Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia. The festival of Diwali extends over five days. Because of the lights, fireworks and sweets involved, it is favorite with children and grown ups. The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India.
The date of Diwali is set by the Hindu calendar. It varies in the Western calendar. It usually falls either in October or November. Business people regard it as a favorable day to start a new accounting year because of the festival’s association with the goddess of wealth Lakshmi. Diwali is also used to celebrate a successful harvest.
The name of the festival comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali, meaning row of lights.
Diwali is known as the ‘festival of lights’ because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas. These lamps, which are traditionally fueled by mustard oil, are placed in rows in windows, doors and outside buildings to decorate them. The lamps are lit to help the goddess Lakshmi to find her way into people’s homes. They also celebrate one of the Diwali legends, which tells of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama’s kingdom after fourteen years of exile.
Rangoli are drawn on the floors near the entry of the house – rangoli are patterns and the most popular subject is the lotus flower. This because images of Lakshmi traditionally show her either holding a lotus or sitting on one.
There is much feasting and celebration, and the Diwali lamps are regarded as making it easy for Lakshmi to find her way to favoured houses.
The goddess Kali is celebrated at Diwali in the Bengali and Oriya areas of India. Many Indians see Diwali as an occasion to gamble. This comes from a legend in which the Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband on this day and she said that anyone who gambled on Diwali night would do well. Diwali is very much a time for buying and exchanging gifts. Traditionally sweets and dried fruit were common gifts to exchange. Nowadays diwali has become a time for serious shopping, This commercialism side of festival is eroding it’s spiritual side
In most years shopkeepers expect sales to rise substantially in the weeks before the festival. Diwali is also traditionally a time to redecorate homes and buy new clothes.
Some Diwali legends
Two of the legends of Diwali show the triumph of Good over Evil and tell of the destruction of two monsters that preyed on humanity.
The killing of the demon Narakaasura
The demon Narakaasura was the evil king of Pragjyotishpur, near Nepal. He ruled with He terror, abducted 16,000 daughters of the gods and stole the earrings of Aditi, mother of the gods. The gods asked Lord Krishna to help them. After a mighty battle he killed the demon, freed the girls and recovered the earrings.
The killing of the demon Ravana
Ravana, with ten heads, was the wicked king of the island of Sri Lanka, He kidnapped the wife of Ram named Sita. Ram had been in exile for 14 years because his mother kaikeyi wanted her son Bharat his to be the next king in Ayodhya. After a great battle Rama killed the demon and recovered his wife. Rama’s return with his wife Sita to Ayodhya and his subsequent coronation as king is celebrated at Diwali. When Rama and Sita first returned to Ayodhya in the dark moonless night, they couldn’t see where they were going. Then people put little lamps outside their houses so the new king and queen could find their way, believed to be the beginning the tradition of the festival of lights.
May millions of lamps illuminate your life with endless joy, prosperity, health & wealth forever.
Wishing u all a very “HAPPY DIWALI”