Diwali festivities are usually spread over five days. The celebrations start with Dhanteras (the Thirteenth day of the waning phase of the Lunar fortnight in Kartik month). This day is also known as Dhanatrayodashi. At the same time, in other regions, the festival begins with Govatsa Puja one day before, i.e. Dwadashi Tithi (the twelfth day of the waning phase of the Lunar fortnight in Kartik month). Finally, on the fourteenth day (Chaturdashi Tithi), people celebrate Naraka Chaturdashi, popularly known as Choti Diwali, and on the following day, i.e., the Amavasya Tithi, Badi Diwali is commemorated.
Govatsa Dwadashi is observed on the Dwadashi Tithi, Kartik, Krishna Paksha (twelfth day during the waning phase of the Moon in Kartik month, as per Purnimant calendar). The same festival is celebrated in the Ashwin month as per the Amavasyant calendar. Only the names of the month differ, but the date of celebrations remain the same. This year, Govatsa Dwadashi will be celebrated on November 1.
Hindus hail cows as Gau Mata (Mata meaning Mother). Therefore, cows are worshipped and celebrated for nourishing humankind. Calves represent Nandini, while the mother cows symbolise her divine mother cow Kamadhenu who resided at sage Vashishta's ashram (hermitage). Devotees also worship bulls and oxen on this day, as they play a pivotal role in agriculture.
Therefore as a mark of respect, devotees feed wheat and sprouts to the cattle and refrain from consuming foods made of wheat and milk products.
In Maharashtra, this festival is celebrated as Vasu Baras, while in Gujarat, it is referred to as Vagh Baras. On this day, in Gujarat, people settle accounts and financial dues ahead of the New Year celebrated three days later.
The Pradosh Kaal shubh muhurat is between 5:36 PM to 8:11 PM
Dhanteras, traditionally known as Dhantrayodashi, is celebrated on the Trayodashi Tithi (Thirteenth tithi), Krishna Paksha (waning phase of the Moon) of Kartik Maas. And on this day, devotees worship Lord Kubera, Lord Dhanvantari, Yamraj and Goddess Lakshmi. This year, Dhanteras will be celebrated on November 2.
Dhantrayodashi is associated with several deities. For example, it is said that on this day, in the Satyuga, Lord Dhanvantari (the God of medicines) and Devi Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) emerged from the Kshirasagara (cosmic ocean) during Samudra Manthan. This activity took place between the Asuras (demons) and the Devas (Gods) to obtain the Amrit (divine nectar of immortality).
Lord Dhanvantari, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, appeared from the Kshirasagara holding a Kalash containing the divine elixir. Therefore, devotees worship him for good health and long life.
And Devi Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu and the Goddess of wealth, also appeared from the Samudra Manthan. Hence devotees worship her also on Dhanteras. They pray for a wealthy and prosperous life.
Interestingly, Lord Kubera, the treasurer or the God of wealth, is also worshipped on Dhanteras. Devotees worship Kubera to seek his blessings for a life devoid of financial troubles.
And last but not least, devotees also pay obeisance to Lord Yamraj, the God of death on this day, by lighting an earthen lamp and keeping it outside the main entrance of their home to ward off any threat to life. Thus, by praying to Lord Yama, devotees ward off the untimely death of their family members.
The Shubh Muhurat on Dhanteras is between 6:17 PM to 8:11 PM
CHOTI DIWALI - NARAKA CHATURDASHI
Named after Narakasura, this festival is of great significance as it marks the end of the demon at the hands of Shri Krishna's consort Satyabhama.
Narakasura was the son of Bhudevi and Lord Varaha (an avatar of Shri Vishnu). However, he turned so destructive that his existence proved detrimental to the Universe. He knew that no one else other than his mother, Bhudevi, could kill him as per Lord Brahma's boon. Therefore, he became complacent. Once, he attacked Lord Krishna. And the latter's consort, Sathyabhama, an incarnation of Bhudevi, retaliated with much vigour and courage. She killed Narakasura, thereby consecrating Brahma's boon.
