In almost all parts of north India, Diwali is celebrated over a five-day stretch. They are:
Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras:
This is the 13th day of the first half of the lunar month or the month of Kartik and it is the first day of Diwali celebrations. It is referred to as Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi. The word “Dhan” denotes wealth and hence this day has special significance for the wealthy business community of India, especially Northern and Western India. Residential as well as business premises are refurbished and adorned. It is most auspicious for shopping of jewelry, because it implies prosperity for the coming year.
Naraka Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali:
This is the 14th day of Chuturdasi and the second day of the Diwali festival. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear. Narak means "beginning of a new era of Light and Knowledge". Chaturdasi implies fourteenth day. Hence the day ushers in a new era of light and knowledge. This is also known as "Choti Diwali".
This is the third day of the five-day festival. The moon cannot be seen and there is total darkness in the sky. This is the main diwali and is the most significant day for Lakshmi Puja and is completely dedicated to the worship of Goddess Lakshmi.
Varsha-pratipada or Padwa:
The day after Diwali, that is the fourth day, is the New Year’s Day and known as Kartikadi Vikram, Padwa or Varshapratipada. It is said that on this day the commemoration of King Vikramaditya’s coronation was observed and Vikaram-Samvat was initiated from this Padwa day.
The fifth day of Diwali is called “Bhayya-Duj”. It is also known as Bhaubeej or Bhayitika. Brothers meet their sisters and give them, gifts and sweets in their honor. It is a ceremony in which sisters pray for the well-being of their brothers.