Deepaavali/Diwali is the festival of lights.It is an ancient Hindu festival
celebrated in autuman every year.The festival spiritually signifies the
victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil
and hope over despair.Deepaavali celebrations are spread over 6 days
from Govatsa Dwadashi to Bhaiduj.
1.Govatsa Dwadashi :Go means cow and vatsa means calf.On this day
cow and calf are worshipped.Dwadashi means 12th day.
2.Dhan Trayodashi:Dhana means wealth and trayodashi means 13th day.
This day is regarded as the Jayanthi(birth anniversary ) of Dhanvantari,
the physician of Gods, who came out during Samudra Manthan or churning
of the ocean by the Gods and the demons.
3.Naraka chaturdashi:Chaturdashi means 14th day. This was the day on
which the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna.It signifies the
victory of good over evil.In South India, Hindus wake up before dawn,
have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes.They light small earthen
lamps all around the house and draw elaborate rangolis outside their homes.
4 Lakshmi puja is celebrated on Deepavali Amavasya(new moon day).
Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day of Karthik
month during the churning of the ocean(Samudra mathana). Lakshmi
puja marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations in North India.
Hindus worship the Goddess of wealth and Ganesha, the god of auspicious
beginnings and then light lamps in the homes to welcome prosperity and
5.Bali Pratipada and Govardhan puja. In North India, people believe that
on this day Lord Krishna defeated Indra and by lifting of Govardhan hill,
saved his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods.In South India it is
celebrated as Bali Padyami.The day commemorates the victory of Lord
Vishnu in his dwarf form Vamana, over the demon king Bali, who was
pushed into Patala(underground world). In Maharashtra, the day is
called as Padava(New Day).In Gujarat, it is celebrated as the first day of
the Vikram Samvatsara.(era)
6.Yama dwitiya or Bhaiduj. On this day, brother and sister meet to express
love and affection for each other.It is based on a story that when Yama,
Lord of Death, visited his sister Yami, who welcomed Yama with an Aarati
and they had a feast together.Yama gave a gift to Yami, while leaving, as a
token of his appreciation. So the day is called as Yama Dwitiya.Brothers
visit their sisters’ place on this day.
Some mythical and historical reasons to celebrate Diwali are:
1. The victory of Rama :According to the epic Ramayana, it was the
newmoon day of Karthik(month), when Lord Rama, Ma Sita and
Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and
conquering Lanka,. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire
city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.
2.It was Karthik Amavasya, when the Pandavas appeared from
their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat, in the hands
of Kauravas, at the game of dice(gambling). The subjects who loved
Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.
3.Maharshi Dayananda , one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism
and the founder of Arya Samaj attained his Nirvana on Diwali day.
Arya samajists regard the death as anniversary of Swami Dayananda
4.Coronation of Vikramaditya- one of the greatest Hindu kings
Vikramaditya was coronated on the Diwali day. Hence Diwali
became a historical event as well.
5. Mahavira Tirthankara, considered to be the founder of modern
Jainism, also attained his Nirvana on Diwali day in 527 BC.
6.Diwali is special day for the Sikhs.The foundation stone of the
golden temple at Amritsar was laid in 1577 on on Diwali day.
The third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized Diwali as a
Red-Letter Day, when all Sikhs would gather to receive the guru’s blessings.
Diwali, for Sikhs also marks the Bandi chhor Diwas- when Guru Hargobindji
who was illegally held by the Mughal king Jahangir was released
from the Gwalior fort along with 52 kings.
Fire works on Diwali were used to repel insects that increase in
number during the onset of winter.
Deepavali marks the end of the harvest season.Traditionally, it
marked the closing of accounts for businesses dependent on the