While Goddess Lakshmi is considered to be the most important deity during the Diwali festival, actually people worship a trinity of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. Lord Ganesha is worshipped to gain wisdom, Goddess Lakshmi to become rich and Goddess Saraswati to become learned. You are thereby removing folly, poverty and ignorance.
2012 Five Days of Diwali
Two aspects of Diwali coincide on the same day & hence this year the important pujas of the Diwali festival actually encompass 4 days.
Day 1: November 11th: Dhanteras marks the very first day of Diwali with firecrackers being set off in the early hours of morning and the doors of homes & offices gaily decorated with fresh flowers & leaves buntings (torans).
Day 2: November 12th: This year, there is no unique aspect of Diwali on this date.
Day 3: November 13th: Both Narak Chaturdashi and Lakshmi Puja are on this date. While Narak Chaturdashi is a celebration of the defeat of the demon Narakasur by Lord Krishna, Lakshmi Puja is the worship of the Goddess of wealth.
2012 Lakshmi Puja time: 5.59p.m. to 8.33p.m.
Learn: How to do a simple Lakshmi puja at home
Know: Mahalakshmi aarti for Lakshmi puja
Early in the morning, one can do the abhyang snan (at 5.52a.m.).
Find out more: Diwali Abhyanga Snaan materials & procedure
Businessmen perform chopdi puja too to invoke blessings of Goddess Lakshmi: Chopdi puja rituals and traditions
Day 4: November 14th: Diwali Paadva is the New Year and Govardhan Puja is performed on this day.
Learn more: Diwali Paadva Govardhan Puja traditions
Day 5: November 15th: Bhau Bheej is the day when sisters pray for the safety of their brothers and receive gifts from their brothers.
Learn more: Bhau-Bheej Tikka ceremony procedure
Wishing all of you a Happy & Prosperous Diwali!