One of the biggest occasions to enjoy pomp and show amidst the thundering uproar of bombs, crackers and hymns is popularly known as ‘Diwali’ or ‘Deepavali’. The biggest Hindu festival called Diwali provides ecstasy to every individual associated or even interested in this religious festival. The entire Indian nation resembles ‘a bride’ attired in the bright light of rainbow coloured bulbs, candle, earthen lamps and colourful rangolis adorned at the entrance of almost every door.

Significant association of deities: Goddesses Lakshmi & Saraswati, Lord Ganesha

Symbolism: The festival of light ‘Diwali’ clears the way to enlightenment, i.e. Moksha.

Etymology: Deep (earthen lamps) + Avali(row)= Deepavali (the row of earthen lamp

Festive eve: 13th Lunar day of Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of Hindu calendar in the month of Ashwin and ends on Bhaubeej, i.e. the second lunar eclipse of Shukla Paksha of Hindu month Kartik.

Other significant eve on the same day as per Jain religion: The day on which Bhagwan Mahavir attained ‘Nirvana’ (Moksha) in 527 BC.

Other significant eve on the same day as per Aryan religion: Death anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati falls on the same day.

History:

  • The historical narration in context of Diwali has its root in the great Indian epic called ‘Ramayana’ briefing tales of Treta-Yug. The embodiment of dignity-‘lord Rama’ was sent on exile for 14 years by his step-mother Kaikayi. Being an obedient son and man-of- principles, he gave priority to his admirable parent’s behest and went off to forest where his lovely better-half was kidnapped by wicked Ravana through treachery and crook.

Lord Rama conquered over wile Ravana and returned to Ayodhya, his dynasty. Thus, blissful locales of Ayodhya lit earthen lamps in respect and admiration of their beloved Rama.

  • In Dwapar-yug, Narakasura was slain by either lord Krishna or his wife Satyabhama on the day before Diwali. The foretold demon ‘Narakasura’ caused ruin. Thus, he was thrashed to death by the deity.

Nations celebrating Diwali: The nations namely India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Trinidad, Myanmar, Guyana, Tobago, Fiji, Singapore, Suriname & Mauritius celebrate this festival with eager and great excitement.

Ways of celebration:

  • Religious rites and rituals: The festival marking fraternity, bliss, joy, wealth and prosperity is celebrated with zeal and zest. Children, elders, adults and teenagers- all wait for this religious eve curiously to have a blast on the day. But as such a huge festival of immense happiness requires preparations in advance. Sanitation is given the preference since ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’.
  • Lakshmi & Ganesh Poojan: The excitement reaches its apex on this eve and people try to appease goddess Lakshmi and lord Ganesha (the deity of good-luck) through beseech and worshipping. The temple and puja-ghar are decorated with festoon (toran) and Rangoli.
  • Shree-yantra: The arrival of goddess of wealth, i.e. Lakshmi, is made possible through establishing her small idol or Shree-yantra and thus, doors are kept open throughout night to welcome the entry of the goddess at night.
  • Bonfire: Mostly, people burst crackers for celebrating the occasion.