CREDOS : Festival of lights — I
Deepavali or Diwali means “a row of lights”. It falls on the last two days of the dark half of Kartik (Oct.-Nov.). For some it is a three-day festival. It commences with the Dhan-Teras, on the 13th day of the dark half of Kartik, followed the next day by the Narak Chaudas, the 14th day, and by Deepavali proper on the 15th day.
There are various alleged origins attributed to this festival. Some hold that they celebrate the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Kali. It also commemorates that blessed day on which the triumphant Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. On this day also Sri Krishna killed the demon Narakasura. In South India people take an oil bath in the morning and wear new clothes.
They partake of sweetmeats. They light fireworks, which are regarded as the effigies of Narakasura who was killed on this day.
They greet one another, asking, “Have you had your Ganges bath?” which actually refers to the oil bath that morning as it is regarded as purifying as a bath in the holy Ganges.
Everyone forgets and forgives the wrongs done by others. There is an air of freedom, festivity and friendliness everywhere. This festival brings about unity. It instills charity in the hearts of people.
Everyone buys new clothes for the family. Employers, too, purchase new clothes for their employees. Waking up during the ‘Brahmamuhurta’ (at 4 am) is a great blessing. — About.com