Origin of Diwali Celebration

India is known globally for Diwali which is famously called the festival of lights where people decorate their homes and courtyard with glittering lights and diyas. Nobody perhaps knows the time since when this festival became a part of every household. And that's why it is also not easy to narrate one reason behind this celebration. Famous folklores have many anecdotes associated with this grand festival of lights.

Every state of this country celebrates this festival on the same date but their reasons vary. So, after studying all the popular tales behind this Diwali, here are a few of them for you. Brush up your cultural history with the following stories.

1.Tale of The Ramayana:

This tale is the most famous one when it comes to narration of the Diwali festival. As per the Hindu epic poem Ramayana, Lord Rama, his brother Lakshmana, and wife Sita had to go for an exile lasting for 14 years. In this exile, the wicked king Ravana of Lanka kidnapped Sita. Now, after a lot of challenges and quest, Lord Rama finally vanquished Lanka and saved Sita. On a New Moon day of the Hindi month of Karthika, Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana returned to their hometown Ayodha and to celebrate this victory the residents of Ayodha lit up thousands of lamps and diyas. This Diwali is also known as Deepawali and that means the rows (avali) of lamps (deepa) that the people of Ayodhya lit to welcome their King. Since then, the same day has been celebrated with quite an élan. Firecrackers and diyas form the major excitement during this festival.

2. From the Mahabharata:

Another epic poem Mahabharata narrates the story of the Kauravas and Pandavas and their continuous struggle for gaining the throne. The five brothers or the Pandavas were defeated in the gambling game by the Kauravas and as a punishment they has to serve a term of 13 years in exile. On a New Moon day of the Karthika month, they returned to Hastinapur, their hometown after completing those severe 13 years. They were honest, modest, caring, loving, and gentle and commoners respected them. To welcome them back in Hastinapur, people decorated their home with bright lights or diyas. This story is quite similar to the Ramayana and some cultural sect believe in this incident to be the origin of Diwali celebration.

3. Happy Birthday Lakshmi:

Most of the Hindu homes worship Goddess Lakshmi on this Diwali Day and that is perhaps because it is the birthday of this deity. As per the Hindu scriptures, initially, both Gods and Demons had a mortal life like normal human beings but they always wanted to be immortal. The event Samudra Manthan or churning of the huge ocean to seek Amrita or the fluid of immortality took place. As the whole ocean was being roiled, many things rose up the surface. Goddess Lakshmi was one of them who is the daughter of the Milky Ocean. The day of her birth was also the New Moon day of the Karthika month. Lord Vishnu was too impressed by the serene beauty of Lakshmi and married her instantly. Lamps or diyas were illuminated in a row to mark this occasion. Since then Diwali means worship of Goddess Lakshmi to seek her blessings.

4. Story of Mahabali and Vishnu:

We all know through religious scriptures that in every age there would be a tussle between the good and the bad. When the power of the evil would rise to a considerable height, Lord Vishnu would appear on this earth in some form to save the mankind. As per one story narrated in the Hindu Bhagavata Puranas, Lord Vishnu took the form and shape of a dwarf on a New Moon Karthika day and defeated the demon king Mahabali. The back story is something like this – once King Bali got a boon from the Lord Brahma and that made him unsurmountable. He was not such a bad king to his subjects but he was definitely not a good name for the gods. He was making the life of the Gods an unbearable one and nobody could defeat him also. So, all the Gods went to Lord Vishnu who made a plan to defeat this king in the form of a Brahmin dwarf who took away all wealth from the king. Diwali marks the celebration of this victory.

5. Narakasura narration:

Narakasura, as the name suggests was a demon king whose main motive was to upset people. He was a terrible and cruel king and was making life on earth and heaven an impossible one. So, a day before the Diwali, it was Lord Vishnu who again came forward to save the mankind. He killed Narakasura and freed those thousands of women who were locked in his palace. All the people belonging to the earth and the heaven alike celebrated this vanquish of Narakasura with a grand celebration named Diwali.

6. Kali and Her story:

In some parts of India, during Diwali, Goddess Kali is worshipped with much fun and fervor. It is said that Goddess Kali took birth from the forehead of Goddess Durga and her duty was to save the earth and heaven from the hands of the cruel demons. But interestingly after killing the demons, Goddess Kali lost her control and started killing anyone and everyone who came her way. Lord Shiva had to intervene here to stop her from that killing spree. The famous picture of Goddess Kali with her red tongue out is that moment when she steps on Lord Shiva and stops her violent activity in horror and remorse.

7. Victory for Vikramaditya:

Vikramaditya was a Hindu kind of India in 56 BC. His bravery, wisdom, large-heartedness made him the king and this event was celebrated by the citizens in a grand way. The custom of lighting diyas were observed from this day and it gave birth to the Diwali celebration.

8. Story of Swami Dayananda:

Many are of the belief that Diwali became a household festival the day when a great Hindu reformer Swami Dayananda Saraswati attained his Nirvana or Enlightenment. He was the one who founded the Arya Samaj or the Society of Nobles with an objective to cleanse the Hinduism from blind faiths and evil acts. Many people remember this great sage with Diwali celebration as he attained his Nirvana on this New Moon day in Karthika month.

9. Tale of Vardhamana Mahavira:

Vardhamana Mahavira who was the 24th or the last Tirthankara of the Jainism attained Enlightenment or Nirvana on the day 15th October, 527 B.C. Diwali Celebration is believed to have originated due to this reason also in some sects. This day is also seen as a day of liberation of human spirit from earthly desires.

10. Sikh Guru Amar Das:

As per Sikhism, this Guru Amar Das started the festival of lights when all Sikhs would gather to receive the blessings of the Guru. In the year 1619, the 6th religious leader Guru Hargobind Singh who was a captive in the Gwalior Fort by Mughal Emperor Jehangir was freed on this day of Diwali. Apart from that the foundation stone for the Golden Temple of Amritsar was laid on this Diwali Day.

Thus, the origin of Diwali are many as per various beliefs and customs.

Why Do we Celebrate Diwali?

From cleaning home to buying Diwali gifts for loved ones, there are many preparations that one has to do for Diwali celebration. The origin or from the time since when Diwali is celebrated was narrated above and here, you can read the significance of Diwali Celebration. There is always a reason behind every function of this universe and the importance of Diwali are narrated below.

From all the stories already discussed above, one thing must be very clear to you by now. And that is victory of the good over evil. In all the stories from Lord Rama to Naraksura, there is always a tussle between good and bad. The day when the evil is killed by good is celebrated as Diwali. So, in each and every Diwali, we all worship the goodness of our heart. Lights or diyas are ways to cleanse our soul from all evil. We celebrate Diwali to mark various historical events and stories but at large, the triumph of light over obscurity, knowledge over unawareness, hope over despair, and good over evil is celebrated.

There are of course various thoughts and beliefs of this celebration but they all point unanimously to lighting up home with diyas. This is a reminder of the significance of self-inquiry, knowledge, self-improvement, and remaining in the right path. By lighting up diyas, one celebrates the light within themselves and also outside. The light within is the knowledge of the self and the light outside is the compassion for others.

Over the ages and years, Diwali has been celebrated with great enthusiasm to cleanse our heart form all evil thoughts, bring more lights of knowledge to our lives, and eradicate all negativity from the world. This celebration of goodness actually works to bring in more luck and prosperity.