The months of September and October are usually blessed with the presence of two of Hinduism’s biggest festivals – Navratri/Durga Pooja and go to site Diwali / Deepavali. This is the first post in a series of posts about Diwali / Deepavali, regarding it’s origin, celebration and relevance. Diwali / Deepavali is one of the most celebrated festivals in Hinduism. The word ‘Diwali / Deepavali’ literally means a row of clay lamps and hence it is undoubtedly the ‘festival of lights’. But, Diwali / Deepavali is more than just lights, crackers and sweets. Diwali / Deepavali has a universal message, it is a celebration of ‘the triumph of good over evil’.
The starting of Diwali / Deepavali festivities is marked by a thorough cleaning of the household. The ladies of the house throw all old rags, clothes, utensils, etc. and replace them with new ones. Houses are often painted and decorated with lights. The household is beautified to the maximum possible limit of the family.
There are several legends associated with Diwali / Deepavali. One commonly believed legend is that of a celebration of Lord Rama’s return. Diwali / deepavali is said to be the celebration of the day that Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Devi Sita returned to Ayodhya after the 14 years of exile. The citizens of Ayodhya and neighbouring kingdoms were said to have lit lamps and beautified the streets to welcome Lord Rama and Sita Devi. The happiness of the citizens was expressed through the exchange of sweets and gifts. This event is said to be the origin of Diwali / Deepavali celebrations. Every year this celebration is conducted to revive the memory of the joyous victory of Lord Rama. Diwali / Deepavali is hence also an awareness campaign to remind people that the path of justice and dharma is always the best choice. It is a symbolic welcoming of brightness and auspiciousness to one’s life. There are more legends related to Diwali / Deepavali and rituals related to it’s celebration, which we shall see in the rest of the series.Om