Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Diwali Is A Five-Day Affair

Deepavali or Diwali means a row of lights.It is considered to be one of the oldest of all Hindu festivals.When Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile,with Sita and Lakshmana in tow,the populace went ecstatic. The people lit diyas all over the city.It was Amavasya or nomoon night,on the night of Rama's arrival.The lights were meant to guide them in the pitch darkness outside.On this day, Goddess Laksmi,the Goddess of wealth and prosperity is revered.For the business community,in the West of India, it has special significance because it also heralds in the New Year. Businessmen and traders worship their books of accounts in the evening and this function is called "chopdi(books) pooja".Some transactions must be made because the moment is auspicious.

One of our dealers is a Gujerati Jain.Jains and Sikhs also celebrate Diwali.He meets me every year and does a transaction.Buy some steel from me and sell some raw material to me.I quote the maximum price for my steel and drive a hard bargain for the purchase.Because I know he does not want to go back emptyhanded.It is a win-win situation for me.In the share market,on this day,there is one hour of trading called 'muhurat' trading.It is an auspicious time and people hope to make lots of money in the coming year in the bourse.Quite likely, if they wisely invest.The Sensex has crossed 13,000 already.It is likely to go up to 15,000 by next Diwali.

The first day of the Diwali festival is called "Dhanteras".Dhan means wealth and teras refers to the thirteenth day of the month of 'ashwini'.It is supposed to be an auspicious day for buying silver and gold(new dhan) as a mark of good fortune.Many ladies buy cooking utensils on this day.This year many of the banks have geared up to facilitate the sale of gold.Though I have never done this before,this year I too bought some gold.The prices were at a low.And the Swiss biscuits were indeed very tempting.

There are many legends associated with this day.Once upon a time there was a King Hima,17 years old, who was destined to die by snakebite on the fourth day of his marriage.His wife laid all her ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a heap in front of her home and lit diyas everywhere possible.She did not allow her husband to go to sleep and sang continuously.Lord Yama,who entered in the guise of a serpent was so dazzled by the gold that he could not enter the prince's room.Dhanteras is also referred to as "Yamadeepdaan".Throughout the night the lamps are kept burning.Lord Yama had promised that those who observed this day would be spared of an untimely death.

When a girl child is born on dhanteras day she is supposed to bring loads of luck from Goddess Lakshmi.When she gets married and leaves her parents' home,her footprints are taken on kumkum and preserved so that the luck which she brought remains and does not go away.

It is also believed that during the great 'samudramanthan',Dhanvantari(the physician of Gods),emerged on this day with a jar containing the elixir 'amrit'.

Then the next day is Choti Diwali,followed by Lakshmi Pooja on the main Diwali day and then Padwa and last but not the least Bhai Duj.I will cover the remaining four days in the next four postings.


Anonymous said...

I just love your festival posts - they are so informative and I always learn stuff I didn't know before.

The neighbourhood I grew up in was mostly made up of Jains(I always joke that one half of me is Gujarati-Jain by merit of long association with the community) so the New Year celebration was always a big affair.

I didn't know that a girl born on Dhanteras day is considered lucky, wish everyday was Dhanteras day for the Indian girl child!

Congrats on your profitable steel transaction - way to go! :)

gs said...

many thanks lr for your good wishes and comments.our festivals always fascinate me.the more you read the more you realise how little you know.and by the way what is the half and what is the full?

Anonymous said...


By birth I'm Punjabi, but by osmosis I'm Gujarathi! :)

dfh said...