Diwali is famously known as the festival of lights; it is the most sought-after festival of the Hindus; it is celebrated with pomp and grandeur throughout the country. Diwali, also called Deepavali, is made of two words "Deep" and "Avali", meaning lights and rows; together it means rows of lights.
When Is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is celebrated in the month of Ashwin and continues into the month of Kartik according to the lunar calendar. It is usually a 4-day-long festival, each day holding a certain significance. The main deity is Goddess Lakshmi, whose poojas are an important part of the festival. She is the goddess of wealth and is said to bestow her devotees with abundance of wealth throughout the year.
The whole country unites as one to celebrate this much-awaited festival of the year. This festival is said to mark the end of the harvest season and is the most important festival before the start of winter season. The main essence of the festival is the victory of good over evil.
Why Is Diwali Celebrated?
There are a lot of stories behind the celebration of Diwali. The most famous reason is that Diwali marks Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya after defeating the evil Ravana. The king of Lanka had abducted Lord Ram's beloved wife, Sita when Ram, Sita and Laxman were in exile for 14 long years.
Ram waged a war against him in order to rescue Sita. The war went on for 10 days at the end of which Lord Ram defeated the evil king. Their return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and defeating the evil Ravana is celebrated as Diwali. Thus, the festival reinstates the victory of good over evil.
Another legend says that Diwali is celebrated to mark the auspicious marriage of Goddess Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.
Goddess Kali, the goddess of strength, is worshipped in most parts of Bengal on this day. The god of auspiciousness, Lord Ganesha, is also worshipped.
Diwali, The Festival Of Lights
Decorative lights and diya form the main part of the festivities. Lamps and lanterns are lit everywhere. You also get to see a lot of colours everywhere in the form of colourful rangolis and flower decorations. Every corner of the places, be it home or shops, are washed, lit and heavily decorated. Torans and pandals are also seen everywhere.
The sky is lit with fireworks and the constant sounds of fire crackers keep reminding us about the festivities. There are many reasons for all these customs and traditions. It is said that the lights attract the goddess Lakshmi into our homes. It also indicates that the light defeats the darkest of darkness and always emerges victorious.
The noise of the firecrackers sends a message to the heavenly gods about the joy and plentiful state of the humans. It also indicates the victory of good over evil. The display of fresh flowers and colourful rangolis is done to impress the gods and invite them to our homes. The people of Ayodhya decorated the whole city with diyas to mark the return of Lord Ram and this tradition is joyfully carried forward.
Another tradition that is widely associated with Diwali is gambling. It is said that whoever gambles with money on the day of Diwali, will be blessed with abundance of wealth throughout the year. This is because Goddess Lakshmi is said to have played cards with her husband, Lord Vishnu.