The festival of lights has just gone by and we are hardly over it yet. As a nation, we celebrate this one festival with more joy and fervor than any other!
A five-day celebration, it commences on the 15th day of Kartika- a Hindu month. The first day is celebrated as Dhanteras, the second day as Naraka Chaturdasi- the day when Satyabhama, Krishna’s wife, killed Narakasur while the third is the main day of Diwali. It is followed by Govardhan Puja and Bhai Duj.
Celebrated across the length and breadth of the country irrespective of caste, region, and religion, it is only fair that this beloved festival has quite some legends and stories attached to it with various adaptions of them too.
Here are some of the often known ones:
Legend has it that once lived a demon named Narakasur who had the boon that he would be killed only by his mother. His mother’s death in his childhood made him an immortal and with these powers, he began tormenting people of both Earth and Heaven. Lord Krishna hence asked Satyabhama who was a reincarnation of Naraksur’s mother to kill him, thereby setting free the 16,000 women he had held captive.
According to some legends, it is believed that Pandavas who were unfairly ousted from their kingdom into exile returned on this day. It is also believed by some that Lord Rama returned from his exile on this day as well. As he was adored by his people, they welcomed him by lighting lamps and hence it came to be called Deepavali or the festival of lamps.
Bhai Duj or Bhau-bheej as it is called in some cultures is celebrated on the 5th day of Diwali. Lord Yama, the god of death visited his sister Yami on this day to bless her. This day henceforth became auspicious and it is believed that any brother who visits his sister on this day would be free from all evil and sins.
Mostly popular in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, Kali Puja forms an important part of the Diwali festival. It is said that Devi Kali, an incarnation of Goddess Durga, killed all the demons walking Earth and wore their heads as a garland. Unable to control her rage, she started destroying everything that came her way. In order to stop her, Lord Shiva lay down in front of her. As she stepped on him, she came back into her senses.
Holding such prominence across India, Diwali calls in for special celebrations and decorations not just before but also after the festival.
This festive season, bring home some of our exquisite pieces of art, idols of Lord Ganesha and Devi Lakshmi and more.
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