Deepawali or Diwali Festival is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It’s the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that’s marked by five days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. The first day of Diwali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanwantari Triodasi also called Dhan Theras. The second day of Diwali is called Narak Chaturdasi. It is the fourteenth lunar day (thithi) of the dark fortnight of the month of Kartik and the eve of Diwali. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear. The third day of Diwali is the actual Diwali. This is the day when worship for Mother Lakshmi is performed. On the fourth day of Diwali, Goverdhan Pooja is performed. The fifth day of the Diwali is called Bhratri Dooj. It is a day dedicated to sisters.
“Jan-Man ne hai deep jalaye laakhon aur hazaron hi ,
Dharti par aakash utara shobha liye sitaron ki ”
Diwali has been celebrated for ages in India. But do you have any idea how and when did it first originate? The history of Diwali celebrations is nearly as old as the history of India. Here we bring you different reasons which is popularly believed by different sections of Indian people as the cause behind the origin of the Diwali tradition. Some of these have their roots in the different kinds of legends and mythical tales that can be found in the ancient Hindu scriptures called Puranas.
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Diwali Festival – Hindu Mythology
The Story of Rama and Sita: Lord Rama was a great warrior King who was exiled by his father Dashratha, the King of Ayodhya, along with his wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshman, on his wife’s insistence. Lord Rama returned to his Kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, in which he put an end to the demon Ravana of Lanka, who was a great Pundit, highly learned but still evil dominated his mind. After this victory of Good over Evil, Rama returned to Ayodhya. In Ayodhya, the people welcomed them by lighting rows of clay lamps. So, since then Diwali Festival is an occasion in honor of Rama’s victory over Ravana; of Truth’s victory over Evil.
Krishna and The Govardhan: In the village of Gokula, many years ago, the people prayed to the God Indra. They believed that Indra sent the rains, which made their crops, grow. But Krishna came along and persuaded the people to worship the mountain Govardhan because the mountain and the land around it were fertile. This did not please Indra. He sent thunder and torrential rain down on the village. The people cried to Krishna to help. Krishna saved the villagers by lifting the top of the mountain with his finger. The offering of food to God on this day of the Diwali festival is a reminder to Hindus of the importance of food and it is a time for being thankful to God for the bounty of nature.
For Jains, the Diwali festival commemorates the enlightenment of Vardhamana Mahavira(the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankaras of the Jains and the founder of modern Jainism) which is said to have occurred on Oct. 15, 527 B.C. This is one more reason to engage in Diwali celebrations for pious Jains and other than the purpose of commemoration, the festival stands for the celebration of the emancipation of the human spirit from earthly desires.
For Sikhs, the Diwali festival holds a special significance for it was on a Diwali day in 1619 that their sixth religious leader, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir in the Gwalior fort, was freed from imprisonment along with 52 Hindu Kings (political prisoners) whom he had arranged to be released as well. And it was also on the same auspicious occasion of Diwali when the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid in 1577.