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Different Days of the Diwali Festival

Each day of Diwali is known by different names throughout the country. Read on to find out the significance of these names for Diwali.

Diwali is celebrated all over the country. Across every state, the celebrations revolve around the common theme of dispelling the darkness of ignorance and welcoming the light of knowledge. The festival is also associated with wealth and prosperity. Different regions of the country celebrate Diwali in different ways. As such, each day of Diwali often has its own unique name in a different part of the country. Here are some of them.

First Day

Dhanteras is the first day of Diwali. 'Dhan' refers to wealth; hence, this day is celebrated to worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. On this day, obeisance is also paid to Dhanavantri, the doctor of the Gods. This day is also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhan Teyras. Another name for the first day of Diwali is Yamadeepdan. This name is associated with Yama, the god of death. The sixteen year old son of King Hima was destined to die on this day. However, the devotion of his wife impressed Yama so much that he returned back without taking the Prince's life.

On this day, earthen lamps are lit for ancestors of the family and the lamps are floated down a river or pond. Lamps are also lit at the entrance of a home. Offerings comprising of water, rice, jaggery, vermillion, and flowers are kept for Yama. In South India, this day is known as Asweyuja Bahula Thrayodasi. It is a very auspicious day and every household celebrates by buying silver or gold items. If this is not financially possible, then at least new utensils are purchased.

Second Day

In most of northern India, the second day of Diwali is known as Choti Diwali or small Diwali. Since it is Diwali on a smaller scale, only five to seven lamps are lit and placed at the entrance of the house. A few crackers are burst as well. This day is also known as Roop Chaturdasi. Hindus perform a ritual bath and meditate in order to enhance their beauty. In connection with this, the second day is also referred to as Kali Choudas. People apply kajal (black eye liner) to the eyes in order to ward off kali nazar (evil eye).

In South India, the second day is called Narkachaturdashi. It is celebrated to commemorate the death of the demon king, Narakasura. In Andhra Pradesh, this day is also known as Divvela Panduga. At the end of this day, people take a bath with oil, accompanied by the bursting of firecrackers.

Third Day

The third day is the most important day of Diwali. This day is dedicated to the worship of goddess Lakshmi. For Jains, this day is known as Deva Diwali. On this day, homes are brightly lit, and scriptures are read in order to worship Lord Mahavir. Kashmiri Pandits celebrate this day as Sukhsuptika, which literally means sleep with happiness. Badhausar is the name given to this day in Gujarat. It is believed that on this day, goddess Lakshmi visits all homes that are brightly lit.

In some south Indian states, Diwali is known as Balindra Puja. On this day, a puja is performed to Lord Krishna and an offering of oil is made. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as Bandi Chhor Divas. This day is celebrated as a day of freedom by the Sikhs. Sindhis celebrate Diwali as Diyari. They too perform a Lakshmi puja on this day.

Fourth Day

The fourth day of Diwali is usually celebrated as the New Year for most Hindus and is called as Bestavarsh. It is believed that Lord Krishna gave his protection to a cowherd family in Vrindavan to save them from the anger of Lord Indra. Hence this day is also termed as Annakoot. In Karnataka, this day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada. On this day, the demon king Bali descends to the earth to visit his loyal subjects.

Fifth Day

The fifth day of Diwali is dedicated to celebrating the sacred bond between brothers and sisters. This day is mainly known as Bhai Dooj. However, there are variations in this name depending on the different parts of the country. In Bengal, this day is called as Bhai Phota while in Maharashtra, it is known as Bhau-beej. The fifth day is also referred to as Yamadwitheya. On this day, Lord Yama visited his sister Yamuna. This is also why this day is special for brothers and sisters.

No matter what the name, Diwali is a time of great festivity. The celebrations are widespread and varied and are enjoyed no matter where you are.

By what name do you celebrate the festival of Diwali in your home? What special rituals do you perform during your celebrations? To share your tips, views, and experiences, click here.

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