Indian festivals reflect the culture of this land. Diwali / Deepavali is the festival of lights which people across the country celebrate with utmost happiness bringing everyone together.
Deepavali means Deep (Earthen cups) = light, avail = row.
Reason to celebrate Deepavali.
1.It is believed after killing Ravana in Lanka, Lord Rama along with Sita Devi and brother Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya on this same day and people celebrated his return with lighting lamps all across the kingdom.
2. When a demon named Narkasura was killed people celebrated in happiness.
Narkasura was the evil demon who caused a lot of trouble to all creatures of the world.
Narkasura was born to Varaha Swamy (3rd incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and Bhudevi at early evening time. He got a boon from his parents that he can be killed only by his mother.
Lord Vishnu in Dvapara Yuga took birth as Lord Sri Krishna and Bhudevi as Satya Bhama.
Lord Sri Krishna went into war with Narkasura along with Satya Bhama and as promised Narkasura is killed by Satya Bhama, Narkasura got a boon from Sri Krishna of naming this day by his name as Naraka Chaturdasi.
Deepavali falls on Aswayuja Masam, Amavasya day (No moon day), a day before Deepavali is Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi, and it is also called as Naraka Chaturdasi.
Why Deep are Lighted
Deepam Jyothi: Parambrahma Deepam Sarvatamopaham|
Deepena Sadhyate Sarvam Sandhya Deepa Namosthuthe||
Deepam / Deep is represented as Parabrahma roopam (form), mental peace, happiness, smile, togetherness.
Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi is widely known as Naraka Chaturdasi.
As Narkasura died on Chaturdasi people celebrated the next day Amavasya by lighting lamps, firing crackers and it continued as Deepavali since then till date.
Upanishads state “Darkness is spread everywhere”, though the sun brings light in the day, we have to light lamps to remove darkness around us during night.
Deepam / deep has great importance in our culture. Any auspicious program is started by lighting lamp.
How is Deepavali Celebrated
Women in India starting from Aswayuja Bahula Chaturdasi throughout Kartika Masam (32 days) light lamps in evenings. On the last day, these lights are floated in water bodies or rivers or into the sea.
To avoid untimely death lamps are lighted on Thriyodasi night in the houses.
On Chaturdasi one should apply oil to the head and take a head bath by putting mango leaves, marri (morceae) leaves, Juvvi (kind of Fig) leaves, Athi Leaves and Neredu (Black Plum) leaves in bathing water. Wear new clothes and perform lord Vishnu and Lakshmi Pooja at home or in the temple, by doing this one can be blessed by “Ashta Aishwarya”.
Sri Sukthi or Lakshmi Sahasra Nama Stotra or Ashtotra has to be recited for Lakshmi blessings.
Benefits of Celebrating Deepavali
Deepavali festival falls in the early winter season, due to the rainy season before winter and cold weather infections are caused, by lighting lamps and firing crackers the smoke causes these germs and various types of insects are eradicated.
Lighting lamps remove darkness around us, brings happiness and peace to mind. Houses are decorated with rangolis, lamps, people wear new clothes, cook traditional foods, share sweets with friends and relatives. Crackers are fired to mark the victory of good over evil.