“Diwali k deepak jag-magaye apke aangan me,
Saat rang saaje es saal aap ke aangan mein..
Aaya hain yeh tyohaar kushiyan leke…..
Har kushi saaje es saal aapke aangan mein.
Roshni se ho roshan har lamha aap ka,
Har Roshni saaje es saal aapke aangan mein.
Dua hum karte hain aap salamat rahe,
Har dua saaje es saal aap ke aangan mein….!”
Diwali is a major Indian festival, which comes in autumn. In Gujarat Diwali celebrations take on a number of distinct characteristics. It occurs in the second (dark) lunar fortnight Krishna Paksha of the month of Ashvin( Gujarati “Aaso”) and the first (bright) fortnight (Shukla Paksha ) of Kartika (Guj. “Kartik”). Aaso is the last month of the Gujarati calendar, and Kartik the first.
From Aaso Vad Agyaras (11th day from full/no moon) to Dev Deepawali people light diyas (or decorative lights) to decorate their house. It is believed it protects them from evil spirits.
Diwali in Gujarat is also special because Gujarat observes at least five-day official holiday from the day of Diwali till Labh Pancham ,which may get extended sometimes to seven and start early from the day of Bhai Beej.
Wagh Baras (repeatedly and wrongly referred to as ‘Wagh-baras’), where ‘Wagh’ means ‘vaani’ or Goddess Saraswati in a broader sense, occurs on Aso vad 12, the 12th dark day of Aso. This is also known as Govatsa dwadashi and Guru Dwadashi. On this day, cows and calves are worshiped. People clear their account ledgers (khata) today and not enter into new transactions using new ledgers only after Labh Panchm.
Wagh Baras is repeatedly mispronounced as Wagh Baras. “Vaagh” also means “Tiger” in Gujarati. It is thus celebrated with references to tigers. In some Dhodia villages, some men colour themselves in stripes representing the Vaagh and others as plain white or other colours denoting cattle. The tiger chases the cattle. Finally, at the end of the sport, the village inhabitants eat food together at a common place and celebrate.
Dhanteras occurs on Aso vad 13, the 13th dark day of Aso. Most communities worship the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, by performing puja. Material wealth in the form of gold jewelry and money (or precious metal coins/diamonds) are often used to represent wealth in these worship ceremonies. Gujaratis believe money spent on this day will bring prosperity to their family and home.
Kali means Dark (evil) and Chaudas – Fourteenth. The 14th day of Ashwin, Kali Chaudas is devoted to the worship of Maha-Kali or Shakti and is believed that on this day Kali killed the wicked Raktavija. Also referred to as Narak-Chaturdashi, Kali Chaudas is the day to abolish laziness and evil.
Kali Chaudas is also attached to the legend of Lord Hanuman. Hanumanji as a baby was very hungry. Whilst lying down he saw the sun in the sky and thought it was a fruit and went to pick it. He flew into the sky and put the whole sun in his mouth causing darkness throughout the universe. Lord Indra requested Hanumanji to return the sun. When Hanumanji refused, Lord Indra unleashed his vajra and knocked Hanumanji down to earth releasing the Sun.
Diwali ( deepwali )
Lakshmi Puja , the central day of Diwali, occurs on new moon day (Amas ), Aso vad 15, the last dark day of Aaso. (15th day from full moon day when moon disappears).Celebrated in all parts of India, Diwali is the last day of the Hindu year and people go to temples and thank the Gods. People wish their neighbours & relatives. People burst firecrackers. Houses are decorated with diyas and rangoli.
Bestu Varas Gujarati : બેસતું વર્ષ )is the Gujarati New year, the first bright day of Kartik (Kartak sud Ekam).
It is referred as the Hindu new year according to the Indian calendar based on lunar cycles, and ‘Kartik’ is the first month in this new year while ‘Ekam’ refers to the first day.
- People greet each other on this day by uttering Saal Mubaarak. This is an Urdu saying but is said commonly by Gujarati people (Hindi/Gujarati/ Urdu), ‘Nutanvarsh abhinandan’ is the perfect Gujarati word to wish Bestu Varas.
The day starts with heavy fireworks to welcome New Year. Local young boys sell raw salt (collected from a salt evaporation pond), calling it “sabras”—which means all taste, to make the natives’ new year prosperous. Homes are decorated with the aaso palav & marigolds. Home-made snacks are offered to guests & neighbors.
Bali pujan is also done on this day. It is said that Lord Vaman asked King Bali for 3 strides of land (ref. Devpodhi Ekadashi for details). King Bali pleased the Lord by offering everything. Vamanji gave Bali a boon that this auspicious day will be called as ‘Balipratipadaa’ (Skand Puran 24/10).