Hindu mythology accords Diwali, a well-known festival in India, with a great deal of spiritual reverence. It is widely observed in our nation and is referred to as the festival of lights.
Every year, the festival, whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word Dipawali, which means “row of lights,” shines brightly in honor of the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.
People celebrate Diwali (sometimes spelled Diwali) in different ways throughout the culturally diverse regions of India and throughout the global diaspora, just like so many other cultural and religious holidays.
This festival’s dates are determined by the Hindu lunar calendar, which assigns a month to the length of the moon’s orbit around the Earth. Between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika, which usually fall in October or November on the Gregorian calendar, is when Diwali begins. Diwali will begin on October 24 in 2022, and its most significant festival day will fall on October 25.
Diwali recalls Lord Rama’s return to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after a 14-year exile. Ayodhya residents lit up the city and welcomed Rama, Lakshman, and Sita with fireworks.
This represents the triumph of good over evil, which is why Diwali is also known as the festival of lights. On this day, people worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha, who are thought to bring good luck, prosperity, and wealth.
Dhantrayodashi, Narak Chaturdashi (Choti Diwali), Lakshmi Puja (Diwali), Govardhan Puja, and Bhaiyya Dooj are among the festivals associated with Diwali. However, generally speaking, each of the five Diwali days has a unique significance.
People pray to the goddess Lakshmi on the first day of Diwali, bake sweets, and clean their homes. The following day, they decorate their homes with lamps and rangolis, which are patterns made on the floor out of colored sand, powder, rice, or flower petals.
The third day of Diwali is the most significant; people may visit a temple to honor Lakshmi on this day or gather with friends and family for celebrations and fireworks. The lamps that the devotees had displayed the day before were also set on fire.
The fourth day of Diwali is often considered the New Year and a time for greetings and gift-giving. The fifth day is usually reserved for honoring one’s siblings.
We can therefore conclude that the Diwali festival fundamentally represents the spiritual triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.
- How is Diwali Celebrated?
- What are the Reasons why Diwali is celebrated?
- 1. From an ethical perspective
- 2) From a religious point of view
- A) The Return of Lord Rama and his Coronation
- B) The Return of the five royal brothers, the Pandavas
- C) Narakasura was killed by Satyabhama and Krishna.
- C) Wedding of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Vishnu
- D) Welcome of Goddess Lakshmi
- E) The Deliverance of Bali by Vamana
- F) The Worship of Maa Kali
- G) pray to Kubera
- H) Coronation of the king Vikramaditya
- I) The Nirvana attained by Lord Mahavira
- J) Attainment of enlightenment by the great sage Swami Dayananda Saraswati
- K) The Release of Guru Hargobind Singh – Bandi Chorr Diwas
- L) Birthday of the Lord of Medicines, Ayurveda
- M) End of the harvest festival
- N) Start of a new year
- O) Buddhism
- P) Shri Krishna’s Lifting of the Govardhan Mountain
- 3) From A spiritual point of view
- 4) As a Purification ritual
- 5) One of the reasons might be the lights and firecrackers:
How is Diwali Celebrated?
In the weeks before Diwali, people customarily redecorate their homes, buy new clothes and jewelry, and exchange gifts like sweets, dried fruits, and nuts.
Dinner parties, outdoor food festivals, and craft fairs are all popular during this time of year, and they all contribute to the excitement leading up to the main Diwali celebration.
In the weeks leading up to Diwali, card games are played late into the night, and gambling, particularly in north India, is a part of traditional celebrations. At these gatherings, you can expect drinks and a lot of finger food, which typically consists of platters of kebabs, fried savoury snacks, tandoori grills, and spiced sweetmeats.
What are the Reasons why Diwali is celebrated?
We only think about the historical and mythological perspective when someone asks why Diwali is celebrated. Below are some of the other perspectives (ethical and spiritual) why Diwali is celebrated along with mythological perspectives:
1. From an ethical perspective
A) moral lessons
From an ethical perspective, the celebration of Diwali is justified because of the moral lessons it conveys, such as the triumph of good over evil, the victory of knowledge over ignorance, and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance.
