Doing the Diwali Puja
Doing a Diwali Puja is one of the most sacred parts of the festival, as it pays homage to various Hindu gods and goddesses. Some Hindus fast until the puja is done. The method of doing a puja, or act of worship, varies by Hindu customs. But generally it requires the lighting of diyas and a performing a set of rites. Before doing the puja, one must take a bath before arranging the ceremonial items. Often Hindus draw a rangoli on their doorstep to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi. On a new piece of cloth, mounds of uncooked rice are placed. A clay pot (or lota) sitting on a red cloth is filled water and adorned. Coins are placed on another plate. Worshippers take some water with the left hand and sprinkle it on themselves. In the right palm is placed some of the rice and a flower. The worshipper may recite the Gayatri Mantra. Hindus visualize various lords and gods, including Ganesh, Shiva, and Lakshmi. They sprinkle the water (in the directions of north, south, east, and west) and offer sweets and fruit to those present. Other sacred rites are performed, including the lighting of the diyas. And though the rituals can be complicated, Hindu priests say the most important thing is to have strong faith and love, which will absolve any mistakes made.