Diwali is a widely known Hindu festival celebrated across the globe. The festival of lights originated when Lord Rama returned from his exile of 14 years to his birthplace Ayodhya on a dark moon night. The people of Ayodhya lit up the entire city with earthen lamps (diyas) to celebrate light and the victory of good over evil and the Amavasya of the Kartik month has been celebrated as Diwali ever since then. But the Poornima (Full Moon night) of the same Kartik month is equally significant too! What is Dev Diwali and what is its mythological importance in Hindu culture? Here’s all about that!
The history of Dev Diwali
The tales of Dev Diwali connect with Lord Shiva and his victory over a demon named Tripurasur. Therefore the day is also known as Tripurotsav. It is very much believed that the gods from heaven descend to the Earth to celebrate this victory and the conquest of truth and goodness. In order to welcome the Gods, the Ganga ghats and houses of the people are highly decorated with thousands of diyas.
This day is also regarded to be the birth anniversary of the younger son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, the younger brother of Lord Ganesha – Lord Kartikeya.
How is Dev Diwali celebrated by Indians?
Varanasi, a city in the Indian state Uttar Pradesh, is the prime location where Dev Diwali is celebrated with great pomp and show and lights and devotion. 15 days right after Diwali, the full moon night in Varanasi is brighter than ever before. The city is illuminated with diyas and lamps and the sky is enlightened with fireworks and hot air balloons.
The very famous Ganga ghats make Varanasi an important pilgrimage and the ghats can no way be missed out on during Dev Diwali. The stairs are decorated with lines of earthen lamps and diyas are floated in the holy river Ganga as a sign to impress the Lords and make offerings and prayers to them. From Ravi Ghat to Raj Ghat, it’s nothing but brightness and yellow flutters.
The grand Ganga Aarti is joined by millions of devotees from all around India. 24 priests conduct the pooja and initiate the ritual of Deep Daan in the still and sacred waters of the Ganga.
The day starts with the holy Kartik Snan by taking a dip in the waters of Ganga. It is said to have the power to wash away the sins and malpractices of an individual.
Lighting diyas after seeing the full moon is a prominent ritual and prior to that people decorate their houses with attractive rangolis and electric lights and lamps.
Evening festivities on the day of Dev Diwali make the city come more alive than it ever had been. Beautiful chariots and processions are held through every corner of Varanasi. The statues and murtis of deities and their beloved gods and goddesses are carried in these fascinating chariots. The boat rides are full of lightness and brightness. Boats are amazingly decorated with diyas and lamps and the shining waters of the river make the ride a lifelong favourite memory!
Kids enjoy the flavours and firecrackers. Elders who wait for an entire year to reunite with their families, enjoy the day to the fullest too. Dev Diwali has something in hand for everyone. The cultural history, the scent of Indian mithai and sweets, the illumination of the sky and the city; there’s absolutely no reason for Dev Diwali to be missed!
Apart from Varanasi, several other Indian states and regions celebrate the day with great glory. Maharashtra, West Bengal and Rajasthan are a few to name.
What should you do during Dev Diwali at home?
Dev Diwali is more about rituals and they can be easily performed in your respective houses.
Starting the day with a fresh and early bath in Brahma Muhurta and getting ready in festive clothes is the first thing you should do. Prayers and offerings to Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Goddess Lakshmi should be made. Bhoj and prasad should be prepared and then shared with family and friends.
Needless to say, one should decorate their houses in a beautiful way with diyas and lights and eye-catching rangolis to welcome the gods and goddesses in one’s house. Many devotees organise an Akhanda Ramayana Paath on this occasion. The nightlong event is full of religious songs known as Bhajans and prayers to the lords for good health, wealth and prosperity.
Diwali is a festival of love and light. The festivities charge strength and liveliness amongst the devotees. The dev Diwali ritual, especially in Varanasi is one such example. The scenic view of the city is attractive enough for any visitor to make up his mind and be a part of the festivities every year! India is home to traditions and customs and Diwali makes Indian history and mythological beliefs even more magical!