Today, November 13th 2012, marks the beginning of the 5 days of Diwali. The first day of the Diwali is known as Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi, which falls on the 13th day of the month Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar. The name comes from the root word Dhan or Wealth. Dhanteras is known as an opportune day for Hindus as they celebrate by buying precious metals such as gold or silver for good luck in the coming year. It is not surprising then that today is the day Hindus worship the revered Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth. For many Hindu businesses today marks the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Many worship this day through Lakshmi Puja, which is a Hindu tradition of placing lighted clay pots outside their homes in hopes that she may pay their home a visit and bless them with prosperity in the coming year. These lamps are left burning on doorsteps throughout the night in order to light her path. It is believed that Lakshmi only visits homes that are clean and to those who are hard-working and deserving of acquiring and preserving wealth. She does not visit the lazy or those that keep their homes uncleanly.
Worship with Hindus across the globe in worshipping Lakshmi by placing a small lamp upon your doorstep with offerings of saffron paste, flowers, sweets, fruits, and/or rice. Today is a day for peaceful worship and offering upon the beautiful Goddess Lakshmi.
It is also believed that today, an incarnation of Vishnu known as Dhanvantari, was born. Vishnu as Dhanvantari is known as the physician of the Gods. So in addition to Lakshmi, pay special devotion to Vishnu as Dhanvantari by paying homage to his birth.
Lakshmi is no doubt worshiped throughout the year as the important Hindu Goddess of Wealth, but she is most astutely worship during the Hindu festival of Diwali, festival of lights. Diwali is a very important 5-day holiday on the Hindu calendar in which families celebrate traditional activities together in their homes. Participants in Diwali light small clay oil lamps which represents the conquering of good over evil. The lamps are left lit throughout the night as followers cleanse their homes in order to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Throughout history people have put oil lamps outside their homes on Diwali in hopes that Lakshmi would come visit their homes and bless them. Lakshmi Puja is the most important day of the Diwali festival of lights in northern India. Fireworks are set off in order to send away evil spirits. Sweets and snacks are shared among family and friends and an overall grand celebration ensues.
It is no question that the Diwali festival is a celebration of great joy for Hindus, honoring Lakshmi’s abundance in their lives. Lakshmi is an endless symbol of wealth in all its forms. Wealth comes in many ways, not just the monetary wealth we think of. She is a symbol of wealth of knowledge, wealth of courage, wealth of victory, and every other way in which wealth manifests. Thus she is celebrated for her endless abundance. Lakshmi is a symbol of luck to most Hindus and is celebrated daily in most homes. She is a symbol of femininity for Hindu women with her gorgeous golden complexion sitting upon a blooming lotus bud. The budding lotus represents fertility and purity. She is believed to lead devotees into both material and spiritual prosperity.
As October is coming to a close, many Hindus are prepping for Diwali to start on the 13th of November, celebrated through the 17th of November. Prep your oil lamps and prepare to celebrate with Hindus across the globe and celebrate the diving beauty Lakshmi, Hindu Goddess of Wealth.
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