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Deepavali is 5 days long — here’s what happens each day


Five whole days filled with history, food, and colours – are you ready for it?

Deepavali or Diwali is a scintillating, five-day-long festival with dozens of variations, stretching across religions and cultures. The festival combines lovely earthen lamps, colourful rangolis, and the epic legends behind this festival of lights. There’s also the long poojas, the nights of dancing and the days of eating spicy delicacies and sweet desserts.

Close up fair Indian woman in traditional dress hands holding diya oil lamp and celebrating Diwali or deepavali, fesitval of lights.
You mean to tell me that Deepavali is just a one-day thing? Nah uh, it’s five days long! © 123rf

Here’s a fun fact – did you know the ‘light’ during this festival of lights is a metaphor for knowledge over ignorance? Hence, let’s celebrate this year’s Deepavali with some extra knowledge by going through what happens each day during this exciting celebration.

Day 1: Dhan Teras or the Day of Fortune

The first day is called Dhan Teras (Dhanvantari Triodas) and it happens two days before the Deepavali day that we’re familiar with. On this day, it is said that Lord Dhanwantari emerged from the ocean and brought with him Ayurveda, the science of medicine, for all of humankind. This day is also dedicated to celebrating prosperity and exchanging feelings of greed with generosity instead. The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, is welcomed with a special pooja (prayer) and people usually buy plenty of new clothes and jewellery for this day.

Indian goddess Lakshmi and royal ornament, can be used as a card for celebration Diwali festival
The Goddess Lakshmi is said to have risen from the ocean on this Day of Fortune. © 123rf

Day 2: Narak Chaturdasi or Little Deepavali

In some parts of India, the second day of Deepavali is known as Choti Diwali or “Little” Deepavali because it’s the day before Deepavali. On this day, it’s believed that Lord Krishna destroyed the Demon Narakasur, rescuing 16,000 captive princesses. But wait, here’s the best part: it is believed that one should get oil massages on this day, bathe, relax, and rest up. The point is to get yourself in the mood to party all day long the next day.

Day 3: Deepavali or the Day of Lights

Finally, it’s Deepavali – the day good triumphed over evil and light won over darkness. Bring out your sparklers, lamps, and lanterns. The day is going to be filled with fireworks, food, and your most fashionable outfit of choice, whether it’s the lengha or sherwani. It’s also going to be a full day of activity from visiting temples to open houses. Now, wasn’t it a good thing you got your rest the previous day?

Day 4: Annakut or the New Year

On this day, food will be piled up at Hindu temples. This mountain of food is a symbol of the hill Lord Krishna lifted and moved to shelter villagers from a flood caused by the god of rain and thunder. This is just one of the many stories of why Annakut is celebrated. Another one is the story of Lord Vishnu defeating the Demon King Bali. This is also the day most people worship their instruments, arms, and machinery.

Woman hands with henna holding plate with rice and spices isolated on white background with clipping path
© 123rf

Day 5: Bhai Duj or Sibling Love

Similar to Raksha Bandhan, this day is dedicated to the bond between brothers and sisters. Usually, men will gift women presents on this day. The history behind this is bittersweet – the jewellery gifted to wives, daughters, and sisters will save them from poverty should the men in their lives pass away. In modern times, brothers will take time off to visit their sisters while the latter will prepare traditional sweets to wish their brother a long and happy life. There’s also a tradition where people share Hindu tales of sisters protecting their brothers from harm. 

Sister holding aarti thali in front of brother on Rakshabandhan festival
© 123rf

So here you have it – five days of celebrating Deepavali. There’s plenty of epic good versus evil legends with a sprinkle of food, history, and tradition. Now, whenever you get invited to an open house, you’ll have a story to tell everyone over some murukku. But wait, that’s not all – you’ll also find more stories and tips on what to do when visiting a Deepavali open house here

Traditional clay diya lamps lit with flowers for Diwali festival celebration.
© 123rf

Shubh Deepavali, my friends!

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