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This is how Nainital celebrates Diwali !!!!

DiwaliorDeepavaliis the festival of lights, it is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated among Indians in India and abroad every year. Diwali is one of the largest and brightest festivals in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil. The preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.

This is a picture of India taken by NASA from space on the day of Diwali-CourtesyGoogle

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light updiyas(lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in familypuja(prayers) typically to Goddess Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Afterprayers, fireworks follow, then a rich traditional family feast includingmithai(sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Deepavali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.

Diwali is an important festival for Hindus. The name of festive days, as well as the rituals of Diwali, varies significantly among Hindus, based on the region of India. In many parts of India, the festivities start with Dhanteras, followed by Narak Chaturdashi on the second day, Deepavali on the third day,Govardhan Pooja on the fourth day, and festivities end with Bhaiya Dooj dedicated to the sister-brother bond on the fifth day.

My mother makes Goddess Idol (Lakshmiji) on Diwali by placing sugarcane sticks together and ties them, it creates a triangular space on top to place a dried coconut. She further decorates it with clothes and accessories. Diwali is a very busy day as she fasts the entire day and spends most of the day making sweets and offerings (Prasad) for Lakshmiji and evening with prayers. We enjoyed bursting little crackers at night, though I was always scared and didnt like the noise pollution much, I kept my share of money instead of spending them on firecrackers,I still only buy sparkles every year, just for the sake of celebration.

This is a picture of our temple room in India.

Instead of rangolis, we paint a rectangular design on our door entrance with red powder and then decorate it with wet grounded rice paste; this is considered very traditional/auspicious and is really a must in our culture. Though nowadays, people have started either using paint or even buy decorated stickers and paste them (it saves you big on time). People, who use paint to decorate, start as early as 15 days to decorate the whole house. Small images of Goddess Lakshmis feet is also printed in the house, we believe Goddess actually visits the houses on the auspicious day of Diwali to bless the premises.

Images of Goddess footprints painted with red/white paint.

This is how the door frames are painted with rice flour and red powder. Pic courtesy: Google Images

This is called Singal, a sweet dish prepared in Nainital especially for Diwali.

Indians around the world celebrate Diwali with pomp and show and with full enthusiasm. Every state in India has its own traditions, rituals, and preparations for Diwali. But its all about getting together as a family and friends and enjoying the festivities the most.

I will leave you with some stunning views of Diwali in Dubai, while I am here to celebrate this year,

May the joy, cheer, mirth and merriment of this divine festival surround you forever. May the happiness and, hope the year brings you luck and fulfills all your dearest dreams!!!

How do you celebrate Diwali?? What are the special things (food, decoration) your family prepares?? Pls, do share your memories here. Happy Diwali everyone!!!!