiday is named.
According to legend, Holika was the sister of the demon king (asuras) Hiranyakashipu, who with her help wanted to punish his son Prahlad for his loyalty to the Vishnu cult.Holika, who had the ability to come out alive from the fire, prepared a fire on which she wanted to burn the rebellious Prahlada. Thanks to the intervention of the god Vishnu, Holika herself was burned at the stake, which was not helped by the protection from fire given to her earlier. Prahlad was saved by divine help. The holiday, therefore, is tied to the cult of Vishnu, but is celebrated not only by the Vishnuites, but also by the Shaivites. And in general, it is perceived as a holiday of the arrival of spring and the end of the long cold season.
The day after Holi – Duhendi – is also considered a holiday, this is the time for the use of protective magic.Children smear each other, acquaintances, relatives, friends, as well as passers-by with ash from a burnt fire. Everyone they meet is sprinkled with colored powder (gulal), watered with tinted or plain water. Most often, a red powder is used, associated, according to N.R. Guseva, with the cult of fertility (Guseva 1989: 160), as well as with the solar cult (Guseva 1985: 104).
Holi is especially lavishly celebrated in the Braj region (Mathura and Agra districts of Uttar Pradesh state), but in general it is a common Indian and national holiday.It is celebrated by all groups of the population, regardless of caste. To some extent, Holi can be considered a substitute for the New Year, a kind of opposition to the autumn Diwali. Like Makara Sankranti (a holiday celebrated on the solar calendar), Holi symbolizes the end of the cold season. Soon, with the beginning of the light half of the chaitra, a new calendar year begins, but it is precisely the calendar date of the first day of the new year – Gudi pudwa – that is inferior to Holi in terms of significance and scale of celebration.
Gudi padwa – the day of the festive pole and flag (gudi, yupa).Formally, this is the holiday of the beginning of a new agricultural season, and the pole is an analogue of the European maypole. This is the day when the god Brahma, according to the Hindus, created nature – srishti. On the same day, the god Vasu, who sometimes received the title of king of the gods, distributed gifts to earthly kings. This day is also considered the day of the return of Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after the trip to Lanka. A wooden or bamboo trunk, decorated with flags and ribbons in memory of the return of Rama, is crowned with a Hindu flag – a triangular panel with the name “Rama” or the inscription of the sacred sound “aum”.According to the observation of N. G. Krasnodembskaya, who is well acquainted with the festive culture of the Marathas, one of the largest peoples of Western India, “in the meal
New Year’s holidays must be present with sweets; at the same time, there is a special custom: before they start eating sweets, they chew on the bitter leaves of the sacred neem tree. This change in tastes should remind of the coexistence of grief and joy in life ”(Krasnodembskaya 2005: 86). Gudi padwa is followed by Hindolichaitr or Dolutsav, a swing festival usually celebrated on the third day of the light half of the chaitra.Swinging in an Indian context has erotic connotations. It is noteworthy that the Marathi, in essence, the entire chaitra is held as a swing festival, using different images of deities on different days. NG Krasnodembskaya notes: “The symbolism of these actions is the renewal of the potential power of the deities” (Ibid: 88).
The connection of the Hindu New Year with the cult of a deified cultural hero is also manifested in the fact that on the ninth day of chaitra his birthday is celebrated, or rather, the appearance on earth in the image of the hero Rama, the great god Vishnu.In temples and wealthy houses, they read aloud the Ramayana in Sanskrit or transcribed into avadhi – the Ramacharitamanas poem by Tulsi Das. Ramnavmi – the birthday of Rama – a holiday of the Kshatriyas, warriors or descendants of warriors This holiday can be considered a holiday of the state subsystem, about which MF Albedil wrote, reconstructing the holidays of the ancient civilization of the Indus Valley. Since the reading of the Ramayana and home, as well as temple services in front of the image of Rama are conducted by the brahmana priests, this holiday is also the day of the priestly subsystem.In the middle of the chaitra, the day of Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated – the birthday of the divine monkey, the faithful companion of Rama. Rama is a ksatriya. His holiday is primarily a day celebrated by warriors by profession and kshatriyas by caste.
