Deepavali – The Festival of Lights

Deepavali - The Festival of Lights

Deepavali or Diwali is the dazzling festival of lights. ‘Deep’ means ‘light’ and ‘avali’ means ‘a row’. Hence Deepavali means row of lights. It is the biggest festival celebrated by Hindus across the world and especially in India. The reason why Diwali is celebrated is mentioned in the great Hindu epic of Ramayana.

Long time ago there lived a prince named Ram who was exiled from his kingdom Ayodhya for fourteen long years. Ram set out to live in a jungle and was  joined by brother Lakshman and wife Sita in this banishment. They built a hut and were living peacefully in the jungle. One day a Sita saw a beautiful golden deer. She insisted on having the deer brought back into the hut. Ram went away to get it and put Lakshman in-charge to guard Sita. When Ram did not return after a long time, Sita ordered Lakshman to go look out for him. Worried about her safety, Lakshman drew  ‘lakhshman rekha’ – a protective magical line outside the hut and requested Sita not to overstep it.

As soon as Lakshman left, a Brahmin came to the hut asking for some food. Unaware of any danger, Sita crossed over the line to hand out some food to the Brahmin. The Brahmin was none other than Ravan, the king of Lanka. He kidnapped Sita and brought her to Lanka against her wishes.

Ram and Lakshman were outraged when they found Sita missing and set out to bring her back. On the way, they met several people including Hanuman and his monkey-faced tribe. They became his army and marched with him to Lanka.

A battle ensued between Ram and Ravan. The war went on for several days and ended when Ram killed Ravan. Sita was finally reunited with her husband, and they returned to Ayodhya.

The overjoyed people of Ayodhya celebrated the return of their prince Ram by illuminating their homes with lights of earthen oil lamps. Today, people celebrate the day by putting up fancy lighting in their homes, oil lamps  and by bursting firecrackers.

How did you celebrate your Diwali?



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