The Divali festival (also known as Deepavali or Diwali), the festival of light will be celebrated worldwide this year on 11 November 2015. Diwali is one of the most widely and lavishly celebrated Hindu festival in India, Mauritius and other countries having Hindu citizens. It marks the beginning of a new year in the traditional Hindu calendar. Most of the people, consider this to be the most auspicious time of the year to lay foundations for any new venture.
There are many myths and legends related to the celebration of the day and the way it is celebrated. Here are few of these myths that have been prevalent since time immemorial in the history of the festival.
Lord Rama and Sita
The most widely believed and oft told story is the one, where Devi Sita, the wife of Prince Lord Rama was kidnapped by the evil demon king Ravana, when they along with Ram’s brother Laxman were residing in the jungle as part of an exile. After Lord Rama defeated and killed Ravana and came back to his home back in Ayodhya, he was welcomed to the city with beautifully lit houses with candles and clay lamps. This day since then has been celebrated as “Deepawali” meaning a string of clay lamps.
King Bali and Vamana Avatar
There is another story that involves King Bali and Vamana Avtar (Dwarf). History has it that King Bali was a generous ruler, but his immense success led a few gods to plead to Lord Vishnu to test the worth of the king. Lord Vishnu then turned into a dwarf and went to King Bali’s court to test him. As Vamana, Lord Vishnu asked Bali, the ruler of Earth, Skies and Underworld that if he could cover the three in three strides. Bali, thought a dwarf could not really do that. But, then Vishnu changed to his grand form and covered the stretch, leaving King Bali to take resort in underworld. Many Hindus celebrate the day to remember the generous king.
The Traditional Way To Celebrate Diwali
The festival is actually celebrated over a period of five days. The first day is called the Dhan Teras, wherein people buy some new piece of jewelry or a silver utensil because as it is considered auspicious to spend money (for goddess Lakshmi) on this day. The second day is Narak Chaturdashi, when Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasur and freed the world of fear. The third day is the actual Diwali, when people pray for prosperity and happiness all year round to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The fourth day is for Govardhan Pooja and the last is Bhai Dooj, a day dedicated to sisters by their brothers.