However, before breathing his last, Narakasura pleaded to Bhudevi (Satyabhama), sought her blessings, and wished for a boon. He wanted to be alive in people's memory. Therefore, Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated by lighting earthen lamps and doing the Abhyanga Snan.
Symbolically, people celebrate this day to rid themselves of evil, negativities, laziness, and sin. It signifies liberation from everything harmful and things that stop us from walking the right path.
Abhyanga Snan signifies the elimination of evil and the purification of the mind and the body. On this day, people first apply sesame oil on their head and body and then cleanse it with Ubtan (a traditional mixture of flours that serves as soap).
And according to another legend, Goddess Kali killed Narakasura and triumphed over him. Hence, some people refer to this day as Kali Chaudas. Therefore, Kali puja is performed on this day in the Eastern part of the country.
Abhayanga Snan shubh muhurat-5:40 AM to 6:03 AM
BADI DIWALI - LAKSHMI PUJAN
The main festival is celebrated on the Amavasya Tithi (New Moon night), a day deemed ideal for remembering the deceased ancestors. And there are various legends associated with this day that establish the significance of Diwali celebrations.
Diwali is an important festival for Hindus around the world. It is also celebrated by Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists. Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after an exile period of 14 years. People of Ayodhya lit the city brightly and welcomed Rama, Lakshman and Sita by firing crackers.
Diwali festival is also believed to be the symbol of Goddess Lakshmi coming home. Thus people celebrate by lighting many clay lamps called ‘Diyas’ around their homes. This signifies the victory of good over evil and that is why Diwali is also known as the festival of lights. People worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on this day as they are believed to bring good luck, prosperity and wealth.
Interestingly, in most regions, people celebrate Diwali by performing Goddess Lakshmi's puja. Moreover, Diwali night is the New Year's even as per the traditional Gujarati calendar.
The Shubh Muhurat for performing the Lakshmi Pujan is between 6:09 PM to 8:04 PM.
Devotees of Lord Krishna perform the Govardhan puja or Annakut on the Pratipada Tithi, Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of the Moon) in the Hindu month of Kartik. This year, the Govardhan puja will be performed on November 5.
Devotees pray to Shri Krishna and thank the Govardhan Parvat that he lifted with his little finger to rescue the people of the Braj Bhoomi after Indra Dev caused massive floods to avenge them. Therefore, on this day, people offer a variety of food preparations to the Lord and the Govardhan Parvat. In some places, Chhapan Bhog, a platter consisting of 56 recipes, are made and offered to the deity as a mark of gratitude. The food is presented as a miniature mountain, and hence it is also referred to as Annakut. Devotees in the Braj region circumambulate the remains of the Govardhan Parvat. Thus they pay their tributes to it.
Govardhan Puja prataha kaal muhurat- 6:36 AM to 8:47 AM
Govardhan Puja sain kaal muhurat - 3:22 PM to 5:33 PM
Bhai Dooj is observed on the Dwitiya Tithi, Shukla Paksha of the Kartik month. This year, Bhai Dooj will be celebrated on November 6.
Bhai Dooj is a festival that celebrates the bond shared between a brother and a sister. On this day, like Raksha Bandhan, siblings unite for a sacred ritual and then enjoy a feast together.
This day, brothers visit the sister if she is married and away. If not married and in the same home, siblings get together to do the tikka ceremony. Sisters ready an aarti platter with Diya, sweetmeats, gold ring, Kumkum Tilak and do an Aukshan or aarti ritual, praying for the long life of the brother. Brothers surprise the sisters with gifts, sweets are prepared and shared.
This festival is a tribute to the bond between Lord Yama and his sister, the Yamuna.
The Bhai Dooj 2021 Shubh Muhurat is between 1:10 PM to 3:21 PM.