Diwali, one of the biggest festivals in India, will be celebrated on 14 November (Saturday) this year. As per the Hindu almanac, the festival of lights falls on the day of Amavasya, or new moon, on the 15th day of Kartik month.
Also known as Deepawali, the festival symbolises victory of light over darkness. On this day, people decorate their homes, workplace and offices with marigold flowers, mango and banana leaves.
According to Drikpanchang, it is considered auspicious to keep Mangalik Kalash, or earthen pot, covered with unpeeled coconut on both side of the main entrance of the house.
People offer prayers and worship Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity on the day of Diwali. The idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are placed on raised platform on a red cloth. Silk clothes and jewellery are offered at the time of puja.
On Diwali, people clean their houses and offices and decorate them with lights, lamps and candles. They also make colourful rangolis.
The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali which means ‘rows of lighted lamps’. On the occasion of Diwali, houses, shops and public places are decorated with small lamps called diyas.
In Jainism, Diwali also marks the nirvana or spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira on 15 October, 527 BC. In Southern India, the day is celebrated as when Lord Krishna defeated the demon Karakasura, while in western India, it is the day Lord Vishnu sent the demon King Bali to rule the underworld.
As per legend, Diwali is also celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Some celebrate the festival in honour of return of Pandavas after 12 years of vanvas (exile) and a year of agyatvas.
Also, as per legend, Diwali is associated with the story of Yama and Nachiketa on the Kartika Amavasya.
On Diwali, people decorate their houses, offer prayers, exchange sweets and burst crackers. Children also seek blessings from elders on this day.
Diwali 2020 Puja timings:
Lakshmi Puja Muhurat – 5.28 pm to 7.24 pm
Pradosh Kaal – 5.28 pm to 8.07 pm
Vrishabha Kaal – 5.28 pm to 7.24 pm
The Amavasya Tithi will begin at 2.17 pm on 14 November and will end on 10.36 am on 15 November.
This year, many states and Union Territories (UTs) have banned sale and bursting of firecrackers due to a rise COVID-19 cases across the country. Here is a list of states and UTs that have imposed blanket ban on firecrackers this festive season.
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and some other states have allowed the bursting of green crackers this Diwali. Punjab too will allow green crackers for two hours on Diwali and Gurupurab 2020.