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Diwali or Deepavali Festival - Indian New Year Celebration and Traditions

The Indian New Year, or also widely known as the festival of Diwali or Deepavali. This festival marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and is celebrated for five days. Being one of the most important festivals in India, Diwali (or popularly known as the Festival of Lights) is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy throughout the country.

The word ‘Diwali’ is a contraction of ‘Deepavali” which translates into ‘row of lamps’. In Hindu religion, Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated in different ways as well as in different times of the year at different places. Every state in India has its own history behind the New Year celebrations.

Since it is the biggest Hindu festival in the country, people make a lot of preparation for this new year. They clean their houses and decorate them with fresh beautiful flowers, they buy new clothes, distribute sweets and snacks, exchange gifts with friends and relatives as well as performing traditional activities together in their homes. Little oil lamps called diwa can be found in almost everywhere such as in temples, along garden paths, in houses and along window ledges. These are used to drive out evil spirits and replace them with goodness. Even the animals are washed, groomed and decorated for the festival.

As Diwali marks the end of the year, people try to finish their ongoing work and aim at starting with a new work in the New Year. People will try to pay all their debts and new account books are blessed. Indians also send New Year messages, New Year wishes and New Year cards. They also organize parties to welcome the New Year. It’s a time for new beginnings.

Diwali is also a religious festival. It is usually celebrated between the month of October to November. Hindus believe in the god Prince Rama. The Prince lost his kingdom and a demon named Ravana stole his wife. After so many battles with the demon, the Prince, with the help of Hanuman (the monkey warrior) they overcame Ravana and rescued his wife. Because of this, the people celebrated the happy ending story and called it ‘The victory of good over evil’ or ‘Light over darkness’.

According to Indian New Year traditions, 56 different types of food will be offered to the deities to satisfy their appetite. This is known as Annakut Darshan. After thatScience Articles, the food is distributed to the visitors as a Prasad as well as to the poor or needy. There are also ceremonies held in temples a month before the festival where the story of Rama and his wife is read. Bhajans sacred songs are sung and a ceremony called arti is performed by the dancers.

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Indian New Year follows lunar calendar,  just like Chinese New Year traditions. In Chinese new year, many people adorn their houses with lucky coins and wealth vase.

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