Diwali (Deepawali) : Diwali or Deepawali or Dipawali is one the most important, hugely waited and immensely cherished festival celebrated across India and in parts of Nepal. Originally, the name was Deepawali, which has its origin from Sanskrit, meaning “rows of Deep”.
Over the years the name has been pronounced as Diwali, especially in Hindi, whereas it still remains Dipawali in Nepali. Diwali also popularly known as “Festival of Lights” is celebrated with great gusto and is observed as an official holiday across in India.
Importance: The festival of Diwali is not only significant to Hindus, but, has importance in Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. For Hindus, it is associated with the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after his 14 years of exile and victory over the demon Ravana.
On that day, he was welcomed to the kingdom to Ayodhya with rows of Deep, lightened throughout the kingdom.
Thus, there is a tradition of lighting oil lamps that symbolize the victory of good over evil and freedom from spiritual darkness.
Hindus, also make preparations to welcome goddess Lakshmi by drawing rangoli, and footsteps (Paduka) On the entrance that would allure goddess Laksmi to visit one’s home and bring prosperity along with her.
There are numerous customs and traditions associated with Diwali, namely, burning of crackers, playing cards, lightning of lamps, wearing new clothes, distribution of sweets, exchange of gifts etc.
History of Diwali
Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals. Although the main reason for the celebration of Diwali is the return of Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and victory over Ravana, history traces back to other important events of significance associated with Diwali.
Return of Rama to Ayodhya: On this day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after completing his exile of 14 years and defeating the Demon king Ravana in a ferocious battle.
On his return the delighted people of Ayodhya had illuminated the complete kingdom with oil lamps Deep.
Also, while returning to Ayodhya he traveled from South towards North, that is why, Diwali is celebrated one day before in Southern India.
Narakasur’s End: According to the Puranas, Naraka, the son of Bhudevi, had a blessing from Lord Brahma according to which he could face death only at the hands of mother Bhudevi.
Because of this, he started to create immense destruction and harassing of celestial beings. Tired and irritated with the brutalities, people asked Lord Krishna to help them.
Due to the blessing with Naraka, Lord Krishna asked his wife Satyabhama, the reincarnation of Bhudevi, to be his charioteer in the battle with Naraka. When due to a bow hit by Naraka, Krishna got fainted; Satyabhama got angry and hit Naraka with a bow.
This ended the rein of brutalities by Naraka. The incident not only marked the end of Naraka, but also gave a lesson that parents should not hesitate to punish their children when they stray on to the wrong path.