DIWALI AAYO RE !
We are now at a very important mark of the 5-day long Festival - the MAIN DAY of the Festival or Lakshmi Puja Day. This falls on the Amavasya or New Moon day every year but though Amavasya is not considered as an auspicious day to celebrate any occasion, it is considered to bring in good luck to have Lakshmi Puja performed on this particular day.
- At the break of dawn, one should have an auspicious bath and then worship the Deities.
- In the afternoon, a rite for the departed souls (parvanshraddha) and an offering of meals to Brāhmaṇs (Brāhmaṇbhojan) is done.
- In the evening, in a decorated area, Goddess Lakshmi, Deity Vishnu, other Deities and Deity Kuber are worshipped. A legend says that on this day Deity Vishnu along with Goddess Lakshmi liberated all the deities from Bali’s prison and thereafter they all slept in the ocean. To represent that, everyone should enjoy themselves at home and light lamps everywhere.
Lakshmi Puja consists of a combined puja of five deities:
- Ganesha is worshiped at the beginning of every auspicious act as Vighnaharta;
- Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms
Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money)
Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning)
Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is also worshiped.
People dress in new clothes and visit the homes of their friends and relatives and exchange homemade sweets and savories. Small get-togethers with friends or families also seem to be getting more and more popular especially because of the nuclear family set-up. In the olden days, the joint family system took care of the need of having the Diwali night dinner with loved ones. Nowadays since it might not be possible to go to one's hometown during Diwali, the need to enjoy the meal with loved ones is taken care of by friends get-togethers.
This year there has been a small dip in the cracker bursting ritual which is a wonderful ritual in itself and I sure hope this particular ritual is here to stay!