Diwali Puja: Cultural Values
One of the holidays that is celebrated the most in India and all around the globe is called Diwali, which is also referred to as the “Festival of Lights.” The Diwali Puja is an integral component of the festivities, and it is also steeped in profound historical and cultural significance.
There are several facets to the cultural importance of the Diwali Puja celebration. Families and friends join together during this time of year to rejoice and take pleasure in one another’s presence.
The Diwali Puja is significant in a number of different faiths and cultural traditions. In Jainism, it is a celebration of Lord Mahavira’s arrival in Nirvana, but in Sikhism, it is a celebration of Guru Hargobind Singh’s freedom from imprisonment.
History of Diwali Puja
Diwali Puja is a Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of virtue over evil. Its origins may be traced all the way back to ancient India. After conquering Ravana, the demon king who had abducted Rama’s wife, Sita, Lord Rama is said to have made his way back to Ayodhya in the mythology of the Hindu religion.
The citizens of Ayodhya also welcomed the homecoming of Rama by burning lights and adorning their houses with rangolis and flowers. At Diwali, people have a custom of lighting lamps, which is also said to represent the victory of light over darkness, the triumph of good over evil, and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance.
During the festival, the deities Lord Ganesha and Lady Lakshmi are honoured via the performance of a number of rituals. These rituals include the lighting of diyas (lamps), the performance of aarti (prayer), and the gifting of sweets and flowers to these deities. These ceremonies also emphasize the significance of family values, togetherness, and financial success.
The day when Emperor Ashoka is said to have converted to Buddhism is commemorated during this festival by Buddhists and Newar Buddhists in Nepal. These groups see the event as a celebration of the day Emperor Ashoka converted to Buddhism.
Diwali Puja is significant not just from a religious and cultural standpoint but also from a societal and economic one.
People show their appreciation for one another by exchanging presents, sweets, and greetings with one another during the holiday, which helps to deepen the relationships between them.
Many take advantage of the opportunity to go shopping, get new clothing, and spruce up their houses in preparation for the festival, which also helps the economy.
Diwali: The Five-Days Celebration
A variety of traditions and rituals are also used throughout the five-day festival to represent various themes and occasions. The five days of Diwali are broken down as follows:
Dhanteras (Day 1): This is when Diwali officially begins. They tidy up their homes and places of business, then add lights and rangolis to them (colourful designs made with powdered colours).
They also purchase brand-new clothing, kitchenware, and gold or silver things. A puja (prayer) is conducted in the evening also, to honour the goddess of riches, Lakshmi.
Choti Diwali/Naraka Chaturdashi (Day 2): The second day is also known as Choti Diwali, which translates to “little Diwali,” or Naraka Chaturdashi. Candles and diyas (oil lamps) are also lit inside and outside of residences.
Naraka Chaturdashi, which commemorates Lord Krishna’s triumph over the demonic Narakasura, is another name for this day. In certain areas, individuals cook elaborate meals and pay visits to friends and relatives.
Diwali (Day 3): Diwali, the festival’s centrepiece, is observed with a lot of fanfare. They change into new attire and illuminate their houses with candles, electric lights, and diyas.
A puja is conducted in the evening to honour Lord Ganesha and Lady Lakshmi. Another typical component of the event is fireworks.
Govardhan Puja (Day 4): The fourth day, Govardhan Puja, is also referred to as Annakut, which means “mountain of food.” To honour Lord Krishna’s triumph over Lord Indra, it is a holiday. At a puja, people prepare a wide range of delicacies to give to the gods.
Bhai Dooj (Day 5): This is the festival’s last day, and it honours sibling relationships. Sisters do a pooja and place tilak (a mark created with vermillion) on their brothers’ foreheads. In addition to giving their sisters presents, brothers also make a pledge to keep them safe.
This Year Diwali is falling on between Sun, 12 Nov 2023 – Thu, 16 Nov 2023.
Diwali Puja: Importance
Diwali Puja is an important holiday in India, and participating in the Puja may confer a variety of advantages on its participants. Let’s examine a few of the many important aspects of doing the Diwali Puja:
Prosperity and Wealth:
Diwali Puja, which is held to honour Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of riches and prosperity, is said to provide both of those things to those who participate in it. It is thought that if the Puja is performed with dedication and sincerity, then it will bring about good fortune, financial stability, and an abundance of money.
Purging Impure Hindrances of Life:
Invoking Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god of intelligence and wisdom, who is also known as the “remover of barriers,” is an important part of the Puja ritual. It is thought that if the Diwali Puja is performed with dedication, it would eliminate all barriers from one’s path and provide prosperity in one’s life.
Worshipping Lord Ganesha before doing any Puja is regarded to be fortunate.
Promotes Family Bonding:
Diwali is a time when family and friends join together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. This helps strengthen the bonds that exist among families. Taking part in the Puja as a family helps to forge stronger relationships, advances the cause of unity, and contributes to the development of a feeling of community.
Peace and Harmony:
The Diwali Puja ceremony includes burning lamps and candles to represent the victory of light over darkness. This brings about peace and harmony in the community.
