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Introduction:

Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is one of the most significant festivals celebrated in India and by millions of Indian people living in all over world. Commonly known as the "Festival of Lights", this festival has immense cultural, religious and historical significance. Diwali is a time celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm as families come together to share joy, exchange gifts and light oil lamps or diya lamps to illuminate their homes. But why celebrate Diwali? What is the deeper meaning of this festival of light? In this article, we will focus on the reasons behind the celebration of Diwali.


Historical and Cultural Significance:

1. The victory of light over darkness: Diwali commemorates the victory of light over darkness, justice over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. The origin of this festival lies in various Hindu mythological stories. One of the most famous stories is of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, returning to his kingdom of Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lit oil lamps and set off firecrackers to illuminate the roads to celebrate the victory of good over evil and welcome the return of Rama.

Diwali

2.The Worship of Goddess Lakshmi: Diwali is also celebrated to honour Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity and abundance, and to seek blessings. Goddess Lakshmi is believed to visit homes during Diwali to bring wealth and prosperity to those who keep their homes clean and bright. Therefore, people clean their houses, decorate their houses, and light up lamps to welcome them. This aspect of Diwali is also associated with financial and economic well-being.


3.The Harvest Festival: For some communities in India, Diwali marks the end of the harvest season. It is a time to give thanks for the harvest and celebrate the bounty of nature. Farmers pray and thank the gods for a good harvest, making Diwali an important agricultural festival.


Religious Observance:

4.Sikhism: For Sikhs, Diwali holds special significance as it commemorates the release of the sixth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind Ji, from captivity at Gwalior Fort. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as Bandi Chhor Divas, the "Day of Liberation," by lighting up the Golden Temple and other gurdwaras.


5.Jainism: In Jainism, Diwali is celebrated to mark Lord Mahavira's attainment of nirvana, or spiritual liberation. Devoteesโ€™ light lamps and offer prayers to seek enlightenment and wisdom, which aligns with the broader theme of Diwali.


6.Secular Celebration: Different faiths, languages, and cultures all come together to celebrate Diwali with equal enthusiasm, as it extends beyond any religion or community. During this time, people share joy, exchange gifts, and indulge in a variety of traditional sweets and savoury dishes.


Conclusion:

A festival of immense complexity, Diwali represents a rich blend of history, culture, and religious significance. This special occasion commemorates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and the never-ending search for knowledge and wealth. Passed down from one generation to the next, its customs and traditions have become woven into the very fabric of Indian culture. Beyond India's borders, Diwali has appealed to a wide variety of groups, promoting feelings of solidarity and fostering unity. Known as the "Festival of Lights," Diwali provides people with a sense of possibility, good cheer, and unshakable togetherness.


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