Diwali- Indian Festival of Lights: Origin and Significance

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Deepawali or Diwali is the brightest of all Indian festivals. Diwali falls on the day of ‘Amavasya’, the dark day, and people try to overcome the reign of darkness by lighting earthen diyas (oil lamps), on the night of Diwali. This year Diwali will be celebrated on October 30, 2016.

Light is considered as a symbol of positive energy, and the lighting of diyas on Diwali night indicates the victory of good over evil. The festival is a five day festival, full of pleasure and goodness.

Origin of Diwali
There are various folklores pointing to the origin of Diwali. Most of the Indians believe that Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama, with wife Sita and brother Lakshmana from the fourteen-year long exile, after conquering the demon-king Ravana. This victory was celebrated by the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, by illuminating diyas and bursting crackers.

Some believe it is the celebration of marriage of Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Jainism celebrates Deepawali as an event when Lord Mahavira attained the eternal bliss of enlightenment. In Sikhism the day marks the day on which the Sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, was freed from imprisonment. In Bengal, Kali, the dark Goddess of strength and power, is worshipped on the day of Diwali.

People worship Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles that hamper growth, on this auspicious day, because no celebration is complete without worshipping him. On the day of Diwali, people worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha together. The reason of worshipping these two deities together is to welcome both wealth and intelligence.

The Five Days of Celebration
Each day of Deepawali has its own legend, tale, and myth linked.

  1. The first day of Deepawali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi (Dhanteras), which is also the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksh, the dark fortnight of Kartik month. It is believed that on the day of dhanteras, Dhanvantari, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, brought Ayurveda from ocean to mankind.

  2. The second day of Diwali called Naraka Chaturdasi symbols the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.

  3. The third day of the festival, Amavasya, marks the worship of the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi. It is also believed that Lord Vishnu took the Vamana avatar to vanquish the demon king Bali.

  4. The fourth day of Deepawali is called Kartika Shudda Padyami, on which day it is believed that Bali, who was banished to hell by Lord Vishnu, steps out of his banished zone and rules the Earth.

  5. The fifth day of the festival is known as Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj. It is believed that on this day, the Lord of death Yamaraj visits his sister Yami, who puts the auspicious Tilak on his forehead, praying for his well-being.

Diwali is the biggest festival for Hindus. It is believed that darkness represents evil, and light is a symbol of goodness and positive energy. Therefore, people across India illuminate earthen diyas, which represents the destruction, of all negative forces.

The beauty of this world is revealed in the best way through light. Most people in India recognize the light as the best gift from God. Light has always been a symbol of positive energy. So, celebrate the big day of victory of good over evil, light your homes with earthen lamps, share gifts with your family and friends, and be safe.
Happy Diwali!

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