CREDOS : Deepawali — II

On the occasion of Deepawali, people ask for each other’s forgiveness for the wrongs done knowingly and unknowingly and mutual relationships are re-established and strengthened. Thus, all enmity is forgiven and forgotten and people embrace one another.

At night, Goddess Lakshmi along with Lord Ganesh are worshipped, old accounts closed and new ones opened. People throng bazaars during the night to watch the illumination. Special shops are also set up, and there is a brisk buying of sweets, utensils, clothes and jewellery.

Tihar also marks the advent of the new season and the sowing of new crop-seeds. The new Vikrama Era begins on this day and account books are opened. The famous King Vikramaditya, after whom the era is named, was crowned on this day. People greet each other and distribute sweets.

In many places, Goddess Kali is worshipped with great fervour on this day. The Jains celebrate Deepawali as a day of final liberation and moksha of Lord Mahavira. Similarly swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, attained salvation on this day. The great Swami Rama Tirtha also entered his final jal samadhi on this tithi.

At Jain shrines, special puja festivals are held, sacred scriptures read and recited and Lord Mahavira worshipped. Thus this festival symbolises man’s urge to move forward towards the light of truth from the darkness of ignorance and unhappn-ess. — Fasts and Festivals of India (Concluded)