Diwali, being the festival of lights, is a day that eliminates darkness and fills our lives with light. The history of this auspicious day is associated with legends moored to the fables of religious Hindu scriptures often the Puranas. Though the foremost theme of all legends point out to the age-old truth of the win of the good over evil, the story behind them and the characters differ.
The very first day of this celebration is known as Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanteras. The second day of the festival is known as Narak Chaturdasi. It’s the 14th lunar day of the darkest fortnight of the month Kartik that falls on the eve of Diwali. It is believed that on this very day Lord Krishna quashed the demon Narakasur and set the world free from his evil. The third day of the festival is known as Diwali. On this day people worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. The fifth day of Diwali is known as Bhaidooj.
History of Diwali as per Hindu Mythology
The Tale of Rama & Sita: Lord Rama along with his consort Sita and younger brother Lakshman was exiled by his father Dashratha by pressurized by his wife. After 14 years of exile, Lord Rama returned to his kingdom Ayodhya by defeating Ravana the demon king. It is said that during his return people of Ayodhya welcomed him by lighting every house and nook & corner of the kingdom with earthen lamps. So to rejoice Lord Rama’s victory of Ravana, Diwali is celebrated.
King Bali and Vamana Avatar: The other belief concerns King Bali who was a philanthropic ruler but was ambitious. Some of the Gods requested Bhagwan Vishnu to check his power. Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Vamana and appeared in the court of King Bali. He asked King Bali to give him the space that he would cover with three strides. The King, after laughing at the Vamana, agreed to his request. In three strides, Vamana covered sky, earth and underworld. As part of the Diwali celebration, some Hindus memorize King Bali.
Narkasur and Lord Krishna: Lord Vishnu in his eighth avatar known as “Krishna” smashed Narkasur who with his demonic power wanted to rule over the world. Narkasur is said to be the demon of dirt and filth. He abducted beautiful women and compelled them to live with him. Hearing their cries, Lord Vishnu appeared in Krishna’s avatar and fought with a five-headed monster guarding Narkasur’s home. Upon Narkasur’s death, Krishna granted him a wish that his death will bring joy to others and hence, the day is celebrated as Narak Chaturdasi.
Krishna & Goverdhan Mountain: Once upon a time in Gokul, people prayed to the Lord Indra whom they believed the God of Rain who sends rain and help them in yielding good crops. However, Krishna persuaded villagers that they should worship the mountain Govardhana because the land around it is fertile. Hearing this, Indra become furious and he sent thunderstorms as well as torrential rain to devastate the whole village and identify his powers. People rushed to Krishna for help and then he saved all the villagers by taking them into the shade of the mountain Govardhana. Therefore, on the fifth day of Diwali people worship Govardhana.
Sikh History: In the outlook of Sikh, the celebration is commemorated to mark the return of their sixth Guru- Guru Hargobind Ji from the imprisonment of Gwalior. In order to rejoice his undying love for Sikhism, people lit the whole town with lights to pay honor.
Jain History: Jain celebrates Diwali as one of their most important festivals. On the day of Diwali Jain people celebrates the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira the founder of Jainism.
This year Diwali 2018 is going to be observed on 19 October.