Diwali celebrations go on for five days and each day has its significance.
Day 1 of Diwali begins with the first day known as ‘Dhanteras’ or the worship of wealth. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on this day and there is a custom to purchase something precious, usually a metal. People decorate their homes and the festive vibe can be felt all around.
Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali :
The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali. The Hindu literature narrates that the asura (demon) Narakasura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama, and Kali. The day is celebrated by early morning religious rituals and festivities follow on. People wake up early and apply aromatic oils on them before taking a bath. This is said to remove all sins and impurities. They wear new clothes, offer Puja and enjoy by lighting diyas and bursting a few crackers. It is also called Roop Chaturdashi.
Lakshmi Puja :
The third day is the main Diwali festival. Lakshmi and Ganesh puja is performed on this day. Doors and windows are left open for Goddess Lakshmi to bless people with good fortune. Tiny oil diyas, candles, and electric lights are placed around the house. Families exchange gifts and gather together to burst crackers.
Govardhan Puja or Padva:
The fourth day is Govardhan Puja or Padva. It is the day when Lord Krishna defeated Indra by lifting the huge Govardhan Mountain to save the people from the heavy rain. It is celebrated almost all over India. People make a small hillock, usually of cow dung, symbolizing Govardhan Parvat and worship it. Temples of Lord Krishna are decorated and after the puja, prasad is distributed among the people.
The fifth and last day is Bhai Dooj. On this day sisters invite their brothers for a lavish meal and perform a ‘tilak’ ceremony. Sisters pray for their brother’s long and happy life while the brothers give gifts to their sisters.
According to the Hindu Mythology, it is considered that the God of death, Yamraj, had visited his lovable sister named Yami (Yamuna) on this special day. His sister welcomed him by aarti and tilak ceremony. She offered him a garland and special dishes including sweets to eat. He had returned her sister a unique gift as a symbol of his love and care towards her sister. At that day Yamraj had declared that the brother who would receive tilak and aarti by their sister, he would never be frightened. That’s why the same day is called the Yama Dwitiya.
According to another story, Hindu Lord Krishna had returned to his sister, Subhadra, after killing the demon king Narakasur where he was welcomed by his sister with tilak, aarti, sweets, and flowers.