Diwali or Dipavali meaning rows of lights in Sanskrit, is a festival celebrated by Hindus living in all corners of the world. It is always referred to as the festival of lights that lasts for a few days during the months of October or November.
Fact 1 History Of The Festival
History shows that Diwali has been celebrated in India from times unknown as a festival that is related to summer harvest according to the Hindu calendar month of Kartika that is October or November according to Gregorian calendar. This festival has been mentioned in the Padma Purana and Skanda Purana which are the Sanskrit scriptures that deal with every aspect of life. Celebrating this festival of lights was prevalent during the time of King Harsha (7th century) and the famous writer Rajsekhara in the 9th century. The Persian traveler Al Beruni was describes the magnificent lighting and how Diwali was celebrated in his memoirs on India during the 11th century.
Fact 2 Implications Of The Festival
Diwali is celebrated on the new moon during the night, mostly at 12 midnight. The rituals continue for more than 4 hours where the high priests proficient in the Vedic mantras, pray to the Goddess to ward off evil and shower blessings of wealth and purity. In this festival, the Goddess is worshipped in many forms. She is Goddess Lakshmi , the Goddess of Wealth, Goddess Kali, the Goddess of power and strength who gets rid of all evils and sin and this day is also celebrated in memory of the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana along with Hanuman to Ayodhya. They together establish a rule of righteousness and peace. Diwali also marks the end of the Vikram Calendar which is a Hindu calendar followed by some of the people living in the Northern parts of India. The gorgeous ways of Celebrating Diwali in India is a spectacular sight. The entire country is decked up in amazing lights and crackers are burned to ward off evil.
Fact 3 Significance Diwali For Other Religions
Diwali is a festival that is celebrated by all Hindus in different ways to show respect and pray to some higher force. Sikhs celebrate Diwali to commemorate the event that took place in 1620 when Hargovind Singh, the sixth Sikh Guru succeeded in releasing 52 Hindu princes who were imprisoned by the Mughals with false charges in Gwalior Fort. The Golden Temple of Amritsar is decorated with wonderful lights till today to celebrate this great event. For the followers of Jainism, Diwali is celebrated as the day Lord Mahavira established the Dharma. Lights symbolize the passage of human knowledge from darkness to light.
Fact 4 Rituals Of Diwali
According to location, rituals differ but lighting up the homes is common in all religions and regions. Homes are cleaned and candles, electric lights are used to decorate every temple and home. Fireworks are the main attractions of this festival. Rows of oil lamps are set adrift on streams and rivers also. Dhanteras is the first day of the festival that falls 18 days after Dusserah. Narak Chaturdasi is the second day, followed by Diwali when people fast the entire day and offer prayers at night, the fourth day is known as Diwali Padva which strengthens the bond of couples and on the fifth day the unique bond between brother and sister is celebrated in a grand way called Bhai-Duuj or Bhratri-Dwitiya.
Diwali is such a festival that is celebrated all over the world with equal zeal and enthusiasm. England, Trinidad, Tobago and other European cities are also decorated with lights that signify triumph of light, knowledge and good over all that is evil.