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DEEPAVALI OR DIWALI
Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Amavasya - the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November) every year. Deepavali or Diwali is the Festival of Lights and is celebrated with fervour and gaiety by all the people throughout the country. This festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all the regions of India and is looked upon mainly as the beginning of a New Year.
The first day of the festival is called Naraka Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali and falls on the fourteenth day of the month of Kartik. It marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. The second day is known as Lakshmi puja or Chopada Puja. It falls on the dark night of Amavasya. It is believed that on this day Goddess Lakshmi would be in her benevolent mood and would fulfill all the wishes of her devotees. On this auspicious day Lord Krishna preached Karmayoga through his Bhagwad Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Mahavira also attained 'Nirvana' on this day. The third day is referred to as Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali Padyami, Padwa or Varshapratipada. It marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and the Vikaram Samvat was started from this Padwa day. Govardhan Puja is also performed in the North on this day in which people build cow-dung hillocks and decorate them with flowers before worshipping them. This day is also observed as Annakoot, meaning mountain of food. The fourth day is known by the name of Bhayya-Duj in the Hindi-speaking belt, Bhav-Bij in the Marathi-speaking communities and in Nepal by the name of Bhai-Tika. It is also referred to as "Yama Dvitiya" and on this day the sisters invite their brothers to their homes. In the northern part of India the fourth day is celebrated as the return of Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana from his 14 years of exile after killing Ravana.