Vaisakhi, or Baisakhi, is the day of the vernal equinox. Indians celebrate it on April 13-14. This is due to the very early determination of the date of the holiday. Over the millennia since the date was determined, a significant difference has accumulated between this date and the date of the astronomical vernal equinox.At the same time, Vaisakh is the ripening time for a number of crops in North India. Therefore, the holiday can be considered the time that marks the beginning of the harvest and is an important date in the agricultural calendar. The Vaisakh month of the same name follows the circle of the lunar months. Falling on April 13-14 of the Gregorian year, Vaisakhi can be celebrated on different days of the month of the same name, as well as during the neighboring month of Chaitra (Om Lata Bahadur 2002: 84).
In the Hindu environment in North India, the celebration of Vaishakha is accompanied by bathing in sacred waters, best of all – in the waters of the Ganges River, giving gifts to brahmanas, wandering hermits, treating relatives, putting on the best outfits, shopping at specially organized fairs for this (Kotin, Uspenskaya 2005: 37).In Maharashtra, the month of Vaisakh is associated with the celebration of days dedicated to
avatars of the god Vishnu – Parashurama (Rama with an ax), Kurama (Turtle) and Nrisinha (Narasinha, the lion-man) (Krasnodembskaya 2005: 90). NG Krasnodembskaya, describing the calendar-festive cycle of the Marathas, does not mention the celebration of Vaishakha as a special event. MF Albedil also does not distinguish this celebration while studying the holidays of South India. But for North India – Hindustan, Bengal and especially Punjab – this is a very important holiday.In Punjab, Vaisakhi or Baysakhi is the New Year’s Day, a great agricultural festival and the birthday of the Sikh community.
In Punjab, at the beginning of January, the harvest of the autumn-winter rabi season ripens, as a rule – wheat and other cereals. The harvest is harvested and stored for some time. In Baisakhi it is possible to start selling the grain of this harvest, and the festive fairs (chalk) also serve as auctions. In the system of ritual exchange of services and goods of the Jajmani, once popular among the Hindus, but familiar to the Sikhs, part of the grain is also distributed by farmers to their “workers” (fireplaces) – carpenters, blacksmiths, auxiliary workers, as well as priests.Grain and gifts are also distributed to itinerant ascetics, it is believed that the donors gain grace. The morning bath of the Nahan is an obligatory beginning of this holiday for Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs. It symbolizes cleansing from sins, followed by visits to Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwars, and during periods of peace between religious communities, there is a visit to each other’s religious centers by both Hindus and Sikhs. Then the celebrations are transferred to fairs, where, in addition to grain, they also trade in small cattle and poultry.At the fair you can buy new clothes, toys and – most importantly – new ceramic dishes. Carousels are also installed here.
Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) is the main religious holiday of the Sikhs, a community that arose in the 15th-16th centuries. in the Punjab under the influence of the sermons of guru Nanak, and at the turn of the XVII-XVIII centuries. significantly reformed by the last tenth Sikh guru, Gobind Singh. On the day of Vaishakha in 1699 (then April 10), Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed the creation of the Khalsa, a militarized part of the community, consisting of adult men who had undergone a ceremony of initiation.This procedure is described in detail in the article by Kotin and Uspenskaya (2005: 173-174).
The first initiation by Gobind Singh himself resembled a human sacrifice. Gobind Singh summoned five Sikhs in turn, ready to sacrifice themselves for the life of the community. Each time he went out with a bloody sword and took a new volunteer to his tent. After the fifth volunteer disappeared behind Gobind Singh in the tent, the Sikh guru brought out all five and announced his will – the first five symbolize the community: where there are five Sikhs, there is a Sikh community, which, together with the holy book
“Adigranth” was hailed as a manifestation of a living guru.Then Gobind Singh stirred with a sword the water with palm sugar gur, which was declared amrita – the nectar of the immortals. Members of the vhalsa were ordered to wear five items, the names of which began with the letter “K” in Punjabi. These items are: kesha (long hair), kangha (comb), kachcha (pants), kada (steel bracelet), kirpan (dagger) (Kotin, Uspenskaya 2005: 175). All those who have passed the initiation and each other are treated by Sikhs to gur and pakhal (a mixture of flour, butter and sugar).
