Vaishali A. Patel
Five days of Diwali - Meaning & What to Do
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
First day of Diwali is known as Dhan Teras:
Literal meaning of this is “Wealth - Thirteenth day of the new moon”. This is the day of worshipping the goddess of wealth- Laxmi. The belief is that all the wealth you have accumulated over the years and the wealth you are about to gather this coming year be pure, cause no harm to anyone and it is used to help others. The rituals and traditions are that you worship and pay homage to the symbols of wealth.
What do you need:
For all 5 days of celebration it is advised that you have a Pooja Thali (plate) ready. This is a simple plate including all of the following items used in a Hindu ritual. There will be some specific things for each day however, this will make life easier. Pooja Thali: Kanku (Red powder), Haldi (Turmeric powder), Rice, Some dried fruits and nuts (almonds, cashews, raisins, Pistachios etc.) as Prasad or offering, Diva (candle), Water, Fresh flowers, Fresh coconut (Naidyer). Fresh yellow or red cloth the altar can be set up on.
What to do:
Of course, there are many different ways people celebrate this but commonly these are the things performed. Many folks clean their front entrance and draw “Saathiya” (Hindu Swastika) with the red kanku powder mixed with some water as this is the door through which all the positive energy is entering in your space for this coming year. Some folks do this daily and some just do it on the first day. People do Rangoli (patterns drawn with colored powders by your front entrance) on this day as well. Lay out the yellow or red cloth on a clean surface, put a statue or picture of Ganesh and Laxmi. Gather new dollar bills or coins and some milk and water.
As you chant the Ganesh Mantra : Om Gum Ganapataye Namah: , offer all the items from the Pooja Thali to Ganesh first then to Laxmi ma. Put the bills in a clean plate and put kanku and haldi on it in small amount.Then in a bowl add the coins and add some water and milk, wash them and dry them with a clean towel. Add other precious wealth related items you want for the year and discard the dirty water in a plant outside.
While you wash the coins, you can recited the Laxmi Mantra : Om mahalaxmaye cha vidhmahe, vishnu patni cha dhimahi, tanno laxmi prachodayat. Close your eyes as you chant and visualize only taking the wealth that is rightfully yours and using it to help those in need. Putting diyas (candles) every day outside your front door for the next five days is the thing to do, so don’t forget that. Some people choose to do this morning and evening but you choose what works for you.
Second day of Diwali is Kaali chaudash:
Literal meaning is “Black fourteenth day of the new moon”. Goddess Kali is the goddess of strength in the Hindu religion. She symbolizes courage, protection and strength. This day is called “Kali”- Black to show us that darkness is also an essential part of our lives so that we appreciate the light when it arises. Many believe that this the day the dead, ghosts and such come out. Many black magic worshipers also think this is the day to perform their rituals.
What do you need:
In some families folks use “Kajal” (homemade eyeliner) to put in their eyes to ward off bad sprits.
You can make a homemade version easily by lighting a ghee diya (cotton wick dipped in ghee) and holding a spoon over it to collect the soot from the flame, once that cools off you can collect it on your fingers if you like and then put it on the bottom of your eyes or just a dot in your hair line.
What to do:
You can chant Durga Chalisa or a simple Durga Mantra: Om Durgaaye namah:. Many folks also put castor oil in their hair to cool their temper and
other dark qualities. Remember like all 5 days of Diwali, putting diya or lamps by your front doors are a wonderful way to invite all the goodness in the world in your home.
Third day of Diwali is, Diwali:
Diwali in Gujarati is called, Diwaadi and this is the new moon day known as “Amaas." Full moon is “Poonam." As this is the festival of lights, this day holds special significance. After the darkness gets removed the day before on kaali chaudash, Diwali is the day of lights. This is the day when Saraswati Ma, the goddess of knowledge and arts, is prayed upon. This pooja is known as “Chopadaa Poojan” - Praying to the books and bookkeeping that we may keep clear knowledge of all of our accounts.
What to do:
Many people do Chopada Poojan differently. Whichever way you choose, remember that the objective is to bless our books for the coming year. Gather blank pieces of paper and red pen. Your pooja thali and the offerings.
Today's chant is “Om Saraswatye namah” or you can look up the Saraswati Mantraand recite
“Yaa kundedutu saar haar dhavalaa...”
Lay out your checkbooks and other accounts related materials in front of your altar and put small amounts of all the holy offerings from the Pooja Thali. Write “OM” with your red pens on it.
Close your eyes and thank the Universe for all the goodness coming your way. This night is the night of lights, so many folks light 11 or 21 candles this day.
Fourth day of Diwali is Bestoo Varash:
The literal meaning of “Bestoo varash” is year starting. Visiting the temple and getting
blessings from your elders and the Gods on this day is something many folks do. In small
communities in India, you get blessings from your immediate family as well, you visit your
friends and extended relatives first thing in the morning, where you are greeted with sweets in their homes and blessings from their hearts.
What you need:
A heart filled with excitement, gratitude and blessings is what you need mainly today!
Many folks, for this day, make lots of Diwali like “Mathiya, ghooghraa, thaabadaa, faafadaa,
choraa fari, etc” and serve these to their guests along with dried fruits and nuts. Older folks
have envelopes filled with whatever amount of money they would like to offer their young ones as a blessing for new year.
Rise early this day. Wear nice, clean and, if possible, new clothes. Sit by the
altar (Mandir), chant or sing prayers, if you like, and receive blessings. If possible,
you can go visit a temple. Receive blessings from your elders by bowing, touching their feet
or hugging them. Have yummy snacks that you would love to share with your friends and family.
Fifth day of Diwali is Bhai Bheej or Bhaiya Dooj:
The literal meaning is “Brother on the second day of the new year”. There are a few
celebrations honoring the sibling bonds in the Hindu religion. This is one such day. The other one is “Rakshaabandhan” or Raakhi day.
What you need:
Traditionally, a married sister hosts her brother or brothers to her house for dinner, and, in turn the brother showers her with gifts and blessings for the coming year. So besides a meal your siblings would enjoy you don’t really need much.
Have your brothers sit down for dinner, and, if you want to, you can put a small kanku (red
powder) dot or chaandlo on his forehead, put some rice and do his Aarti. Brothers normally
bless their sisters with presents or cash, or simply with blessings and a hug.
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