06:01 GMT04 December 2020
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    Hinduism, one of the oldest religions that is still practised today, is steeped in the tradition of venerating several gods and goddesses. Resonating with Greek mythology, Hinduism associates different elements of life like health, earth, water and air, among others, with distinguished deities – all of whom are celebrated in the country.

    Diwali, the festival of lights, serves as a reminder from Hindu mythology that good always wins over evil. It makes for the biggest festival of the year for Hindus around the world. In India, the pomp and show around Diwali are a sight for sore eyes. All the cities lit up in fairy lights and the aroma of traditional sweets and delicacies fills the air that echoes the laughter and togetherness of Indians celebrating the festival.

    On Thursday, Hindus woke up to the first of the five-day series of festivities, starting with “Dhanteras”. In Hindi, the word “dhan” means money and the word “teras” means the “thirteenth” lunar day after the dark fortnight.

    According to the Hindu mythology, the day is dedicated to Lord Dhanvantri – who along with the god of wealth is also known as the deity who blessed Indians with the knowledge of Ayurveda. In that light, India officially observes Dhanteras as “National Ayurveda Day” as well. 

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    About the celebrations

    On this day, the purchase of gold – as a symbolic representation of bringing in wealth into the households – is considered an important ritual and tradition marking the auspicious day. Indians collectively spend millions on shopping for gold ornaments, utensils and sculptures on Dhanteras. Gold coins make for a popular gift choice that Indians purchase as Diwali gifts for family and friends. 

    ​Hindus wrap up the whitewashing and deep cleansing of their houses today and gear up for Diwali, which falls a day after Dhanteras. By now, the houses are lit and decorated with flowers, lamps, lights and rangolis -- which are patterns created on the floor using materials such as coloured rice, coloured sand or flower petals.

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    Decked up in ethnic attires and jewellery, Indians will spend the evening offering prayers and gold to the deities following which they will meet family and friends for food, beverages and money-involving card games across the country.

    Its not just Hindus who participate in the Diwali festivities in India, but people from all religions collectively perform the rituals and enjoy the vibe. 

     

     

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