In the month of Vaisakh, the agricultural festival of Satuni falls.This holiday marks the end of an unfavorable dark period; on this day, peasants treat each other with gur and other sweets. From that day, mangoes are allowed in North India. The specificity of the agricultural seasons in India is such that almost any holiday can be tied to sowing, harvesting, starting the sale, consumption of one or another cereal, legume, or fruit. At the same time, the beginning of the treat with the mango fruit stands out against the background of other similar holidays: mango is considered the “king of fruits” and the greatest delicacy.An important role in the holiday is played by water carriers, for which children collect money, with them water carriers (kakhars) buy sweets, which are then distributed to all the villagers. The author of this work and his co-author E. Uspenskaya see this as a connection with watering, irrigation works, as if sanctified by this holiday (Ibid: 41).
On the purnima (i.e. full moon) of the month of jyesht (aushadh-purnima), the peasants of northern India worship Shiva in his formidable incarnation of Bheru.Bheru and its symbol lingam are considered guardians, including the guardians of the fields – kshetrapala (Ibid: 42).
At the time of rains, on the fifth day of the month of Shravan (July-August), there is Nag-panchami, the Serpent Five. During the rainy season, the water floods the snake holes. Snakes, including cobras, crawl to the surface. They need to be appeased, for which they create artificial dwellings for snakes in high places, put bowls of milk at the holes. At the same time, snakes, which appear more often in the rainy season, are perceived as creatures associated with rain, causing rain.In Nag-Panchami, peasants treat each other with sweets: gur, puri cakes. The holiday is also associated with the cult of fertility. The land is abundantly watered with rain. She will be fertilized and will bear fruit in the future. Girls on this day throw dolls into the pond, boys try to catch the dolls, trying to hit the ceramic heads with sticks. This game can be interpreted as a relic of some old ritual, probably associated with the cult of fertility.
On the full moon in the month of Shravan (Shravan Purnima), there is the Rakhi Bandhan festival.Now it is a colorful holiday accompanied by a treat. Its main element is the rite of tying
girls and women to boys and men of multicolored thread amuletarakh. However, this holiday has its own history and deeper meaning.
The Rakhi Bandhan festival is known among the brahmanas as Upakarma. It is associated both with magical protective rites and with the beginning of the training period among the brahmanas and putting on the “twice-born” (i.e.That is, representatives of the three “pure varnas” – brahmanas, kshatriyas, sudras) of a new cotton thread – janeo.
Upakarma means the movement of the Sun in the south direction, the beginning of the dark period. At this time, everything needs magical protection, which is embodied by the cord of the “twice-born” worn on the representatives of the three “pure varnas”. Rakhi amulets are available to everyone without caste restrictions. Thus, Rakhi Bandhan is a more democratic and popular form of Upakarma.The beginning of the dark half of the year means the strengthening of the dark forces, which suggests the need for more ritual protection. The young brahmanas bearing this protection begin their studies at this time.
If makara-sankranti symbolizes the beginning of the light period of the year, Rakhi-bandhan marks the beginning of the dark one. Thus, the Indian concept of astronomical phenomena is superimposed on the cycle of agricultural holidays.
Even a brief sketch of Indian calendar holidays shows that since ancient times the Indians have been tracking time mainly by the phases of the moon, but for a number of sacred days, which were considered the days of the autumn and spring equinox, winter and summer solstices, they used the dates of the solar calendar, determined a very long time ago, more 2000 years ago.Now these dates correspond to specific days of the Gregorian calendar, but do not correspond to the real days of the equinox and solstice of the astronomical year. As New Years, we can single out the holidays celebrated according to the solar calendar, Makara-sankranti and Vaisakhi (Baisakhi), as well as Diwali and Holi, which are in the center of two agricultural cycles. The official day of March 22 (chaitr, gudi-padwa) and the European (Gregorian) day of the new year are inferior to them in popularity.
Analysis of calendar holidays in India shows that the important agricultural holidays Diwali and Holi are in the center of half-years, acting as nationwide New Year celebrations
and eclipsing in importance once calculated as the days of the winter solstice of Makara-sankranti and the vernal equinox of Vaisakhi (Baisakhi).At the same time, the shade of an agricultural holiday is transferred to Baishakhi in connection with the start of the sale of winter grain crops, and in the south of India Makara-sankranti turns out to be the ripening time of the third harvest and also receives the status of an agricultural holiday.
