India is mainly known as the land with 13 festivals in 12 months and all of them have some interesting legendary stories behind them. Diwali the festival of light and sound has many such historic narrations behind its celebrations. All the five days have a separate story of it and hence depicts the religious and spiritual richness of Hinduism.
The first day, or Dhanteras, has an interesting story behind where, prince Hima, was saved by his wife from Yama the Lord of death. He was predicted death on the fourth day of his marriage and that night his wife did not let him sleep, instead entertained him all night long through songs and dance forms. She also piled her ornaments near the door and thus when Yama came in disguise of a serpent, his eyes were dazzled and thus could not bite Hima.
The story associated with the second day narrates the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura, who had captured women in prison. He was blessed with a boon that only his mother and none else, can kill him. So Lord Krishna reincarnated his own wife Satyabhama as Narakasura’s mother and thus he was put to death.
Stories also depict that on the third day or actual Diwali day, Lord Rama returned to his kingdom after killing the evil Ravana and to pave his way to Ayodhya, people lightened lamps and rejoiced. According to Puranas, it is on Diwali, that Goddess Laxmi, the symbol of wealth and prosperity, emerged from the sea while it was being churned. She showers her blessings on every devotee who worships her on this day.
Some interesting stories again date back to Lord Krishna, who, on the fourth day of the festival, saved the residents of Gokul from the anger of Lord Indra. When people refused to worship this Lord of rains, he flooded the place and it is at this time Lord Krishna, acted as a savior and lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to protect his worshippers. Hence people perform the govardhan puja to honor his act. There is one more interesting story in connection to Lord Vishnu, who in his “vamana” avatar, pushed Bali, the demon king under the world, and it is due to his boon only, the demon king returns on earth, to rule for a day. Hence this day is called Bali Pratipada.
Elders also narrate the stories of the return of Pandavas from banishment during Diwali and how people celebrated that occasion. It is also during this time, one of the greatest kings of Hinduism, Vikramaditya, was coroneted and people widely celebrated this auspicious event by lighting lamps and bursting crackers.
According to Jains, The founder of the religion, Mahavira, attained Nirvaana on this day only, whereas according to Sikhs, it is on Diwali only, the 6thGuru, Har Govind Singh returned from Gwalior and that gives them an opportunity to celebrate the occasion with the Hindus, with equal zeal and enthusiasm.