No matter where we endure in this vast country and what faith we belong to, if there’s one festival that unites us together, it’s Diwali. Every community, region and culture has its own way of celebrating this festival of lights.
Mythology and folklore go hand in hand and we often find different adaptations of mythological legends behind Diwali braided into the folklore.
Here we go with the fascinating stories and what does five-days of the light festival is all about
For most, Diwali is the celebration of King Rama’s comeback to Ayodhya after his conquest over Ravana. Others trace the origin of the festival to the Mahabharata, where the return of the five Pandavas from their exile in the forest.
DAY ONE: Dhanteras
Dhanteras ‘Dhan’ means wealth. On this day, images of goddess Lakshmi, are worshipped. On this day, homes and businesses are thoroughly cleaned, and small clay oil lamps are dotted around the home to mark the beginning of the festival.
DAY TWO: Naraka Chaturdasi
Another tale marks the day of Narak Chaturdashi, as the day when Lord Krishna slew the devil Narakasur and set free the 16,000 women he had held imprisoned.
People in South, believe that Narakasur has been killed not by Krishna but by his wife Satyabhama. However, the story plot states that Satyabhama is a reincarnation of narakasur’s mother. Thus, Lord Krishna took sathyabhama with him to the battlefield to kill Narakasur.
In West Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshipped on Diwali. Kali was born from Goddess Durga’s forehead to restore peace in heaven and on earth. After destroying all the demons, she lost control and started destroying anything that came in her way. Thus, to bring back her senses, lord Shiva lay down in her path, and made her step upon him unknowingly
DAY THREE: Diwali and Laksmi Puja
This is the day that all Hindu, Sikh and Jain temples are lit up with hundreds of candles and oil lamps. Fireworks will also be lit to mark the highest point of celebrations. Traditionally, it is believed that on this day, Lord Rama rescued his wife from the demon Ravana following an epic battle. Today, the lighting of candles and lamps show the triumph of good over evil.
DAY FOUR: Annakut
Temples piled high with food offerings to Lord Krishna during the Govardhan Puja – a symbolic reference to Govardhan Hill – it is believed that Lord Krishna lifted the hill to shelter villagers from a flood caused by the vengeful Indra, King of Heaven. This day also ritually celebrates the bond between the wife and husband.
DAY FIVE: Bhai Beej
Another day, considered to be part of the Diwali celebration, is Bhau Beej also known as Bhai Tika, Bhathru Dwithiya, Bhai Dooj in the northern parts of the country. On this special day, the God of Death, Yamraj, visited his sister Yami, for this reason, the day is also known as Yama Dwitiya. Another story links Lord Krishna’s victorious return to his sister Subhadra after killing Narakasur and was welcomed by her with rituals like tilak and aarti.
Given the many divergent stories and happenings related to the festival, and no wonder that Diwali is celebrated on different dates around the country. This is the reason that it’s not simply called Diwali; it’s known as Budhi Diwali (meaning old Diwali). Animal Sacrifice is one of the important rituals of Budhi Diwali.
Whether you’re a believer of these legends and stories or not, there is one thing you’re sure to do on Diwali, and that is to celebrate it with lights.
The festival of lights remains incomplete without the mouth-watering mithais which takes centre stage during the occasion.
Barfi also called as coconut fudge is a popular sweet treat. Other popular items served during the five-day festival includes Karanji, Laddoos, Kaju Katli, Sohan Papdi, Dahi Bhalla and many more.
This Diwali doesn’t just increase Diabetes, Pollution, Credit card bills. Don’t act mean, go green, by celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali this year. Increase Smiles. Make someone smile this Diwali. Let’s welcome peace by kicking the smiling snacks off.