CREDOS: Deepawali — I

Deepawali or the festival of lights is an important and popular festival celebrated throughout the country in one form or the other. It falls on the last day of the dark half of Kartik (October-November). As a matter of fact, the festival, also called Tihar, is a five-day-long affair, but the main celebrations take place on the day of Deepawali.

Deepawali is associated with several legends. One says that on this auspicious day Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune, roams about and visits the houses of people. Therefore, people tidy up their homes, establishments and shops and decorate them lavishly to welcome the goddess. In the night she is worshipped with great devotion. It also commemorates the triumph of Lord Ram over Ravan, and Ram’s return to Ayodhya. It is also on this day that Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasura. A few days before the festival, the houses are whitewashed and completely cleaned. The courtyards, the gates and the place of worship are decorated with flowers, intricate coloured paperwork and every nook and corner of the house is illuminated with earthen lamps or candles, and fireworks go off well into the night.

On the day of Deepawali, people get up early in the morning, clean their homes and after the completion of daily chores, attire themselves in their best clothes and move freely in the

atmosphere of gaiety, mirth, greetings and festivity.

Lots of sweets are prepared and exchanged along with greetings. — Fasts and Festivals of India