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Submitted: 14.2019/01/06 Accepted: 2020/01/10 Article is published: 2020/07/01
90,000 Diwali in India or How to Become Rich and Lucky – So Convenient! traveltu.ru
Every tourist, going on a trip, dreams of new impressions, of something … exotic. Now imagine that you not only received impressions, but returned from a trip rich and lucky.
Today the story is just about this – about the main national holiday of India – Diwali.It is also called the Festival of Lights and the Festival of Lights. In scope and beauty, it is similar to our New Year.
Contents of article
The Festival of Lights is held in all countries where there is Hinduism or large Indian diasporas: in Sri Lanka, in Nepal, in Bangladesh, in Singapore; in the US state of California, in England (in London, Trafalgar Square is given for the celebration), in Australia.
But, in my opinion, Deepavali (the full Sanskrit name of the holiday, literally “a row of lights”) should be seen in India.
This 2020 will start the Festival of Lights on November 14th. It runs all over India.
What can be seen at the festival
The element of fire in all its manifestations: houses colored with electric and bright orange flower garlands, candles in the windows of apartments and at the doorstep of houses, boats-lanterns floating on rivers and lakes, fire shows and processions (the holiday starts at night), sparklers, fireworks , oil lamps in every home, shop, store and even government institution; lanterns and glowing stars, flying fire lanterns.
Performances of wrestlers and Sikhs demonstrating possession of two swords, and, of course, Indian songs and dances.
“But what about wealth” – you ask. Read on to find out the secret.
History and Traditions of Diwali
Some historians believe that Diwali has been celebrated in India for over 7,000 years. Each year, the start date of the holiday is calculated according to the lunar calendar, which means it is correlated with the most ancient calendar in the history of mankind – the agricultural one.
Traditionally, before the holiday, it is customary to clean and tidy the house, buy and give gifts. The situation is similar to our pre-New Year bustle, hustle and bustle in stores and Christmas sales in Europe.
Perhaps that is why some Internet resources say that Diwali is the Indian New Year.
At the moment there are two calendars in India: state – Gregorian (accepted throughout the world) and traditional.
In the Indian traditional calendar, the new year begins in the month of Chaitra, which corresponds to March 22 in the Gregorian calendar.And the Festival of Lights is held on the first new moon of the month of Kartika and falls either on the last days of October or early November. The month of Kartika ends the rainy season.
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In many ancient religions, including paganism, the new year was associated with the harvest festival and was celebrated in late summer – early autumn.The Feast of Fire just corresponds to such a transition, which once again tells us about its antiquity.
Oil lamps are lit all over India – painted clay cups (katori) filled with refined ghee. They symbolize the five elements from which the world was created.
Clay lamps are decorated with ornaments
The very name of the Diwali holiday is translated as “a row of lights”, so candles and katori are displayed in rows of 20 candles or cups each. By maintaining fire in the lamp, a person keeps in touch with God.
Candles and catori are placed in rows
Diwali symbolizes the victory of the light divine principle (good) over darkness – the absence of God (evil), the path of man’s spiritual ascent.
During the festivities, people perform cleansing ablutions in sacred reservoirs in the light of the stars and the moon, light oil lamps and candles, decorate houses with luminous lanterns called dipa, make prayers, make offerings to the gods.
Actor, wearing a Hanuman mask
Why is all this being done? For happiness.In any country, people have the same dreams: to love and be loved, so that the kids run around the house, so that their parents are healthy, that there is success in business, and peace and harmony in their souls.
Ganesha and Lakshmi are the main gods at this festival. Any prayer begins with an appeal to Ganesha.
This is understandable, Ganesha is responsible for wisdom. And without her, you can’t discern happiness, and you will lose wealth.
How is the holiday in different regions and states of India
India combines the territories of the former principalities, where they speak different languages, where, in addition to the traditional religion – Hinduism, there is Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism.
Diwali is a religious holiday. It is celebrated all over India and all religions. But in different regions of India, the holiday has its own characteristics.
