'Diwali' or 'Dipavali' means an array of lamps or rows of diyas (deep = lamp, vali = array). Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is the most glamorous and important. This festival is enthusiastically enjoyed by people of the hindu religion. Its magical and radiant touch creates an atmosphere of joy and festivity.
Diwali is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra, on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Ashwin (October, November). It is a festival of lights, symbolizing the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual darkness. It celebrates the victory of good over evil - and the glory of light.
This festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. Homes are decorated by lights or diyas, and we go to our friend's house to celebrate this festival. Diwali's the time for fun and revelry. Diwail is also a time for pooja and tradition.
Diwali is celebrated all over India and the reason for the celebration is different between North and South India.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated to mark the killing of the evil monster, Narakasura, by Lord Krishna. Before Narakasura died, Krishna granted him his last wish, which was that the day of his death be celebrated with festivities and fun. On Deepavali day, families, adults and children alike, wake up early and prepare for the celebration. They take a bath with oil to rinse away the evil.
People in North India celebrate Diwali to mark the return of the God Rama to Ayodhya after living in the forest for 14 years. It is believed that upon his return, Rama was crowned the king of Ayodhya. On Diwali, this story is reenacted, followed by fireworks and other festivities.
Some Hindus celebrate Lakshmi Puja on the day after Deepavali, which most consider an important part of Diwali. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi idols are washed and decorated followed by prayer and worship, seeking blessings and prosperity.
Diwali is also the beginning of the Hindu calendar and on this day merchants open their shops and farmers plant their winter crops. As you can see, Diwali is an excellent and joyous holiday, important to Indians and their culture.
Sweets are the best way to shower your Diwali blessings on your loved ones. Sweeten your palate and delight your kids with some of the best-loved Diwali sweets recipes on the Indian continent.
How to perform the Diwali Puja:
Clean the Puja room ( the worship area) and then bathe the idols, first with water, then with panchamitra/or rose water, followed by water once again. Then lit the Deepak (Lamp) in front of the Deities . The diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits.
Ganesh Puja is an part of the deepavali Puja. As per the Lord Ganesha is to be worshipped in all pujas before any other God or Goddess. In Ganesh puja, Ganesh Aarti is sung and laddoos are offered to the god.
For the Laxmi puja, place a Lotus and other flowers at her feet as an offering. A silver coin is placed in front of the Goddess during the puja. Now perform Aarti with flowers in hand. After the Diwali puja, enjoy the Prasad and go out to burst Diwali Crackers.
Prepare Panchamitra using the 5 ingredients of milk, curd, ghee (clarified butter), sugar & Honey.
Place few mithais (sweets) snacks & fruits and offer them as prashad.
Make offerings of flowers, Abir (red colour), Sindoor (vermillion) and Haldi (turmeric).
Light the Agarbatti (incense sticks) and lamps filled with Ghee.
Make offerings of Fruit, Sweet dishes (mithai), Salty snacks (Mathis, Ghathia, Namakpare) and offer Dakshina (token money), which could be given to the poor. In the end offer paan (betel leaves), cloves.
Now pray to the deities to seek their blessings.
The Indian mithais :
1 cup Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Gram Flour
11/2 cup Sugar Powder
1/4 cup Grated Coconut
1/4 cup Dry Fruit almonds, raisins, kaju etc
1 cup Ghee
1. Heat the ghee.
2. Put both the flours in the hot ghee and allow it to cook for a while.
3. When done, put the grated coconut and the sliced dry fruit in the mixture.
4. Now put the sugar in the mixture and stir thoroughly.
5. Take off from the heat quickly and mold it into small balls or laddus. Or you may choose to put the mixture in an oil greased plate and later cut them into small pieces.
Besan ki Barfi
Besan or Gram flour 1 kg
Sugar 1 kg
Water 1/2 liter
Ghee 1 kg
For garnishing: Pistas, Almonds
1. Fry the gram flour or besan in ghee on low flame for about 30 mins till it turns pink and ghee separates.
2. Mix sugar and water into a syrup.
3. Add this syrup to the besan and mix well.
4. Pour this mixture into a greased tray.
5. When it cools cut into cubes and garnish with pistas and almonds.
Milk – 1 liter
200 grams of rice ( soak in water for half an hour before cooking)
Finely chopped cashew nuts
4 to 5 pieces of cardamom
Pour milk in a pan and allow it to boi on a flame low. Stir the milk continuously till it thickens a little. Put some sugar in the milk and continuously stir it until the sugar melts in the milk.
Then put the rice in to the milk and boil it for sometimes while stirring is at intervals. When the rice is cooked, garnish it with chopped cashew nuts, cardamoms and raisins.
Have a very happy Diwali.