India is the only country with 33 crore gods and goddesses. Every god or goddess is associated with some kind of festival, and hence, there are more than 250 festivals to celebrate throughout the year, including Diwali. Every festival has its own importance to various sections of society and has a legacy behind it. It is due to this legacy people have faith in God and the main reason for all the good in the world. India being a religious country, all the festivals are celebrated with great pomp and show, Diwali being the most celebrated festival across the country and even amongst Indians residing in different parts of the world.
Legends behind the Celebration of diwali Festival
Why do we celebrate Diwali?
Diwali festival is celebrated as the welcome of Lord Rama to his kingdom after 14 years of exile. During their exile period, Lord Rama with his wife Goddess Sita and brother Lakshman fought with the Lankan King, Ravana and came back victorious. Hence, people lit candles or diyas to welcome his path to his rightful home. Though this is the main reason why Diwali is celebrated across the country, yet there are other tales as well, that help us keep our devotion active through this 5-day long festival celebrations.
Coronation of King Vikramaditya
Other than the return of Lord Rama, there is another tale that adds to the significance to the celebration of this day. The story goes, on the new moon day of Karthik month as per the Hindu calendar, King Vikramaditya was crowned as a king. It is believed that during his ruling period, everybody in his kingdom was happy and called it as a golden period as well. As per the Hindu mythology, Diwali is also celebrated in the Karthik month of Hindu calendar, and hence, explains the significance of this story as well.
Also Read: Laxmi puja vidhi on diwali
The Incarnation of Goddess Laxmi
Diwali in India is celebrated by worshiping Lord Ganesh and Goddess Laxmi. Goddess Laxmi is known as the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, hence in every home or office of a Hindu family, you are sure to see her idol. It is said that she personified from the whipping of oceans by both gods and demons.
End of Exile for Pandavas in Mahabharata
Not only Ramayana, but even Mahabharata adds to the historical element of this festival. During the Mahabharata period, Diwali was celebrated when the Pandavas: Yudhister, Arjun, Bheem, Nakul, Sehdev and Draupadi returned from 13 years of exile. In order to celebrate their welcome, lights, firecrackers with dance were marked as part of the celebration.
These are some tales that help us maintain our faith in the celebration of this divine festival.
Spiritual Significance of Deepavali
In India, Diwali is celebrated with lighting the house with candles and diyas, exchanging gifts with family and friends, worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi and burning crackers. But Diwali is not just about worshiping the God or exchanging gifts; there is a spiritual element that adds to the celebration of the festival. The reason people light their houses because it is believed that lighting on the day of Diwali would bring the awareness of the inner light. More significant to Hindu psychology, it is confirmed that there is something that is beyond the body and mind, something more powerful, eternal and divine, which is also known as soul.
Whenever a child is born, in India it is celebrated with grandiosity. The way we celebrate our physical being into the world, similarly the awakening of inner light is a celebration of Deepavali. Our Rishi’s and munni’s believed that the birth of inner light is the way to remove all darkness and disperse all ignorance. Though in other parts of the country, the reason to celebrate Diwali would vary from region to region, however, the essence is the same.
Five day celebration of Diwali
Diwali, also known as Deepawali, meaning the festival of lights is celebrated across the country with great enthusiasm and cheerfulness. Since India is a very diverse country, therefore different regions in India celebrates Diwali in their own special way.
Diwali festival is celebrated mainly for four days that starts with Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi and ends at ShuddaVijiya.
First day: Dhanteras
The first day of this festival is known as Dhanteras, which is the thirteenth lunar day of the Krishna Paksh. As per the legends of Diwali, Lord Dhanwantari incarnated out of the ocean with Ayurveda for humankind and also marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. On this day after sunset, Hindus should take a bath and light a diya for Yamaraj and plead for protection from unfortunate death. The diya should be lit near the sacred Tulsi.
Hindus also worship the Lord of wealth and treasure, Lord Kuber. Hence, people flock to jeweller shops to buy gold or silver and people who can’t afford to buy jewellery can buy utensils to honour the occasion of Dhanteras.
Second Day: Choti Diwali
The second day of Diwali is choti diwali, also known as Naraka Chaturdashi. The legends of Diwali on this day believe that Lord Krishna with his wife Satyabhama killed the demon King Naraka and freed the world from fear. Usually, on this day, families start decorating their house with Rangoli and other traditional decorations for Badi Diwali. Also, ladies lit earthen lamps that are burnt throughout the night venerate the God of Death.
Third Day: Lakshmi Puja
This is the main day of Diwali that is worshipped for Goddess Laxmi. After sunset, Hindus together with their families join their hands in front of Goddess Laxmi and pray for prosperity and wealth. The day ends of burning of fire crackers and exchanging sweets amongst families and friends.
Fourth Day: Govardhan Puja
Legends of Diwali declare that many years ago Lord Krishna caused the people of Vraja to perform Govardhan Puja, and since then, this day is celebrated by worshipping Lord Govardhan. On this day, everybody in India stays at home and is a complete holiday.
Fifth day: Bhai Dooj
The fifth and the last day of this festival is dedicated to sisters. Many thousands of years ago, Lord Yama visited his sister the Yamuna and gave her a blessing that whosoever visit her on bhai dooj will be enlightened from all sins. Since then, brothers visit their sisters to confirm their well-being.