Diwali which also goes by the name Deepawali is the biggest festival which is celebrated by the people belonging to Hindu religion.
Diwali is known as the festival of lights as it involves lighting of small lamps made of clay. Diwali is celebrated between mid of October and mid of December and official holidays are declared on Diwali in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji etc. The Diwali celebrations last for five days.
As Diwali marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira, the history of Diwali can be traced down to ancient India around 527 BCE. According to some people back in the days of ancient India it was just a harvest festival. Some say that it marks the return of lord Rama with Sita and Lakshmana. Some also say that it marks the celebrations of the marriage of Lakshmi with lord Vishnu but in Indian Bengal the festival surrounds around the goddess of strength mother kali. Different things are speculated about Diwali by people of different regions.
Diwali celebrations last for five days. And all five of the days’ celebrations have myths and legends behind them. The first of these four day celebration is called Dhanvantari Triodasi. It is celebrated on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin of the Hindu calendar. Most of the Indian communities start their financial year from this day. According to the legend, the horoscope of the 16 year old son of king Hima said that he was supposed to die on the 4th day of his marriage but he was saved by his young wife who did not allow him to sleep, lighted many lamps and put heaps of gold and silver at the entrance of his room blinding the death god and eventually saving her husband’s life.
The second day of Diwali celebrations is called Naraka Chaturdasi on which it is said that the demon Naraka was vanquished by Lord Krishna and his wife.
The third day is the actual day of Diwali on which worship of mother Lakhsmi is performed. As for the fourth day, Goverdhan Pooja is performed and the fifth day of Diwali is dedicated to sisters and sisters invite their brother to their homes.
Diyas or clay lamps are illuminated throughout the festival and the houses are cleaned. Traditional prayers are performed. Sweets are also exchanged during the Diwali celebrations and Diwali is not Diwali without the fireworks and fire crackers as they are the indication of joy and celebrations.