Five Days of Diwali Festival

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The First day of Diwali : Dhanteras

The First day is called Dhanteras or Dhantryaodashi, which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. .

The Second day of Diwali : Narak Chaturdasi

It is the fourteenth lunar day (thithi) of the dark forthnight of the month of Kartik and the eve of Diwali. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear.

The third day : Diwali

On the dark new moon night, the entrances to all homes are lit up and decorated with rangoli patterns to welcome Lakshmi, the radiant consort of Vishnu and the goddess of wealth and lustre. Lakshmi Puja is performed on this day.

Diwali is the last day of financial year in traditional Hindu business and businessmen perform Chopda Pujan on this day on the new books of accounts. Diwali is the festival when the new business year begins it is said that Diwali is the "Time to shop or start new ventures".

The fourth day : New Year day or Bestavarsh

The Fourth day is called Padwa or VarshaPratipada that marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and Vikaram-Samvat was started from this Padwa day.

The day after the Lakshmi Puja, most families celebrate the new year by dressing in new clothes, wearing jewellery and visiting family members and business colleagues to give them sweets, dry fruits and gifts.

On this day, Goverdhan Pooja is performed. As per Vishnu-Puran, the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honour of Lord Indra and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season. But one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. But Krishna saved his Gokul by lifting up the Govardhan Mountain and holding it over the people as an umbrella.

This day is also observed as Annakoot and prayers are offered in the temples. In temples especially in Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are given milkbath, dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones.

The Fifth day of Diwali : Bhai Dhooj

The second day of the bright forthnight (Shukla Paksh) of Kartik is called "Bhaiya-Duj".  It comes once a year - after Diwali.

The name itself denotes the day of the festival i.e.Diwali falls on the absolutely dark night of Amdvasya (new moon), Dooj comes two days after Diwali.
Many years  ago, in the Vedic era, Yama (Yamraj, the Lord of death) visited His sister Yamuna(Yami)   and she put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, they ate talked and enjoyed together and exchanged special gifts as a token of their love for each other and Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister on this day will never be thrown.

Since then it became imperative for the brother to go to his sister's house to celebrate Bhaiyaduj.On Bhai Dooj, the teeka is applied on the brother's forehead. It is a day dedicated to sisters. We have heard about Raksha Bandhan (brothers day). Well this is sisters day.

The sister usually goes in the morning and does the puja in the mother's house, before the brothers leave for  their places of study or work.

Some Beliefs about Diwali

Why do people clean and decorate their homes for Diwali?

Diwali is considered to be the festival of the Goddess wealth and prosperity Laxmi - Goddess Laxmi visits all homes to bless the people and so to welcome the goddess homes are cleaned & decorated.

Why do people Light up their homes with clay oil lamps?

People light up their homes to welcome Goddess Laxmi. Clay lamps also indicates the victory of Light over Darkness, Good over Evil, as well as the victory of Truth over Falsehood and that man can succeed only through his virtues.

Why do people play cards on Diwali?

It is believed that goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiv on this day and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuring year.This tradition of playing cards- flash and rummy with stakes on this particular day continues even to day.