B. From Darkness unto Light
The significance of the triumph of good over evil can be found in every legend, myth, and story associated with Deepawali. This clear and simple truth finds fresh justification and hope with every Deepawali and the lights that shine in our homes and hearts.
The transition from darkness to light empowers us to commit to doing good deeds and draws us nearer to divinity. Every part of India is lit up for Diwali, and the air is filled with the aroma of burning incense sticks, along with feelings of joy, community, and hope.
2) From a religious point of view
The enduring legends and customs of Deepawali, as well as the radiant light of countless diyas, serve as a reminder of the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, dharma over adharma, and hope over despair.
A) The Return of Lord Rama and his Coronation
The Ramayana, a renowned Hindu epic, contains the most well-known Diwali myth. The prince of Ayodhya, Rama, was told by his father, King Dasharatha, to leave his homeland and return after spending fourteen years in the forest.
Rama, his devoted wife Sita, and their obedient brother Lakshmana then left for exile. Rama engaged in battle with and eventually defeated Ravana when he kidnapped Sita and took her to his island kingdom of Lanka. Lord Ram saved Sita and after fourteen years, he returned to Ayodhya.
In Hinduism, Prince Rama is revered as both a manifestation of Lord Vishnu and a personification of dharma, or morality whereas Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance and prosperity, appears as Sita. Villagers lit up their homes with earthen lamps (diyas), set off fireworks, and lavishly decorated the entire city to mark Rama’s return to Ayodhya.
It is thought that this is where the tradition of Diwali originated. Every year on Diwali, people celebrate Lord Rama’s return home with lights, fireworks, the popping of crackers, and good times. As a result of the rows (avali) of lamps (deeyo) that the people of Ayodhya lit to welcome their King, the festival is also known as Deepawali or Diwali.
B) The Return of the five royal brothers, the Pandavas
Another famous tale about the origins of Diwali is narrated in the other Hindu epic, known as ‘Mahabharata’. In the Mahabharata, the five royal brothers, the Pandavas, are shown to have lost to their brothers, the Kauravas, in a dice game (gambling).
The Pandavas were forced to follow a rule that required them to spend 13 years in exile. When the time period was over, on the day of “Kartik Amavashya” (the new moon day of the Kartik month) they went back to their hometown of Hastinapura.
All of the villagers adored the five Pandava brothers, their mother, and their wife Draupadi because of their honesty, goodness, gentleness, and compassion. The common people lighted bright earthen lamps all over their state to celebrate the joyous occasion of the Pandavas’ return to Hastinapura and to welcome them back.
The celebration of Diwali, which many people think commemorates the return of the Pandava brothers, is credited with keeping the tradition alive.
C) Narakasura was killed by Satyabhama and Krishna.
Pragjyotishapura was supposedly ruled by the powerful yet evil Narakasura (modern day Assam). He had wrongfully imprisoned 16,000 innocent princesses despite being the son of mother earth (Bhudevi).
The proverbial struggle between dharma and adharma was won by Satyabhama, a reincarnation of Bhudevi and her husband Lord Krishna, who then beheaded Narakasura and freed the helpless princesses.
This day before the new moon night (amavasya) of Deepawali is a celebration of the triumph of sattvic and divine elements over tamasic and baser elements because Narakasura met his end on Naraka Chaturdashi.
C) Wedding of Goddess Laxmi and Lord Vishnu
Diwali is celebrated because Laxmi, the festival’s patron deity, was created during the Samudra manthan, or churning of the cosmic ocean. The goddess who was wed to Lord Vishnu was later celebrated with great splendor, which then gave rise to the Diwali festival.
D) Welcome of Goddess Lakshmi
The goddess Lakshmi is regarded as the Supreme Divine Being and the patroness of wealth and prosperity in Vaishnavism tradition. She is the supreme Lord Vishnu’s consort. Laxmi appeared for the first time during Samudra Manthan on the Amavasya of the Kartik month. Given that Laxmi was created through the churning of the cosmic ocean, Diwali is therefore observed as Laxmi’s birthday.
E) The Deliverance of Bali by Vamana
It is well known the tale of Raja Bali and Vishnu’s Vamana avatar. On the occasion of Diwali, Vamana, a manifestation of Vishnu, is said to have traveled to the kingdom of Bali. The land that he could measure in three steps would be his, according to Bali’s promise.
