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November 09, 2012
Diwali is one of the most popular Hindu festivals in India, which is celebrated with great zest all across the country. Steeped in history and legend, Diwali is also known as the festival of lights and is an occasion when friends and family come together to celebrate the spirit of togetherness and warmth.
History of Diwali
Like every Indian festival, Diwali too is steeped in history. Across India there are many different legends associated with Diwali, but the legend of Lord Ram remains the most popular. Diwali is celebrated as the home coming of Ram after fourteen years in exile and after defeating the demon king Ravan who had abducted Sita, the wife of Ram. The people of Ayodhaya were thrilled at the return of Ram that they lit oil lamps all across the kingdom and distributed sweets among each other, a tradition that is still followed.
Celebration of Diwali
Diwali means different things to different communities across India. In North India, Diwali signifies the home coming of Lord Ram, Gujarat celebrates Diwali to honour Goddess Lakshmi and in West Bengal Diwali is associated with Goddess Durga. Diwali celebrations begin with Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdashi (also known as Choti Diwali), the day of Diwali and then Govardhan Puja followed by Bhai Dooj. On the day of Diwali, people wear new clothes and perform a special Lakshmi Puja in their homes, followed by which sweets and gifts are exchanged and children burst fire crackers. The day after Diwali is celebrated as Govardhan Puja and a day after that Bhai Dooj is celebrated.
Diwali Gifts
Diwali is a season during which people exchange gifts with friends and family. Gifts range from boxes of sweets to idols of religious figures like Ganesh and Lakshmi, to Puja Thalis, silver coins, Diwali diyas and lamps to crockery sets. These days it is even becoming popular to gift gadgets like mobile phone, laptops and iPadís. Perfumes and apparel are another popular gifting choice. While choosing gifts for family and friends it is important to remember their tastes and preferences so that they cherish what they have been gifted.
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