Diwali or Deepavali is the autumn festival of lights celebrated by Hindus across India and worldwide. It is easily the biggest and brightest Hindu festival and also the most widely observed, with festivities spanning five days and nights. The symbolic significance of Deepavali festival is the triumph of light over darkness, the forces of good over evil and Jnana (knowledge) over ignorance.
Diwali starts with Dhanteras and culminates in Bhaiya Dooj. The precise day is determined according to the Hindu calendar; the main night of Diwali festival falls on Amavasya, the new moon night of Kartika month.
In 2016, Diwali festival starts from October 27 and ends on November 1. Dhanteras will be celebrated on October 28 and Narak Chaturdasi will be observed on October 29. The main day of Diwali will fall on October 30. This day is earmarked for Lakshmi Puja, Diwali Snan, Diwali Puja or Deepawali Devpuja, Kedar Gauri Vrat, Chopda Puja and Sharda Puja. Festivities in 2016 will conclude with Bhaiya Dooj on November 1.
On the day of Diwali, people should get up early in the morning and pay tribute to their ancestors and worship family gods. Being Amavasya day, people also perform Shradh for their ancestors. Traditionally, most Puja are performed after keeping a day long fast. Hence, the devotees of Goddess Lakshmi observe a day long fast on the day of Lakshmi Puja. The fast is broken after Lakshmi Puja in the evening.
Most Hindu families decorate their homes and offices with marigold flowers and Ashoka, mango and banana leaves on the day of Lakshmi Puja. It is considered auspicious to keep Mangalik Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut at both side of the main entrance of the home.
For Lakshmi Puja preparations, one should keep a red cloth at the right hand side on a raised platform and install idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on it after adorning them with silk clothes and jewellery. After this, one should keep a while cloth at the left hand side on a raised platform for installing Navgraha gods. One should prepare nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for installing Navgraha on the white cloth and prepare sixteen slots of wheat or wheat flour on the red cloth. One should perform Lakshmi Puja with full rituals as described on Lakshmi Puja Vidhi.
On Diwali, Lakshmi Puja should be done during Pradosh Kaal which starts after sunset and approximately lasts for 2 hours and 24 minutes. Some sources propose Mahanishita Kaal also to perform Lakshmi Puja. In our opinion Mahanishita Kaal is best suited for Tantrik community and practicing Pandits who know the best about Lakshmi Puja during this special time. For common people we propose Pradosh Kaal Muhurat.
We don't advise to choose Choghadiya Muhurat to perform Lakshmi Puja as those Muhurtas are good only for travelling. The best time for Lakshmi Puja is during Pradosh Kaal when Sthir Lagna prevails. Sthir means fixed i.e. not moveable. If Lakshmi Puja is done during Sthir Lagna, Lakshmiji will stay in your home; hence this time is the best for Lakshmi Pujan. Vrishabha Lagna is considered as Sthir and mostly overlaps with Pradosh Kaal during Diwali festivity.
We provide exact window for Lakshmi Puja. Our Muhurat times contain Pradosh Kaal and Sthir Lagna while Amavasya is prevailing. We provide Muhurat based on location, hence you should select your city first before noting down Shubh Lakshmi Puja timings.
Many communities especially Gujarati businessmen do Chopda Pujan during Diwali Puja. During Chopda Puja new account books are inaugurated in presence of Goddess Lakshmi to seek Her blessing for the next financial year. Diwali Puja is also known as Deepavali Puja and Lakshmi Ganesh Pujan.