That Diwali is a universal festival, is a given. It has to be admitted, that each one of us approaches Diwali in different ways. For some it is a much needed break from work and for others, a party time replete with showcasing their new acquisitions, shopping and finding out who gifted whom what. For kids it is a holiday time with most of the parenting rules thrown out the window.
But, there are some interesting facts about Diwali which will astonish you. Some of these you may have been too embarrassed to ask. Brush up on these before it is time to say Happy Diwali!
- Why do we worship only Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali?
Lakshmi Puja is performed on the following day of Amavasya, the new moon night. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi’s destroyer form is active on this day and she will wander the earth in search of the cleanest house to destroy negative energies and offer blessings of fortune and prosperity.
- Why do we gamble during Diwali?
It is believed that, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva on this day. Elated with her win, she announced that whoever gambled on Diwali night would mint wealth throughout the year. Then onwards, this game that has been bestowed with a boon and became a part of Diwali festivities. Since Goddess Lakshmi is an incarnation of Parvati, she visits earth to bestow pecuniary benefits on anyone found gambling.
- What exactly is Narka Chaturdashi?
Narka Chaturdashi, or Chhoti Diwali marks the death of demon Karkasura. Who slaid him and why? Our very own Lord Krishna, because Narkasura had imprisoned thousands of daughters of saints and Gods in his harem. But why do we celebrate his death? His mother, Bhumi, declared that this day should be a day of festivities not mourning, so there you go!
- Why do we wake up before dawn and burst crackers on Narka Chaturdashi?
The slaying of Narkasura also symbolises driving away wickedness and negative energies out of your home. Waking up at dawn, followed by a fragrant oil massage by the matriarch of the family and then bathing is believed to cleanse your system and your surroundings on the first prahar (first unit of time). This is followed by crushing the fruit karat outside your house, which symbolises Narkasura. There is no historical or scientific explanation for why people burst crackers at dawn. So it’s safe to assume it is only for fun!
- Why do people keep a small broom in the prayer house during Diwali?
It is a popular belief that Goddess Lakshmi likes cleanliness, and she will visit the cleanest house first. This is also the reason why the broom is worshipped on this day.
- Cleaning the house only for Diwali – Why?
Office chi sutti for gharachi safai? While the majority of us are busy pataoing our maids to clean houses in the pre-Diwali days, there are house cleaning services that claim double business! Even painting jobs are generally undertaken during this time. Well, there is a very simple explanation for this. As mentioned earlier, Goddess Lakshmi enters only the cleanest and the brightest homes, thus the whole show. Notice how our lives revolve around the coming and going of Goddess Lakshmi? We are prepared to do anything to please her, even if it is only symbolic.
- Do thieves worship Goddess Kali on Diwali?
The second day of diwali, Choti Diwali, is also known as Kali Choudas for some; a day for thieves to worship Goddess Kali in hopes that the Hindu deity will protect them from the police. Astonished? A number of eastern states in India follow this custom.
- Earning your money and keeping it safe?
Along a similar vein, Hindu families will worship the deity Kuber, God of wealth, on Dhanatrayodashi, popularly known as Dhanteras, which is signified by dry coriander seeds and jaggery (dhane ani gool). Lord Kuber guides individuals who are not good at saving money even though they may have no problems earning it.