Deepavali or Diwali period is celebrated universally by Indians residing globally. It has significance to all major religions of India.
Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya from 14 years exile along with wife Sita, brother Lakshman, and devout Hanuman brought immense joy to the people who lighted lamps to illuminate the entire city
Lord Vishnu as Vaman avatar, rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali who was banished to the underworld on this day
The Pandavas returned to Hastinapur after 12 years of banishment. Happy citizens lit earthen lamps in celebration
Bandi Chorr Devas, festival of Sikhs celebrates the release of their sixth guru – Guru Hargobind Singh from the Gwalior Fort along with 52 other Hindu princes in 1619
Foundation stone of Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali in 1577
Ashok Vijaydashmi celebrates the conversion of emperor Ashoka to Buddhism on this day with prayers and decoration of the monasteries
Diwali in Nepal is known as Tihar and celebrated with splendor
Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankar of the era, attained eternal bliss or release of the soul viz. Nirvana or Moksha on this day at Pavapuri on lunar Chaturdashi of Kartika on 15 October 527 BC.
According to the Kalpasutra by Archarya Bhadrabahu, 3rd century BC, many Gods were present there, illuminating the darkness with their divine light
Diwali marks the end of harvest season in most of India. Farmers pray for a good harvest for the year to come
Hindus pray to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi to remove all the darkness and poverty from everyone’s lives, and to fill all our hearts with the sparkling golden light of peace, love, truth, and spiritual joy.
The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.
Deepavali delivers us from Darkness unto Light to commit ourselves to good deeds and thus approach divinity.
FIVE DAYS OF DEEPAV
DAY 1: Dhanteras/Dhanvantari Trayodashi Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. Dhanvantri, physician of the Gods is remembered for health and hygiene.
DAY 2: Choti Deepawali / Narak Chaturdashi Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Narakasur by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Narakasur and his mother Bhudevi or Mother Earth wished his death to be occasion for rejoicing, rather than mourning.
DAY 3: Main Deepawali / Lakshmi Puja Amavasya or new moon night marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Lord Vishnu, in his dwarf’s incarnation, vanquished the tyrant Bali to rescue her. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, on this day to light millions of lamps to dispel darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.
DAY 4: Pratipat / Padwa Puja / Govardhan Puja / Annakoot Mount Govardhan lifted by Lord Krishna on one finger formed an umbrella to protect people of Gokul from a deluge sent by Lord Indra. Annakoot means mountain of food. Prayers for plentiful are offered with obeisance to Lord Krishna on this day.
Day 5: Yama Dvitiya / Bhai Dooj Yamraj, the Lord of death visited and gave his sister Yamuna a boon that whosoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins. Traditionally, brothers visit their sisters. Lord Mahavir, the founder of Jainism had attained nirvana, or heaven. His brother King Nandivardhan was very distressed, and was comforted by their sister Sudarshana. Sisters have been revered since, symbolized by Bhai Dooj. In India, respect for women is seen in every aspect of festivals and celebrations. The creator is shown as sublime, divine, feminine force of Shakti, venerated in several Goddess forms like Durga on a lioness, or Kali, the fiery dark Goddess of strength. The myriad Gods and Goddesses depict the undefinable and limitless dimensions and facets of eternal divinity