Deepavali or Diwali is a five-day Hindu festival which starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin and ends on Bhaubeej, celebrated on second lunar day of Shukla paksha of the Hindu calendar month Kartik.
Dhanteras usually falls eighteen days after Dussehra. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Diwali or ‘the festival of lights’ is undoubtedly among the most celebrated festivals of India. Marking the victory of ‘good over evil’ and ‘light over darkness’, this festival features among few select festivals which are celebrated across India by people of all faiths, religions, castes and creed. There are many prevalent legends of Diwali, as people in different parts of the country believe in diverse set of tales to celebrate this festival.
The Legends Of Diwali are:
Goddess Lakshmi : On this day Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk called the Ksheer Sagar. She brought with Her wealth and prosperity for mankind. On that day, Lakshmi Pooja was performed to honor Her and as such, every year on Diwali day, Hindus perform Her prayer and worship.The making and distribution of various sweets and total vegetarian foods are the order of the day.This practice is alive and well to this very day. Many people believe that Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and good fortune, visit the homes of devotees on this day. Worship of Lakshmi is performed in the evening.
Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi: On this very day, Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali and this is another reason of worshipping Ma Larkshmi on Diwali.
Krishna Killed Narakaasur: Narakasura, a monster, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram who was a trouble-maker to the gods and the pious sages and would disturb their penance or create havoc during the rituals. To prove his power, Narakasura usurped some territory of Aditi. Vexed with this harassment, Indra and other gods approached Lord Krishna and pleaded with him to protect them from the demon “Narakasura”. Satyabhama appealed to Krishna to give her the golden chance to destroy Narakasura, as Narakasura was given a curse that he would be killed by a woman. Krishna granted her a boon to fight with Narakasura. With Krishna as the charioteer, Satyabhama entered the battle field and killed the demon, Narakasura. The killing of Narakasura was a victory of good over evil. It is interesting to note that Bhudevi, mother of the slain Narakasura, declared that his death should not be a day of mourning but an occasion to celebrate and rejoice. Since then, Deepavali is being celebrated by people every year with joyous celebrations with lot of fun and frolic, and fire works.
The Return of the Pandavas: According to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.
The Victory of Rama: In the north, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and the surrounding areas, Diwali is the day when King Rama’s coronation was celebrated in Ayodhya after his epic war with Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. By order of the royal families of Ayodhya and Mithila, the kingdom of which Sita was princess, the cities and far-flung boundaries of these kingdoms were lit up with rows of lamps, glittering on dark nights to Welcome home the divine king Rama and his queen Sita after 14 years of exile, ending with an across-the-seas war in which the whole of the kingdom of Lanka was destroyed.
Harvest time: In rural areas, Diwali signifies Harvest Festival. Diwali which occurs at the end of a cropping season has along with the above custom, a few others that reinforce the hypothesis of its having originated as a harvest. Every harvest normally spelt prosperity. The celebration was first started in India by farmers after they reaped their harvests. They celebrated with joy and offered praises to God for granting them a good crop.
Coronation of Vikramaditya: One of the greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya was coronated on the Diwali day, hence Diwali became a historical event as well.