‘Diwali,’ which is also referred to as Deepavali or festival of lights, is one of the most popular Hindu festival in India. The word Deepavali means a ‘row or series of light’. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs to mark historical events, stories or myths, but they all spiritually mark the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair.
Here are the 10 important things that we should know about Diwali:
1. It is celebrated in honor of Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The festival also marks the return of the Lord Rama and Sita after completing fourteen years in exile.
2. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar.
3. Diwali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month of Kartika. It also signifies the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter.
4. Diwali has a special significance in Jainism. Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankar of this era, attained Nirvana or Moksh on this day at Pavapuri on 15 October 527 BCE, on Chaturdashi of Kartika.
5. Diwali also plays a significant role in Sikhism. The foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali in 1577.
6. Diwali, for Sikhs, marks the Bandi Chhor Divas, when Guru Har Gobind Ji freed himself and Hindu Kings, from Fort Gwalior, from the prison of Islamic ruler Jahangir, and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
7. In India’s eastern region, such as West Bengal, Lakshmi is not worshipped, only deity Kali is worshipped and the festival is called Kali Puja. In India’s Braj and north central regions, deity Krishna is recognised. People mark Mount Govardhan, and celebrate legends about Krishna.
8. It is a national holiday in India, Trinidad & Tobago, Myanmar, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana, Singapore, Surinam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji. And is an optional holiday in Pakistan.
9. Gambling which is completely ban in India is played on Diwali. As playing card games during Diwali is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.
10. At the international border, every year on Diwali, Indian forces approach Pakistani forces and offer traditional Indian sweets on the occasion of Diwali. But it seems like this year both the forces of India and Pakistan are busy in different kind of fireworks on the border, as heavy firing is going on from both the sides.