Mumbai: Diwali or Deepawali holds a special significance in the lives of Indians. It is not just a festival of lights but a celebration of a tradition that hails the victory of the good over the evil. It also symbolises the annihilation of ignorance (darkness) by light (knowledge) and hence it is celebrated with much zest and fervour.
People soak in the colours of festivities by getting dressed in new bright clothes, fine jewellery and complimenting accessories. Homes/offices and public spots are also decorated with lights that are indispensable. Spread over about 5-6 days depending on the region, Diwali is celebrated across the country in various ways. But the essence of the celebrations – cleaning homes ahead of the festival, making sweets and savouries at home, buying gifts, wearing new clothes, decorating home with rangoli and diyas – remain the same.
There are a few tales associated with Diwali. In northern India, the popular belief is that the people of Ayodhya welcomed their favourite prince Lord Rama by decorating the kingdom with oil lamps. Rama lived in forests for fourteen years to fulfil his step-mother Kaikeyi’s desire (Kaikeyi wanted to see her son Bharat as the crown Prince of Ayodhya).
During his stay in the forests, his consort – Sita – got abducted by Ravana, the King of Lanka. She was held captive in Ashoka Vatika by Ravana, who expressed his desire to make her his Queen. But Sita, who was a devout wife, bore all sufferings and waited until her husband Rama landed in Lanka to rescue her and take her home with honour and pride.
With Rama’s return, Ayodhya got its new king, a ruler that the kingdom was eagerly waiting for.
Naraka Chaturdashi falls on the fourteenth day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin according to Hindu calendar. On this day, people in South India celebrate Deepavali. On this day, Lord Krishna killed demon Narakasura to restore peace on earth. Hence this day is of great significance.
The celebration style is same as North India. People decorate their homes with Kolam (rangoli), oil lamps and flowers. They wear new clothes and taking bath before sunrise. People greet each other by exchanging sweets and gifts and later in the day burst crackers.
Here's wishing one and all a very Happy Diwali.