One of the biggest and brightest festivals of The hindus, is Diwali- the celebration adorned with lights and sound. This lively and sparkling occasion, full of ecstasy and joy has many legends surrounding itself, and each one is delightful as well as interesting that makes the festival relevant and meaningful even today.
The festival is to celebrate the autumn harvest in India and the religious significance involves various God and Goddesses.
In North India, Diwali celebrations take place as Lord Rama returns to Ajodhya after 14 years, and successfully killing the demon Ravan. The citizens welcomed the king with thousands of diyas and people still light them up in his honor.
The other legend of Diwali also marks the emergence of Laxmi the goddess of wealth and prosperity. during the churning of sea, she emerged with a pot of elixir and thus she is worshiped extensively all across the country to celebrate the occasion.
It is also believed that Lord Vishnu rescued the Goddess from the demon king Bali, on this very day. Another legend depicts that on this second day of the Diwali festival, Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and freed women from his prison. Hence it is celebrated widely to commemorate his victory over the evil. According to Indian epic Mahabharata, Pandavas returned to their kingdom after 12 years of exile on the Diwali day and hence it was celebrated with lighting earthen lamps and burning crackers.
Other legends are also associated with the celebration of Diwali- like the story of King Bali, who is believed to come back from Hell to earth to rule for one single day on Diwali, because he was being blessed by Lord Vishnu. In Bengal, legends depict that Diwali is celebrated to worship Goddess Kali, the ferocious form of Goddess Durga and the epitome of Power who destroys evil to establish the supremacy of the good. Lord ganesha, the remover of obstacles and the Lord of wisdom, is also worshipped on the Diwali day.
Legends also say that on this day of Diwali, the coronation of Vikramaditya , one of the greatest Hindu king took place and hence Diwali is celebrated to rejoice the occasion. Some people also speak about the legendary tale of Hima, the 16 year old prince, who was about to die on the fourth day of his marriage. His wife saved him from Yama, the Lord of Death , and hence this occasion is also celebrated as the Yamadeepan festival which signifies that with true devotion and dedication one can win over something as predictable and indispensable as death.
Legends are just stories which motivate us to keep in touch with the religious aspect of any occasion like Diwali. But the joy and merriment of celebration needs to reason to overflow. Apart from the spiritual and religious significance that is associated with Deepavali, it is actually celebrated to dispel darkness of ignorance within our soul, with the light of knowledge, and spread the radiance of wisdom and love to others.