One of the most eminent festivals in the Hindu savoir-faire Diwali is celebrated with great pomp and show throughout various communities of the Indian exodus. This festival is celebrated on Amavasya of the Kartik month and heralds in the dawn of the Hindu new year. Lights, sweets and gifts for Diwali are a staple association when it comes to the gala and galore of the festival. With the illuminating festival of lights- Diwali just around the corner, you are bound to get curious about the reasons we celebrate Diwali. You’ll probably be amazed to know that there isn’t just one or two but thirteen reasons why we adhere to the gala and galore of Diwali.
Scroll down to assimilate all 13 of them:
1. Birth of Goddess Lakshmi:
Scriptures have it that -during the “Samudra Manthan" the most eminent entity obtained, was “Goddess Lakshmi” who arose on the Amavasya(new moon day) of the Kartik month. She was subsequently married to Lord Vishnu on the same night- The darkest night of the year. A multitude of emblematic brilliant lamps was lit to mark the auspicious occasion. That’s how Diwali embarks its association with Goddess Lakshmi and till date, the birth of Goddess Lakshmi and her marriage to Lord Vishnu is celebrated on Diwali.
2. Vamana Avatar:
During the Treta Yug, it is believed on the mythological front that King Mahabali, held Goddess Lakshmi as a prisoner in his cell. It was then, Lord Vishnu reincarnated as the Vamana avatar. Lord Vishnu tricked Mahabali into giving up all his wealth(Goddess Lakshmi) by asking it for alms. Diwali marks the defeat of King Mahabali by Lord Vishnu and this another reason why Goddess Lakshmi is prayed on this day.
3. Killing Of Narakasura:
The Vishnu Purana brings us the story of Narakasura- an evil demon king who was blessed with immense powers. When Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as Lord Krishna in the Dwapara Yuga, he killed Narakasura on the night preceding Diwali and rescued 16000 thousand women imprisoned by him. Their emancipation from the palace was celebrated with a great exuberance which continues till date.
4. Return of the Pandavas:
The tour de force Hindu epic Mahabharata traces the origin of the festival of Lights-Diwali to the epoch when five Pandavas returned to Indraprastha from their 12-year exile and banishment on Kartik Amavasya. Unlike the Kauravas, the Pandavas were kind, benevolent and righteous; ergo their return was celebrated with emblematic jubilance and gaiety by lighting earthen lamps. And the tradition continues till date.
5. The Victory of Lord Ram:
This is probably the most popular narrative associated with Diwali. The Ramayana elucidates how Lord Rama- the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu along with wife Sita and brother Lakshmana returned to their capital- Ayodhya after killing Ravana. To commemorate the homecoming of their beloved King, Ayodhya dwellers burst crackers, embellished their homes with lamps and decorated their entire city in the most magnificent way possible.
6. Coronation of King Vikramaditya:
In 56 BC the legendary Indian King Vikramaditya who was renowned for his wisdom valor and magnanimity was coronated on Diwali following his victory over the Sakas. This was marked by great pomp and celebrations, the grandiose is maintained till date as an annual event. One of the most celebrated Hindu monarchs, Vikramaditya’s dynasty ranged from modern-day Thailand in the east to the borders of modern-day Saudi Arabia in the west. Thus Diwali apart from having a mythological pov also has historical roots.
7. Enlightenment of Swami Dayanand Saraswati:
One of the most revered social reformers in the Indian context, Swami Dayanand Saraswati attained nirvana on the new moon day of the Kartik month- popularly celebrated as Diwali. He was then known as Maharshi Dayanand- meaning The Great saint Dayanand. The Arya Samaj was founded by Maharshi Dayanand in 1875 to purify Hinduism of the many social evils that associated themselves with it in that era. Every Diwali, this great reformer is remembered by the Hindus all over India.
8. Enlightenment of Vardhamana Mahavira:
For Jains, Diwali marks the enlightenment of Vardhamana Mahavira(the 24th and last Tirthankara). He was the founder of modern Jainism. Factually the enlightenment is said to have occurred on Oct 15, 527 BC. There’s another reason for the Jains to involve in the Diwali galore apart from the enlightenment commemoration. And that is that this festival stands for the emancipation of human spirit from earthly desires which strongly superimpose with the teachings of Jainism.
9. Special Occasion for Sikhs:
Diwali holds a significant place for the Sikhs as it was on this day the third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized the festival of light as an occasion for all Sikhs around the world to gather and receive the blessings of their Guru. It was also on this day in 1619 that their sixth religious leader, Guru Hargobind Ji, was set free from imprisonment Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He was kept captive at the Gwalior Fort along with 52 other Hindu kings. And thirdly, it was on the same auspicious occasion of Diwali in 1577 that the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid in Amritsar.
10. The story of Goddess Kali:
According to legend, Goddess Kali was born to protect the good from the evil. Said to be the personification of Nari Shakti, Kali was born to save the heavens and earth from the increasing menace of the demons. After killing all the Devils, Kali lost her controls and began killing anyone who came in her way to be stopped only by Lord Shiva’s intervention. That memorable day has been celebrated henceforth to seek the blessings of Goddess Kali to destroy our inner evils.
11. The harvest Festival of Kharif crops:
Diwali also falls at a time of reaping the Kharif crops- a time when the rice cultivation gives its fruits to the farmers. India being an agro-economic society, the significance of the rich harvest gives a new meaning and vigor to the celebrations.
12. Hindu New Year:
Diwali is also the Hindu New Year. It is the time of the year when Hindu businessmen offer Pujas, start new books of account and pay off old debts to start a new year afresh, a good enough reason alone to indulge in the festivities.
13. Nachiketa and Yama:
Another interesting story about Diwali comes from the Kanthopnishads of a small boy Nachiketa who believed that Yama, the God of death was as dark as the Dark night of Amavasya. But when he met Yama in person, he was puzzled to see Yama’s calm countenance and dignifies stature. Yama explained to Nachiketa that only by passing through the darkness of death, man sees the light of highest wisdom. This revelation of the importance of worldly life and significance of death is celebrated as Nachiketa’s enlightenment on Diwali day.
The feeling of oneness has been cultivated over the recent years by sending online gifts to friends and family. This has even taken the corporate industry by storm as corporate Diwali gifting sees a massive increase during this time. To conclude, there’s a multitude of reasons to celebrate Diwali, perhaps every part of India has its own reason. All of these, however, hardly matter when it comes to the festival itself. Whatever be your reason of celebration, the aesthetic aspect of Diwali is cherished and enjoyed by all Indians irrespective of their faith- cause that’s the beauty of Diwali.