Divali is popularly known as the Festival of Lights and is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Indians all over the world. Uniqueness of this festival is its harmony of five varied philosophies and the fact that each of the five-days of Diwali has a special thought or ideal attached to it. Divali is a festival of joy, splendor, brightness and happiness.
Celebrations of Diwali begin from Dusshera festival which comes twenty days before Diwali. Lord Rama destroyed Ravana on this day and hence Divali is celebrated as a Day of Victory. To mark the festival decorated tableaux and processions depicting various facets of Rama's life are taken out and scenes from his life enacted in a popular form of drama called Ramlila.
Deepawali is a festival signifying the victory of good over evil. People burn firecracker on this day. The tradition signifies that evil is reduced to ashes on Divali. At several places Diwali Melas are organised where people assemble at places and celebrate Diwali together. Divali celebrates Lord Rama's homecoming or his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as the King.
Legend of Divali
The legend related to the festival is that King Dashratha had three wives namely Kaushalaya, Keykayee and Sumitra and four sons Rama, Bharat, Laxmana and Shatrughan. Rama was the son of Queen Kaushalaya and Bharat was the son of Queen Keykayee. Keykayee wanted Bharat to be the next King of Ayodhya while King Dasharatha wanted Rama - his eldest son to be the King. But Keykayee made use of the two wishes King Dasharatha had promised. Keykayee expressed her wish for sending Rama to exile for the period of fourteen years and to crown Bharat as the king. However, Bharat refused to accept the kingship.
During the period of exile Lord Rama fought and won fierce battle in the southern part of the Indian sub-continent, killing the king of Demons, Ravana who had forcibly taken away his wife Sita. Diwali marks his victorious return to his kingdom along with Hanuman - the Vanar who helped him in achieving success. The legend states it took 20 days for Rama to return to his kingdom after defeating Ravana.
Celebrations across India
As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama's homecoming from fourteen years of exile that is his return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana and his coronation as king; In Gujarat, the festival is celebrated to honor Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth!
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