The mind and the soul are brought to a state of serenity and harmony by the gentle light of the lamps and the meditative ambience that is produced throughout the puja.
An Abundance of Positivity:
Diwali Puja is a time to reflect on our life, let go of negativity, and embrace happiness. This practice has been shown to increase optimism.
A positive energy field is created by chanting mantras, and this field, along with the scent of incense sticks and flowers, has the potential to change the world around us.
Increases Spiritual Development Since the Puja requires calling deities and giving prayers, it increases our potential for spiritual development and establishes a connection to higher awareness.
The rituals and practices of Puja aid in the cleansing of the mind, body, and spirit, and they contribute to the process of spiritual awakening.
Joy and Happiness:
Diwali is a holiday that celebrates joy and happiness, and if the Puja is performed with dedication and sincerity, it has the potential to bring about a great deal of pleasure and happiness in one’s life.
The giving and receiving of presents and greetings during the festival not only contributes to the spirit of the celebration but also fosters feelings of generosity and contentment.
Diwali Puja is a festival that is observed in India by people of all different faiths and cultures. This helps to promote social harmony.
The celebration invites people to get along with one another and join together to celebrate the victory of good over evil. It also helps to maintain societal peace.
Diwali Puja: Vidhis to Perform the Puja
The Puja is performed to seek blessings from Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kuber. The Vidhis or rituals of Diwali Puja include several steps that are elaborately performed to invoke the blessings of the deities. Here are the steps involved in performing the Diwali Puja:
The preparations for Diwali Puja begin weeks in advance. A clean and clutter-free space is necessary for the Puja. The area where the Puja is to be performed is decorated with flowers, lights, and rangoli.
The Puja begins with the invocation of Lord Ganesha, who is the remover of obstacles. The devotee invokes Lord Ganesha with the recitation of the Ganesh Mantra.
The next step is the invocation of Goddess Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The devotee performs Lakshmi Puja by reciting Lakshmi Mantra and offering flowers, fruits, sweets, and other offerings.
Kuber is the god of wealth, and his Puja is performed to seek his blessings. The devotee recites Kuber Mantra and offers flowers, fruits, sweets, and other offerings.
The lighting of Diyas is an essential part of Diwali Puja. The devotee lights Diyas in every corner of the house to invite positive energy.
The offering of Prasad:
The devotee offers Prasad to the deities, which includes sweets, fruits, and other offerings.
The Puja concludes with the recitation of Aarti. The devotee sings Aarti while offering flowers, Diyas, and other offerings to the deities.
The Vidhis of the Puja are as follows:
Clean the House:
The first step is to clean the house thoroughly and decorate it with rangoli, diyas, and flowers. The purpose is to make the house look beautiful and welcoming to the deities.
Prepare the Puja Thali:
The next step is to prepare the Puja Thali, which is used to offer prayers. The thali should include flowers, a diya, a small pot of water, rice, and sweets.
Light the Diyas:
Light the diyas in the house and in front of the deities. This is done to remove darkness from our lives and welcome light and positivity.
Offer Prayers to Lord Ganesha:
Lord Ganesha is the God of new beginnings and is worshipped before any auspicious occasion. Offer prayers to Lord Ganesha to seek his blessings for a successful Diwali Puja.
Offer Prayers to Goddess Lakshmi:
Goddess Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Offer prayers to her by chanting mantras and seeking her blessings for a prosperous future.
Aarti is an important part of the Puja, where we offer prayers to the deities by lighting camphor and offering flowers. The purpose is to show gratitude and seek blessings.
After the Puja is over, distribute Prasad to everyone present. Prasad is the blessed food that is offered to the deities during the Puja. It is believed that consuming Prasad brings good luck and blessings.
The final step is to light firecrackers to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. However, it is important to be cautious while lighting firecrackers and follow safety precautions.
The Diwali Puja is an essential component of the celebration, and its performance with commitment and honesty also has the potential to bring about calm in one’s life as well as success and pleasure.
During the Diwali Puja, a series of rituals known as Vidhis are performed. One of them is the reciting of mantras, which also helps to foster a spiritual environment and garner the favour of the gods.
In order to be bestowed with the heavenly blessings of the deities, the devotee is required to execute the puja with a clean heart and clear mind.
1. What are some different versions of Diwali Puja throughout India?
- Answer: Diwali Puja is celebrated differently in different parts of India, but the central theme of the festival remains the same – the victory of good over evil.
2. Can non-Hindus perform Diwali Puja?
- Answer: Yes, anyone can perform Diwali Puja regardless of their religious background. The festival is celebrated by many different communities in India.
3. In which month does Diwali Puja usually fall?
- Answer: Diwali Puja falls on the new moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik, which usually falls in October or November.
4. Is there an auspicious day to perform Diwali Puja?
- Answer: The new moon day of Kartik month, known as Amavasya, is considered the most auspicious day to perform Diwali Puja.
5. Are any other gods worshipped during Diwali Puja?
- Answer: Yes, besides Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kuber are also worshipped during Diwali Puja as they are believed to bring wealth and prosperity.