In his first two steps, Trivikrama Vishnu measured the heavens and the earth. Bali asked Vamana to place his foot on his own head as the third step, realizing that the moment of his moksha had arrived. Bali is said to have received deliverance after Vishnu complied with the request.
On Diwali, true knowledge illuminated Bali. As we light the Diwali lamps, we pray for true knowledge like Bali in an effort to symbolize our never-ending search for it.
F) The Worship of Maa Kali
On the gloomy Diwali night, worshippers honor the fierce yet compassionate Maa (Mother) Kali. The dark Kali is the one who destroys the dark forces so that the light forces may triumph. The asura Raktabija was one of her most illustrious victories, and it is told during this festival. Raktabija was a powerful demon that was difficult to vanquish.
Every time a drop of his blood fell to the ground, a brand-new demon identical to Raktabija was created. Maa Kali launched a fierce attack on Raktabija with her long tongue. Because every drop of blood from his body fell on her tongue, a new demon was created inside of her mouth.
She hogged every demon until Raktabija’s body was completely bloodless and he finally collapsed to the ground.
G) pray to Kubera
Additionally, trade and merchant families as well as others pray to Kubera, who represents bookkeeping, treasury, and wealth management and as well as Saraswati, who represents music, literature, and learning.
H) Coronation of the king Vikramaditya
History holds that King Vikramaditya, the legendary Hindu king of India renowned for his wisdom, bravery, and big heart, was crowned and proclaimed to be a king on a Diwali day in 56 BC.
The coronation of their king was celebrated by the people of Vikramaditya’s kingdom by lighting up small earthen lamps, and this tradition still exists today. Many individuals, including some historians, claim that this incident is what gave rise to the annual celebration of Diwali.
I) The Nirvana attained by Lord Mahavira
On the day of Diwali, according to Jain tradition, Lord Mahavira—the last tirthankara—attained nirvana. In the Bihar town of Pawapuri, he found liberation from the never-ending cycle of life and death. The tirthankaras’ jiva (soul or atma), according to Jain doctrine, lives in Siddhaloka after they achieve moksha.
The world and his followers were shown the true light by Lord Mahavira. In order to eliminate the darkness that was left behind on earth after this light was extinguished, lamps had to be lit. Deepawali encourages us to seek out the truth or light and to work towards our moksha or liberation by not only remembering this significant occasion in the life of one of India’s greatest preachers.
J) Attainment of enlightenment by the great sage Swami Dayananda Saraswati
Additionally, Diwali commemorates the holy day when Swami Dayananda Saraswati, one of Hinduism’s greatest reformers, attained nirvana (enlightenment) and took the name “Maharshi” Dayananda, or “the great sage Dayananda,” on a new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day). Maharshi Dayananda established the Arya Samaj, also known as the “Society of Nobles,” in 1875 in order to rid Hinduism of the numerous vices that had come to be associated with it during that time. Every Diwali, Hindus across India remember this great reformer.
K) The Release of Guru Hargobind Singh – Bandi Chorr Diwas
In remembrance of Guru Hargobind’s release from the Gwalior Fort prison by the Mughal emperor Jahangir and the day he arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Sikhs observe Bandi Chhor Divas.
L) Birthday of the Lord of Medicines, Ayurveda
The Dhanvantari, the Lord of Medicines who bestowed the knowledge of Ayurveda, is also connected to Diwali. His birthday is commemorated today in honor of him teaching people about medicine.
M) End of the harvest festival
A different widely held opinion holds that Diwali may have started out as a harvest festival to celebrate the final harvest of the year before winter.
N) Start of a new year
The Diwali festival marks the beginning of a new year in some northern Hindu communities in India and in western states like Gujarat.
With the exception of the Newar people of Nepal, who honor various Vajrayana Buddhist deities and observe Diwali by praying to Lakshmi, most Buddhists do not observe the holiday of Diwali.
In the same manner and on the same days as Nepalese Hindus, Newar Buddhists in the country’s valleys also observe the five-day Diwali festival. Some observers contend that the worship of Lakshmi and Vishnu during the traditional Newar celebration of Diwali is not syncretism but instead a reflection of the freedom within Mahayana Buddhist tradition to worship any deity for one’s worldly advancement.