– In central part of India Festival of Lights is dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi – the wife of the god Vishu, personifying fertility and prosperity, bringing wealth, happiness and good luck.
Indians believe that during Diwali Lakshmi and Ganesha should visit every house. But Lakshmi comes only to a clean house.
We draw the first conclusion: the house and the body (it is the house of the soul) must be tidy and clean.
In addition to cleaning and lighting the house, a prayer is offered to the goddess, milk is poured as an offering, a gold or gilded coin is placed in a bowl of milk – an amulet for the prosperity of a spouse. The coin lies in milk or on the altar all night, and then it is presented to the husband. You cannot make such an amulet for yourself.
Conclusion two: you need to make each other coins-amulets.
So that the goddess can freely enter the house, the doors and windows are left open all night.And the owners themselves, with burning lamps, rise to the roof of the house so that the gods see the light and do not pass by.
Third conclusion: sometimes it is worth reminding about yourself.
And also these days they play cards, delighting the goddess of luck.
Fourth conclusion: you have to play cards wisely.
Indian soldier lights holiday lights
One of the scientific hypotheses connects Diwali with the coronation of Prince Rama. Rama is the embodiment of the god Vishnu, the hero of the Indian epic Ramayana. For 14 years, Rama was in exile, performed many valiant deeds and deeds, defeated the evil demon Ravana (who lived on the island of Sri Lanka), freed his wife (the demon stole her), returned with honor to his city, became a great king, creating a prosperous power.
In the strait between India and Sri Lanka, parts of the Rama Bridge, which once connected the two states, have survived.
– In Western India the holiday was associated with the beginning of trade since ancient times – caravans of ships loaded with Indian goods were sent to distant countries. Now merchants and shopkeepers are paying off debts, tidying up bills in preparation for the start of the fiscal year.
You can see how they shower with flower petals and illuminate goods, including electronic equipment, so that it sells well, works without interruptions.
Firecrackers are blown up in the streets
– It is customary in the state of Rajasthan to prepare special treats for cats. If the cat eats everything without a trace, then wealth and prosperity awaits the family.
Conclusion five: it is worth taking care of animals more often and feeding them special food.
– In East India, in the state of West Bengal, the goddess Kali is worshiped during the Festival of Lights. A black goddess who personifies strength. Bengalis read prayers in front of the statue of the deity for 10 days.After the expiration of the prayer period, the figurine saturated with prayers is lowered into the waters of rivers and lakes.
– In those parts of India where the cult of Krishna reigns, the festival of Diwali is dedicated to the victory of Krishna over the demon Narakasura. It is customary here to dance, sing, grease yourself with coconut oil abundantly. This body lubrication replaces the ritual of bathing in the sacred waters of the Ganges.
On each of the five days of the Festival of Lights, certain actions and deeds are prescribed. So, two days before the holiday, they clean up the house and finish things, throw away unnecessary things and old clothes, buy new dishes, come to the store with the children to buy puffed rice and sugar figurines – a necessary attribute of the holiday prayer.
Conclusion seventh: children need to be given money so that they buy useful things and sweets.
Special discounts in shops at this time. So, if you like something – it’s time to buy. It won’t be cheaper.
Conclusion eighth: you need to be able to find discounts and use the opportunity.
And immediately the ninth: you need to be able to make discounts for others.
Homes are cleansed with candles and incense sticks.
- for the sick person to recover
- to have peace in the house
- so that the equipment does not break and the dishes do not break
- to sleep well
- to always want to come home
A good rite.We take into account.
On the last day of the holiday, the following custom was adopted: brothers come to the sisters’ house and give them gifts.
Brothers, take note of this point too.
Houses are decorated with electric garlands
Traditional holiday food, food and sweets
During the festival you can taste prasadam – but it is not food or Indian food. This is food offered to the deity (in the temple or in the house). The prasadam is then distributed to the believers as a symbol of divine grace.Many believers go on pilgrimage to receive the sacred prasadam.
It is believed that all Indians are vegetarians. But in the northern part of India, meat is eaten, in addition, Muslims and Christians also prepare dishes from lamb and poultry. On Diwali you can taste a traditional dish – lamb varuwal.
