Deepavali–The Festival of Lights.

Deepavali symbolizes the glory of light, the lifting of spiritual darkness.All the glory of Diyas(lights from sun, moon, stars or oil lit earthen lamps) of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the Self. Merge yourself in this light and enjoy the Happy Deepaavali!
”Deepavali is the festival of lights. This day the primary element Fire is at its peak with millions of oil lamps lit to celebrate the
triumph of good(Lord Krishna) over evil(Demon Narakasura). Deepavali is also welcomed as harvest festival, marking the last harvest of the year before winter. Businessmen close accounts and begin new accounts thanking Goddess Lakshmi.In some parts of India , this day is the return of Lord Rama from his 14 year exile, when he is welcomed with lamps(Deepa) that are lit row after row(avali). Jains celebrate this festival as Lord Mahavira’s nirvana(salvation) on 527BC; while Sikhs celebrate it as the release of their sixth preceptor Guru Hargobind Singh from the prison by Jahangir in 1619.”–(Niranjan Babu)
Sikhs refer to Diwali as ”Bandhi(prisoners) Chodh(released) Diwas(day).” Hindus calculate the date of Deepavali as 15 days from the full moon of Kartik. Thus Deepavali falls on the amavasya or the no moon day in the month of Ashwija. Incidentally, this is 20 days after Dussehra(Vijaya Dashami). Mahavira shaka(era) begins from the day of Diwali.
”Children and the young heart play with firecrackers, activating in the process fire power all over!Deepavali is a festival that brings together different generations of the family to tell the world that fire power need not always create aggression but also conduce to assertive harmony. Chandi(Goddess Durga)Homa performed on this day can contribute to enhanced finances, better health, success in worldly matters and wipe out inimical forces.”–Niranjan Babu.
Deepavali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil.Naraka chaturdashi is the first day of Deepavali and is observed on the 14th day of the dark half of Ashwija month.(2012) Narakasura was the son of Bhoodevi(Goddess Earth) and Varaha Devaru(one of 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu). He ruled the kingdom of Pragjyotishapura(now in Assam). He tortured people and people suffered a lot of hardship. The day on which he was killed by Lord Krishna is called as Naraka Chaturdashi.Abhyanga(massage the entire body with scented oil) snana(bath) is one of the rituals of Deepavali festival.It is observed before sun rise.Abhyang snan helps to boost blood circulation and removes dead cell from the surface of the skin;it makes the skin smooth and soft to touch; it cleans the body thoroughly and finally aromas used while performing this ritual calms the mind.
Bali Padyami falls on the first day of Shukla Paksha (bright half) in Karthik(comes after Ashwija) month(2012).Maha Bali,the king of Pathala Loka(nether world) was the great grandson of King Prahlada.He was given a boon by Lord Vishnu to visit the earth once a year. He is worshipped on this day of Balindra Pooja or Bali Padyami.Yama dwitiya is observed on second day of Shukla Paksha(bright half) in Karthik month. Lord Yama Dharmaraja , the god of death, visits his sister Yamuna on this day.This day is also called as Bhai-Dooj and is the symbol of love between brothers and sisters.
Diwali is considered a national festival in India and Nepal.


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