P) Shri Krishna’s Lifting of the Govardhan Mountain
One of the luckiest days in the Indian calendar is the day following the Diwali no-moon night. The lifting of the Govardhan Mountain by Shri Krishna is one of the legends connected to this day.
Indra made the decision to punish the people of Vrindavana with constant rain and thunderstorms when he became conceited and haughty. By lifting the Govardhan Mountain with his bare hands so that the villagers could huddle underneath it, Krishna saved his community. Indra’s haughtiness came to an end when Krishna became Giridhar.
The festival serves as a reminder that pride and haughtiness are fleeting; the haughty will inevitably crumble.
3) From A spiritual point of view
A) Forgiving and forgetting
It’s like giving yourself and everything around you a new beginning. During Diwali, it is customary for people to forget their transgressions against others and to extend forgiveness.
Everywhere there is a sense of openness, celebration, and friendliness. The festival of Diwali sends out a message to lighten up inside of us and drive out all the darkness.
B) Rise and shine.
It is a great blessing to get up during the Brahmamuhurta (at 4 a.m., or 1 1/2 hours before sunrise) for your health, morality, productivity at work, and spiritual development.
The sages who created this Deepawali tradition may have wished that their descendants would recognize its advantages and incorporate it into their daily routines.
C) Be one and united.
Diwali is a bringing together occasion that can make even the hardest of hearts pliable. During this time, people embrace each other and mingle joyfully. The greetings of love that permeate the air produce strong vibrations that have a profound effect.
Only a continuous Deepavali celebration can rekindle the pressing need to turn away from the destructive path of hatred when the heart has become noticeably harder.
D) Prosper and advance.
Hindu businesspeople in North India open their new accounting books on this day and offer prayers for success and wealth for the upcoming year. For the family, new clothes are purchased. Employers also buy new clothes for their staff.
During the day, homes are cleaned and decorated, and at night, earthen oil lamps provide illumination. Amritsar and Bombay have the finest and best illuminations. Thousands of lamps are used to illuminate the famous Golden Temple in Amritsar in the evening.
People who participate in this festival develop a heart of charity and do good deeds. Included in this is Govardhan Puja, a Vaishnavite festival held on the fourth day of Diwali. On this day, they feed the underprivileged on a massive scale.
E) Shine a light on your inner self.
The Diwali lights also allude to a period of inner illumination. The light of lights, according to Hinduism, is the one that perpetually shines in the chamber of the heart.
The soul is illuminated by sitting quietly and focusing the mind on this supreme light. It offers the chance to cultivate and experience eternal bliss.
4) As a Purification ritual
The Diwali festival also acts as a purification ritual, signifying letting go of all the troubles and worries from the previous year and stepping into the light.
Families gather in the days before Diwali to clean, renovate, and decorate each other’s homes and workplaces with rangolis and diyas. Winter officially begins on Diwali, signaling the start of all new beginnings for both humanity and nature.
5) One of the reasons might be the lights and firecrackers:
Diyas, candles, and lamps are placed all over the house on this day to “light” the path to wisdom and success. As a sign of respect for the gods who are responsible for the attainment of knowledge, health, wealth, peace, and prosperity, homes are lit up with lights and firecrackers fill the sky.
It is a truly wondrous sight to behold, the whole country bathed in the soft glow of light and warmth emanating from every home.
The lights of Diwali symbolize a time to extinguish all of our evil intentions and fantasies, to banish all shadowy forces, and to give us the vigor and zeal to continue spreading goodwill throughout the rest of the year.
They brighten the energetic path that allows the Light within us to shine. They serve as a reminder of the value of knowledge, the significance of knowing oneself, and the importance of knowing and seeking the good and correct path.
For Light Seekers, Deepavali holds a special significance and value because it only occurs once a year. It’s also thought that the sound of fireworks signals the happiness of earth’s inhabitants and the existence of the abundant Gods.
People are discovering better ways to express their joy, though, because of the impact they have on the environment.
Another explanation, which has a more scientific basis, is that mosquitoes, which are prevalent after rains, are killed or repelled by the fumes released by firecrackers.