Understanding Diwali

  • Diwali or Deepawali or Deepavali literally means 'an array of lamps.’
  • It signifies the victory of good over evil. On a symbolic level, the removal of spiritual darkness and the ushering in of knowledge capable of removing suffering.

  • Diwali is celebrated according to the Hindu calendar so there is no exact date. It falls approximately mid-October to mid-November.

  • Like most of the Hindu festivals it occurs at the end of a harvest season.

Legends:

  • There are several stories associated with Diwali. The most important one is the commemoration of the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
  • Another story is associated with Goddess Lakshmi (goddess of wealth). It is believed that the goddess emerged from the ocean on this day during the samudra manthan (churning of ocean) by demons and gods. So for the business people, the new business year begins on diwali.

  • In South India, it is the day on which Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura.

  • Dhanteras is celebrated two days before diwali in Bihar and other parts of North India. It is celebrated in honor of Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods. He is believed to have emerged from the ocean on this day during samudra manthan.

  • In Orissa, the lights are lit to show the path to the spirits of ancestors returning to heaven.

  • In Bengal, Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja. It is believed that Goddess kali killed the demon Raktavija on this day.

Apart from this there are several other legends associated with Diwali.

Diwali for common man

Diwali for the common man is a time for family reunions, lighted diyas, vibrant apparels, new jewelry, crackers, colorful rangoli, and mouth-watering sweets.