A colorful festival that is celebrated by all
Hindus worldwide is Deepavali, which is also known as the festival
Legend has it that Hanuman (the legendary monkey-god
and prime devotee of Lord Rama, the god-hero of the great Hindu
epic, the Ramayana) delivered the much awaited message of Rama’s
return to Ayodhya (Rama’s kingdom) after 14 years in exile.
The entire kingdom rejoiced upon hearing the news and Ayodhya
was washed, cleansed and dressed up with lights and shimmering
earthen lamps to welcome the Lord himself. Diwali is celebrated
even today to commemorate this event.
This festival usually falls around late October
and November. Diwali is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik
(around November) on Amavas, or the new moon right after Dussehra.
Legends of the Festival:
>> Legend of King Hima
and Yamraj : -
The son of King Hima was doomed to die on the
fourth day of his marriage by snakebite. To defeat this prediction,
his wife lit lamps all over the palace and laid the ornaments
in a big heap at the entrance. When Yamraj, the God of death arrived
there in the guise of a serpent, the dazzle of those brilliant
lights made his eyes blind and he could not enter the prince's
chamber. This victory is remembered as dhanteras and people buy
some item of jewellery and keep a lamp lit nearby all night.
>> Legend of Lord Krishna
& Demon Narakasura : -
Bursting crackers for Deepavali is connected
with the killing of the demon Narakasura, the evil king of Pragjyotishpur,
near Nepal, by Lord Krishna. After the killing, Krishna freed
all the women who had been abducted by Narakasura. After his victory
Krishna returned very early in the morning and was bathed with
scented oils. Hence there is the custom of waking up early in
the morning, bursting at least one symbolic cracker and having
oil bath of purification.
>> Legend of Lord Rama,
Laxman & Sita : -
The most popular legend of Diwali is associated
with the Ramayana. After a fierce battle Ram killed the demon
Kind Ravana and recovered his wife. Ram's return with his wife
Sita to Ayodhya and his subsequent coronation as king is celebrated
at Diwali. On this dark Amavasya night, the people of Ayodhya
light up the route with rows of oil lamps to welcome their Prince.
Therefore on this glorious event lamps are lit and the festival
bears the name of Deepavali or "line of lamps".
>> For Bengalis, it is
the time to worship Goddess Kali or Durga. The Goddess Durga continued
her "Vilaya Tandava" even after killing demon Mahishasura.
Celebrations of the festival:
>> First & Second
The First day is called 'Dhanteras' which falls
on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. The word Dhan means
wealth. Believing this day to be auspicious, women purchase some
gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils. The Second
day is called 'Narkachaturdashi' or 'Choti Diwali' which falls
on the fourteenth day of the month of Ashwin. This day therefore
is dedicated to lights and prayers heralding a future full of
joy and laughter.
>> Third Day :-
The Third day of the festival of Diwali is the
most important day which sees colors of firecrackers, lighting
of lamps, delicious sweets, new clothes and family get together
exchanging gifts. On this day special pooja ceremony is observed
to worship Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi. This is the day when
the Sun enters his second course and passes Libra constellation
(Nakshtra) which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence,
this design of Libra is believed to have suggested the balancing
of account books and their closing. Despite the fact that this
day falls on an Amavasya (dark night) it is regarded as the most
>> Fourth & Fifth
The Fourth day is celebrated as 'Padva' or 'Bali
Pratipada' to commemorate King Bali. In North India it is celebrated
as 'Govardhan-Puja' to mark the lifting of Goverdhan Mountain
by Lord Krishna.The Fifth and final day of Diwali Festival is
known by the name of 'Bhaiya-Duj' that is observed as a symbol
of love between sisters and brothers on this particular day Sisters
put the auspicious tilak on their Brother's forehead, and feed
them with special dishes. This festival is known as Bhai Bij in
Gujarati and Bhai Phota in Bengali.