Significance of Diwali - Replacing darkness with light!

By: Poornima Hariharan

Surely, India is a land that is always jubilant with plethora of festivals but from kiddos to grannies and gramps, we all look forward for one prevailing festival and that's the ever exciting Deepavali!

New clothes, sweets, four days of celebration and oh the firecrackers... undoubtedly the entire nation will be alight with joy even before the arrival of the actual day.

Diwali is fondly called as "Festival of Lights" or "Row of Lights" and this takes us back to the derivation of Deepavali. The name is coined after Deep (light) and Avali (row) signifying the festival as "Row of Lights". The country with its larger than life traditions celebrates the festival in a number of ways but the underlying meaning remains the same everywhere - Goodness brings down all bad and joyousness should be reason behind human existence.

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Diwali and its many origins

The celebration of Diwali could be associated to period of ancient Bharat. In many traditions, this time marks the harvest season and in others, the festival celebrated owing to several legends.

While few believe that Diwali is a significance of the wedding between Lord Vishnu and goddess Lakshmi, in the planes of Bengal, Diwali is celebrated to remember the mighty Goddess Kali. Similarly, on this occasion, Lord Ganesha is worshipped for his wisdom and auspiciousness.

Another popular legend associated with Deepavali is the return of King Rama with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana after their 14 years exile. The festival as well marks the downfall of Ravana. To commemorate the victory and the Lord's return, the residents of Ayodhya (the capital of Lord Rama) lighten up the Kingdom with earthen lamps. To make the celebration more joyous, they as well burst crackers.

Well, Diwali is not just a festival of Hindus but the Jains too observe the festival for to them, it signifies the Nirvana (Eternal Bliss) of their beloved Lord Mahavir. That's already five reasons to celebrate this occasion profusely and wait, this is Diwali we are talking about and the interesting tales just does not end here!

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4 days with 4 tales

We all know the four thrilling and marvellous days of Diwali that's filled with fun, celebration and a sense of fervour. But each of these four days gives us a reason to celebrate this bright festival with more ebullience than the previous day. Okay, now I'm definitely not going to bore you with all the details of these another set of legends! Just peek below and repeat the story in your head before bursting the first cracker of the day!

First Day - Naraka Chaturdasi. On this day, Lord Krishna along with wife Satyabhama slayed the demon named Naraka or Narakusara.

Second Day - This is an Amavasya (no moon day). Prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi who is a symbol of prosperity and wealth. It is believed that the goddess will be in a great mood and fulfils her devotees' wishes.

The second day as well signifies the killing of tyrant Bali by Lord Vishnu in his Vamana (dwarf) Avatar. The tyrant is banished to hell and is allowed to walk the earth once in a year in order to light the earth with lamps. By this way, Bali dispels ignorance and darkness and spread wisdom and love.

Third Day - This day is called as Karthika Shudda Padyami. On this day, Bali lighten ups the earth as per the boon bestowed by Vishnu.

Fourth Day - Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Dooj. Brothers are invited by their sisters to home.

Firecrackers, lights and our every reason to be super jolly!

Sure, each and every ritual linked to Diwali has a tale to narrate and so is our practice of bursting firecrackers in abundance. Apparently, when we light our homes with Diyas and burst crackers, we express our obedience and gratitude to the almighties for their bestowment of peace, wealth, prosperity, knowledge, health etc.

Another belief is that, the sounds that are emitted while bursting crackers is an indication of people's joy and letting know the almighties how happy we are. If you are someone who is looking for logic, then this amazing recreation could be logical too. Fumes that are emitted while bursting firecrackers has the potential to kill number of mosquitos, pests and insects that are found rampant during this season (cause of the rains you know).

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A treat to our taste bud

Forget Indian, no festival cannot be complete without the inclusion of food and when it comes to Diwali it is always "extra special". On all the four days of this gala festival, unique foods are prepared and as a custom, they are as well shared with friends and neighbours.

Wow! More sweets! Some of the sweets that particularly made during Diwali will include Suji (Rava) Halwa, Gulab Jamun, Jalebis, Kajoo Barfi, Karanji, Besan Ladoo etc.

Similarly not only sweets but savouries are also done with great care. Visit your neighbour's house during Diwali, you will be bombarded with savouries like Samosas, Aloo Tikki, Dahi-Bhalle, Pakoray etc. If you observe closely, a lot of savouries here require oil and are primarily fired. This is because, cooking using oil stands for lighting up for the occasion and burning for the festival.

Of course, when it comes to food, we just can't limit ourselves to Samosas and Kajoo Barfis. Various States across the culture prepare a range of food that we simply can't resist. That means - a lot of food to last a lifetime!

Wondering what to experiment this Diwali? Check out our various collections of Diwali recipes and whip up a tummy-filling occasion!

Moving from darkness, stepping into light

Each and every legend of Diwali has one underlying one liner: good always takes over the evil. With this motto, we light our homes and hearts with hope, truth and beauty on this auspicious occasion.

On this day, we leave the darkness of ignorance, anger and evil and embrace the light of knowledge, peace, joy and the good.

When comes Diwali, nook and corner of India is illuminated with Diyas and let us illuminate our hearts and soul with immense joy and happiness!

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