The first day of Diwali celebrations i.e. on Thrayodasi ತ್ರಯೋದಶಿ is called as Neeru Thumbuva Habba ನೀರು ತುಂಬುವ ಹಬ್ಬ in Kannada. This day all the vessels which are used to fill or collect water are cleaned in the evening, decorated with mango leaves, flowers, and rangoli. I remember all the water geysers and boilers were washed, filled with fresh water and rangoli drawn on them this day.
The rangoli prepared is by soaking rice in water for a few hours and grinding the same into a smooth paste. My Mom used to take a piece of cloth, dip it into this rice paste and draw Rangoli every where from the front door to the kitchen. All corners of the house used to have rangoli, which used to be as white as milk. Just amazing.
Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated on the second day of diwali celebrations. People wake up early in the morning apply the kumkum (ladies in the household do the arathi), on their foreheads and then take bath.
We used to all sit on a platform, usually called a Mane which is decorated with Rangoli designs, lamps lit on both sides. Everyone is applied Kumkum on the forehead, given betel leaf, nut, and arathi is done by elderly ladies in the house. They will take the oil cup and dip a flower in it and apply it on everyones head. And the man are supposed to give money for the ladies doing the Aarathi. Such a nice tradition, isn’t it?
The story goes that Narakasura the daemon ruler of Pragjyotishpur after defeating Lord Indra had snatched away the magnificent earrings of Aditi, the Mother Goddess and imprisoned 16,000 daughters of the gods and saints in his harem. On the day previous to Naraka-chaturdashi, Lord Krishna killed the demon and liberated the imprisoned daughters and also recovered those precious earrings of Aditi. As a symbol of that victory Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with the demon’s blood and returned home in the very early morning of the Naraka-chaturdashi day. The womenfolk massaged scented oil to his body and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth from his body. Since then the custom of taking bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice.
Another legend is about King Bali. His power and increasing influence posed a threat to the security of all ‘Devatas’ so they prayed Lord Vishnu to help them out. To help Devatas and to curb King Bali’s powers Lord Vishnu went to King Bali in the guise of a short-height ‘Brahmin’, and begged to give him only that much area of land that he could cover with in three steps because King Bali was well known for his philanthropy. King Bali saw just a short-height ‘Brahmin’ asking for a little piece of land so he proudly granted him his wish. That very moment that short-height ‘Brahmin’ disappeared and there was almighty Lord Vishnu in place of him. In his first step Lord Vishnu covered the heaven and in the second step the earth and asked King Bali where to put his third step. Then King Bali offered his head to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu put his third step on his head and pushed him deep into the underground. But at the same time being impressed by his generosity Lord Vishnu gave King Bali the lamp of knowledge and allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps.
The third day of Diwali is the most important day during which we perform Lakshmi Pooje; to the Goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi Pooje falls on the dark night of Amavasya. Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evening to seek blessings of Goddess of Wealth.
I am sure you all will do the Lakshmi Pooje, and get her blessings. The most important song we sing while performing Lakshmi Pooje is Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma song.
The fourth day of Diwali is called “Bali Padyami“. Bali would come out of Pathala Loka and rule Bhuloka as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. Hence, it is known as ‘Bali Padyami’.
P.S: Diwali dates – 2009
This year Diwali is celebrated from October 16th – October 20th. The 3 rd day, October 18th is Lakshmi Pooje day, and it falls on Sunday.
October 16th – Neeru Thumbuva Habba
October 17th – Naraka Chaturdasi
October 18th – Lakshmi Pooja
October 19th – Bali Padyami