Diwali is a festival celebrated on an epic scale all across India. The festival is marked by a display of fireworks, fun, food and prosperity. Here are some facts that edify the historical and mythological importance of Diwali.
Lord Rama's Victory on Demon Ravana: It was this day (the new moon day of Kartik) on which Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana in Lanka. The citizens of Ayodhya celebrated the return of their beloved king Rama by decorating and illuminating the entire city with earthen lamps.
Lord Krishna Killed Demon Narakasura: Naraka Chaturdasi is observed on the day before Diwali. It was on this day the powerful demon king Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna and 16,100 gopis (cow-heard girls) who were kept in Narakasura's harem.
Mata Lakshmi's Birthday: Mata Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day of Kartik during the churning of the milk ocean also called samudra manthan. Hence Diwali is the celebration of Mata Laksmi's birthday welcoming Her in everyone's house and life.
Pandavas Return from exile: The great epic Mahabharata describes the exile of Pandavas. They were banished to forest for 12 years in forest followed by a year of exile incognito as a result of defeat in the hands of Kauravas in gambling. It was this day of Kartik Amavashya the Pandavas returned to Hastinapur, their own land. Pandavas return was celebrated by their subjects who loved and revered them by lighting diyas and holding joyous celebrations.
Lord Vishnu rescued Lakshmi from Bali: Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vamana rescued her consort Goddess Lakshmi from the prison of demon King Bali. Thus, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on Diwali.
Coronation of Vikramaditya: On this day of Diwali, the great King of Hindus Vikramaditya was coronated. People celebrate this as one of the historic event as Diwali.
Red-Letter Day for Sikhs: The third Sikh Teacher, Guru Amar Das institutionalized Diwali as on one of the most important day for Sikhs. On this day all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings at Goindwal. The foundation stone of "The Golden Temple" was laid on Diwali in 1577. The day is also special as the Sixth Guru Hargobind was released along with 52 kings. The Muslim Emperor Jahengir, imprisoned the Guru and 52 kings in 1619 and the release is celebrated as "Bandi Chhorh Diwas".
Special Day for the Arya Samaj: Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati, one of the greatest reformers of Arya Samaj attained nirvana on the day of Diwali. Aryans celebrate Diwali to remember Maharshi contribution to the society.
Special Day for the Jains: Diwali is the day of nirvana of Mahavir Tirthankar who is the founder of modern Jainism.
Special Day for Christians: Diwali was made special for Christians as in 1999 Pope John Paul II performed a special Eurchist in an Indian Church where the altar was decorated with Diwali lamps. Pope had a "tilak" marked on his forehead and his speech was bristled with references to the festival of light.
The Harvest Festival: Diwali is the harvest festival in India. The agrarian society of India jubilates this day for this reason. Diwali falls around the months of October or November, which is also known as the season of Kharif when the crop of fresh rice is widely available.
Hindu New Year day: Diwali enhances the festive mood of Hindus by marking the advent the Hindu New Year. This day all the business men change their diaries, marking as a new fiscal year for their business endeavors. No matter what the reason, what the legend; the festival of lights Diwali is celebrated with much enthusiasm and zeal in all over the India and abroad irrespective of caste, creed and religion. n Feature Desk