The festival of Diwali reminds us of the festive season of joy, splendor, enthusiasm and happiness. It is the festival of lights and is celebrated with great excitement by all Indians all over the world. The uniqueness of the festival is that it is celebrated for five days and each of the days has a special significance and importance. Each of the five days is based of five varied philosophies, with each day to a special thought or ideal. The first day of Diwali is called the Dhanteras, Dhanwantari Triodasi or Dhantryaodashi, which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. On this day, Lord Dhanwantari came out of the ocean with Ayurveda for mankind. This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. On this day at sunset offerings are made of sweets during worship time to Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) for the protection from untimely death. It is mainly done near a Tulsi tree (basil tree) or any other sacred tree.
The second day is called the Narak Chaturdasi. It is the Choti Diwali
celebration. On this day Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasur and
made the world free from evil power. It falls on the fourteenth lunar
day of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik and the eve of Diwali.
The third and the most important day of Diwali is marked with Lakshmi
Puja. It is the main day of celebration. On this day Goddess Laxmi is
worshipped. All the Hindu family clean their house and themselves and
join with their families and relative the puja of divine Goddess Lakshmi
to achieve the blessings of wealth and prosperity, the triumph of good
over evil and light over darkness. Diwali marks the last day of
financial year in traditional Hindu business and businessmen perform
Chopda Pujan on this day on the new books of accounts. Any new business
or venture starts with Diwali puja. The fourth day of Diwali is called
Padwa or VarshaPratipada and Govardhan Puja, that marks the coronation
of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day.
On this day, Govardhan Pooja is performed. Many thousands of years ago,
Lord Krishna caused the people of Vraja to perform Govardhan Pooja. From
that time onwards every year Hindus worship Govardhan. This day is also
observed as Annakoot and prayers are offered in the temples. The fifth
day of Diwali is celebrated as Bhai Duj or Bhratri Dooj. This is the day
after Goverdhan Pooja is performed and normally two days after Diwali.
It is a day dedicated to brothers and sisters. The rituals are more or
less like Raksha Bandhan where the sisters pray for the well being of
their brothers. The celebration of Bhai Dooj marks the end of the five
days of Diwali celebrations. This is also known as Bhai fota among
Bengalis. Bhai fota is an event especially among Bengalis when the
sister prays for her brother's safety, success and well-being.
Starting with all important Dhanteras, Diwali celebrations last for five days.