Diwali lamps are often used in worship, but are widely recognized during the Diwali festival, the festival of lights, in Hinduism. The lamp is fuelled by oil.
The Diwali lamp is extremely auspicious. The Diwali lamp is told to bring prosperity to the home. As if that was not enough, lighting the lamp will also expel malicious forces and ignorance.
The diya is truly a great symbol of optimism and prosperity for the members of the household.
The Diwali Lamp and the Festival of Lights
The festival of lights called Diwali is celebrated every year in autumn on the brightest full moon night.
The goddess Lakshmi is central during the festival of lights.
All believers desire to be blessed by Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. As Lakshmi will not enter a dark house, the Diwali lamps are most important.
Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali” meaning a “row of lamps”. This is in remembrance of Rama and Sita (reincarnations of Vishnu and Lakshmi) who after fourteen years of exile returned to their kingdom.
The roads back to their kingdom were lit with lamps.
Diwali marks the triumph of light over darkness, the good over evil.
The Diwali festival is important to all merchants and businesses. This is the time to close financial accounts and settle all debts.
In business ventures Diwali often marks the start of a new financial year.
Thanks are given to Lakshmi for all that has been accomplished during the year and to ask for her blessings in the year to come.
Diwali is by many celebrated over a five day period. It starts on the thirteenth day of the dark half of the lunar month Asvina and goes through the second day of the light half of Karttika.
This would be in late October or early November according to the Gregorian calendar.
The first days marks the day Lakshmi was born from the churning of the primal Milk-Ocean in a battle between good and evil.
Lakshmi rose from the foams and the rivers changed directions to flow towards her.
She arrived sitting on a lotus flower and holding another lotus flower in her hand. Celestial elephants scooped up water from the waves and washed her.
The days before the main festival day are devoted to preparing, doing puja and devotions to the different gods that are worshiped depending on where in India one resides.
Women will often decorate the floor with rangoli to welcome Lakshmi and bring more good luck. Rangoli is a popular art form with lovely patterns in India.
The Main day of the Diwali festival
The third day of Diwali is the main celebration day. The day is an extremely festive occasion. Children naturally love the gifts they receive.
The day after the main festival is in honor of all married couples. This is a special day for husbands and wives. Also on this day it is customary for husbands to give their wife gifts such as gold or a beautiful new sari.
Diwali is all about visiting with friends and family, exchanging gifts and cards, decorating houses, wearing new clothes and feasting.
Many will also visit the temple.
Lots of fireworks are not uncommon during the festival.
Gambling is a popular activity during the festival. This is in remembrance of the dice games Shiva and Parvati played on Mount Kailasa. As a ritual the female partner will win to show honor towards Lakshmi.
Brothers and Sisters Day
The last day of the festival, the second day of the lunar month Karttika is celebrated as Bhaibij, “Brothers and Sisters Day”.
Men will be expected to visit their sisters or other close female relatives if they do not have a sister. The women will prepare a great meal and the family members will strengthen their family bonds.
Brothers and sisters will exchange gifts on this day.
Yama is the god of death (son of the Sun god) who is known as the fair judge who weighs the good and bad deeds of the deceased and decides what will happen to them.
Yamuna was overjoyed to see her brother. Yama told his sister he would grant her a personal wish. She asked if he would visit her every year.
Yama replied that it would be a privilege to visit his dear sister every year. He therefor granted his sister a new wish.
Yamuna said that all brothers and sister who bathed together in the Yamuna River are ensured to be reunited in their next life.
This is why many brothers and sisters choose to bathe in the river on this special occasion.
Lakshmi – the Goddess of Prosperity and Good Luck
Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and generosity. Lakshmi is the wife of Vishnu.
She took on different form to be with him during each of his reincarnations. Vishnu has been reincarnated nine times. Believers are waiting for the tenth reincarnation and final of Vishnu.
Though she is the wife a Vishnu, she is most often worshipped independently.
She is described as a beautiful goddess with a golden complexion. Like most Hindu deities she has four arms. This is not written in stone, as many statues also show her with two arms.
In paintings and pictures she is shown with full-breasted and broad hips. Often there are two elephants on each side of her. She is often seen sitting on a lotus flower.
The lotus flower is a symbol of purity that is unaffected by its environment. Lakshmi rides a great white owl.
Lakshmi does travel a lot. She is picky about who she visits.
She will not enter a home which is dirty or messy.
Equally Lakshmi will not bless those who do not keep themselves clean.
The goddess will ignore lazy people. It is not a good idea to sleep in if you would like to be blessed by Lakshmi. Rise and shine and get to work!
Also you need to watch your language. Do not use foul language, nor do anything to intentionally hurt others. Keep your cool; do not lose your temper.
True devotees of Lakshmi will make sure they are facing the west when they eat as this direction is favorable for attaining good fortune.
Lakshmi has the compatibility to remove poverty for all whom show gratitude, have self- respect and honor their fellow man.
Millions of people do light a Diwali lamp and invite prosperity into their homes.