The festival of lights, Diwali, has arrived. It’s that time of year again when we dress up and decorate our homes with lamps and diyas. But did you know that there are multiple reasons why we celebrate Diwali? Here are some incredible facts that you may not have previously known.
Diwali, which is currently being observed, is celebrated for seven different reasons in various parts of India:
1. According to the Ramayana, after 14 years of exile and the defeat of the demon king Raavana, Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and brother Laxmana at last returned to Ayodhya. Diwali marks his return to his home.
2. According to popular belief, Diwali commemorates the birth of Goddess Lakshmi from Samudra Manthan, the churning of the cosmic ocean of milk by the gods and demons. On the night of Diwali, Lakshmi chose Vishnu as her husband, and the two were united in holy matrimony.
3. In the epic Mahabharata, the Kauravas exiled the five Pandava brothers for a period of 12 years after tricking them into losing a wager in gambling. According to the epic, the Pandavas return to Hastinapur on Diwali after spending the previous night celebrating Kartik Amavasya.
4. In the Sikh religion, Diwali commemorates the release of Guru Hargobind by Mughal emperor Jehangir.
5. The Jain religion observes the Diwali festival to commemorate the day Mahavira’s soul attained Nirvana.
6. The Diwali festival marks the beginning of a new year in some western Indian states, such as Gujarat.
7. Diwali is observed as Kali Puja in Eastern India, particularly in West Bengal, in honor of Goddess Kali, who is reputed to have gone on a destructive rampage to purge the earth of all demons.