Diwali celebrates new beginnings
Diwali or Deepawali is a four-day festival of lights celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.
The festival of lights is said to illuminate the country with its brilliance and dazzle people with its joy.
The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
Hindus interpret the Diwali story based upon where they live. In northern India they celebrate the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya from a 14-yearlong exile after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps. Southern India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
Historically, Diwali can be traced back to ancient India and it most likely began as an important harvest festival.
Each day of Diwali has its own tale to tell. The first day of the festival, Naraka Chaturdasi, marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi when she is in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who, in his dwarf incarnation, vanquished the tyrant Bali and banished him to hell. Bali is allowed to return to Earth once a year to light millions of lamps and dispel darkness and ignorance while spreading the radiance of love and wisdom.
It is on the third day of Deepawali, Kartika Shudda Padyami, that Bali steps out of hell and rules the Earth according to the gift given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
A Palmerston North Shree dancer.