Today in India it is the first day of Diwali, a five day festival to celebrate the “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. This festival is celebrated and is known worldwide as one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and some Buddhists.
The first day of the festival, celebrants prepare by cleaning their homes and making decorations on the floor, such as rangolis, which are colorful circle art, often with lanterns or candles in them.
The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day Hindus get up earlier than usual to bathe, apply good smelling oils and wear clean clothes. Relatives and friends gather for a large breakfast, special sweet snacks are served at midday, and evenings include loud and colorful fireworks.
The third day is the day of Lakshmi Puja, the goddess of prosperity and wealth. It is said that she likes cleanliness and will visit the cleanest house first to share her blessings for a good year ahead. On this day, the mothers, who work hard all year, are recognized by the family. Mothers are seen to embody a part of Lakshmi, the good fortune and prosperity of the household. Windows are left open and lanterns called diya are lit to welcome her on this night, which is the darkest night of the year.
In some parts of India, the fourth day is marked with the Govardhan Puja and Balipratipada. In general, on this festival day, Hindus exchange gifts, as it is considered a way to please Bali and the gods.
Some Hindu communities mark the last day as Bhai Dooj, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother, while other Hindu and Sikh communities mark this day as Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their work spaces and offering prayers.
Care to try a recipe often shared with family and friends during Diwali? Captain Create has an easy and sweet rice pudding recipe to share!