History of Diwali Festival

The very ancient festival of Diwali is celebrated for ages in India and annual celebrations are still held each year all over the country with great flourish, enthusiasm and pomp. It is believed that the evil spirits are warded off and destroyed into ashes by the fireworks and good spirits thus can leave happily in peace and prosper in health and wealth. Traditionally believed to be a Hindu festival of wealth and prosperity, it is amazing to see how Diwali has become an occasion for all Indians irrespective of their status and castes.

Diwali Diwali Diyas, Crackers, Candles Diwali can be traced back to various Hindu religious scriptures, essentially the Puranas. Alike many parts of Nepal and whole of India, the myth behind the Diwali celebration is the victory of Lord Rama over the demon Ravana and then the return of Rama to Ayodhya with brother Lakshmana and wife Sita. Since they were returning after 14 long years of exile in forest, legend says, his subjects at Ayodhya greeted Rama by lighting rows of lamps to lighten the darkness of the night. Thus the name Deepavali, deep (lamp) avali (rows).

Looking back to the history of ancient India, Diwali was celebrated as one of the primary harvest festival. But later it started to be celebrated following the Hindu treatise. The main festival is a five day long ritual beginning on Dhanwantari Triyodasi or Dhan Theras, sometimes called Yamadeepdaan. Then the lamps are kept illuminated throughout the night, in reverence of Yama, the Host of Death and Dhanawantari, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu who is the heavenly doctor. Gifts across India.com, enables Global Indians across the world to send gifts to India on Diwali festival. On this day, people decorate their houses and workplaces; make traditional colourful Rangoli motifs on the entrance, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. It is considered auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day.

The second day of celebration period is referred as Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi or Naraka Chaturdasi. On this day the 8th incarnation of Vishnu, Lord Krishna, killed the demon Narakasura with the help from his own wife Satyabhama. Narakasura, buoyed by a boon that he can only be killed by his own mother was running havoc over heaven and earth. So Krishna reincarnated his wife Satyabhama as mother of Narakasura and made her the charioteer of Krishna. Ultimately in a fight between Krishna and the evil Demon was killed by his mother and peace was restored on the earth and Krishna returned early morning. This story carries a significant moral lesson that a mother can also kill her evil son. The Bengalis believe that Goddess Kali destroyed the demon Raktavija this day and completed her battle dance.

The third day is Amavasya, black moon day and the main Diwali. Worshipping of Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, is performed then as the Hindu mythology says, Lakshmi was incarnated on this day. Sweets are made and rangolis created on open spaces of the house to decorate.

Fourth day is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami or Bali Padyami. It is believed that King Bali comes out on this day from Patala Loka below the earth to rule Bhuloka or the Earth by boon given by Lord Vishnu.

The fifth and final day of Diwali is known as Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj or Bhratri Dvitiya. The Bengalis observe the Bhai Phonta. This day celebrates brother-sister relationship.

Jhuma Published: Nov 20, 2010 | Last Updated: Sep 26, 2022
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