And also during the Festival of Lights it is customary to treat with sweets.
Every family prepares desserts on the eve of the holiday – sweet balls nei urunday and laddu, crispy rings made from white lentils and rice flour with the addition of salt and spices murukku and achi murukku.
Each ball is wrapped in a bright wrapper. The sweets are fragile. If you are treated to such a ball, thank you and eat it whole, otherwise it will crumble. Laddu is usually sold without a wrapper.
Sweets can be bought on the street or in a store (these are the same homemade balls). Now you can treat acquaintances and strangers. Participate in a national tradition.
“The name” nei urunday “should be pronounced carefully.” Urunday “is a ball.”Nei” is ghee. Through negligence and ignorance from non-Indians, you can often hear “nai” instead of “nei”.
Nai is a dog. And the expression immediately takes on an indecent dog-belly meaning. It is safer to use the English name “ghee balls”.
And we conclude 11: at least sometimes it is necessary to treat tasty not only acquaintances, but also strangers.
Festive lights in the form of a pacific sign
Important tourist information
Many tourists will want to travel to India for the Festival of Lights.Very important to remember:
- There is a lot of rubbish and dilapidated houses in India. Fires are frequent during Diwali celebrations.
- At night there are explosions of firecrackers and noise on the streets, so you shouldn’t go to a holiday with your children. Falling asleep is also unlikely to succeed. And earplugs won’t help here.
- Prices. During the festival, prices for any housing jump. Book your hotel in advance and be prepared to pay as much as 5 stars for 3 or 2 stars. Use our tips for your trip to India.
- Transportation prices are also higher than usual. But that’s not the worst.
- The Festival of Lights is a family celebration. Numerous Indian families go to their relatives to be together these days. As a result, overcrowded train stations, congestion, and most importantly, all tickets were sold out long before the start of the festival of lights.
- Grocery stores, markets and bazaars will also be closed. Food and water should be bought in advance.
On the night before Diwali, rows of lights are lit everywhere
Is there theft during the holiday?
Regarding theft, I will not say anything – think for yourself: on the one hand, it is a religious holiday (who wants to spoil karma and become a snake or a cockroach in the next life), on the other hand, hunger is not an aunt, you want a hearty and tasty meal on a holiday and thieves.
Speaking seriously, and here we come to the deep meaning of the Diwali holiday, the Festival of Lights is directly related to the traditions of Hinduism and Jainism, in which the main principles are Ahimsa and Asteya.
Ahimsa (Sanskrit) – behavior and mode of action, in which the first requirement is non-harm, non-violence. Do not index!
Asteya (literally “non-stealing”) – strict adherence to property (be content only with what is acquired by one’s own and, most importantly, honest labor).The principle condemns greed and the desire to take possession of the stranger. Prescribes the reduction of physical needs and the development of the pursuit of spiritual values.
The 4 main recommendations for how to achieve this:
- It is always fair to reward people for work and results
- Never take other people’s belongings
- Never take things that have been dropped or forgotten by others
- Never buy cheaper things if the price was reduced in a dishonest way (trade in stolen goods also belongs to this item)
Conclusion 12: following these recommendations will lead, if not to wealth, then to happiness for sure.
Despite our love for India and its culture, Galya and I prefer to keep money and documents in a safe (when there is one) or in a suitcase locked with a combination lock.
If you were not scared and, nevertheless, decided to include the Festival of Lights in your trip, then buy air tickets and tickets for domestic trains in advance, book hotels or accommodation with local residents in advance, and prepare photo and video equipment. In any case, there will be something to remove.
Days of the beginning of Diwali in 2016 – 2020
- 2016 – 30 October
- 2017 – October 19
- 2018 – November 7
- 2019 – October 27
- 2020 – 14 November
- 2021 – November 4
- 2022 – 24 October
- 2023 – 12 November
Those who celebrate Diwali in Russia or other countries should take into account that in India the difference with world time is 6 hours 30 minutes (+6: 30)
Where to stay in Delhi
Beautiful lanterns for home decoration
Those who will not be able to visit India for the Diwali holiday this year, but want to be rich, happy, cleansed of darkness and follow the path of light, should adhere to the 14 recommendations that we gave in the story.