Different colours of Diwali
We all know that Diwali is a five-day festival when Indians around the globe celebrate it with sweets, lights and love. Let’s read how different regions and religions interpret this beautiful festival…
In northern India, Indians celebrate the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps or diyas.
Southern India it’s celebrated as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
Another day, considered to be part of the Diwali celebration, is Bhau Beej (as referred to in Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka). It is also known as Bhai Tika, Bhathru Dwithiya, Bhai Dooj in the northern parts of the country. As the story goes, the God of Death, Yamraj, visited his sister Yami (or Yamuna) on this special day. For this reason, the day is also known as Yama Dwitiya.
In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
In West Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshipped on Diwali. It’s called Kali pujo. Kali was born from Goddess Durga’s forehead to restore peace in heaven and on earth. After destroying all the demons, she wore a garland of the slain demon heads around her neck. However, she lost control and started destroying anything that came in her way.
It is widely believed that the coronation of the great king Vikramaditya took place on the day after Diwali. The day is known as Padwa or Varshapratipada. Vikramaditya (102 BCE – 15 BCE) was the emperor of Ujjain. He was famous for his valour, wisdom and magnanimity. The Vikram Samvat calendar was founded by King Vikramaditya following his victory over the Saka rulers in 56 BCE. The calendar starts from 57 BCE.
In Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C. According to Jain texts, Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth and last tirthankara, a teacher who preaches the dharma, is said to have attained nirvana (moksha) on the day of Diwali. Lord Mahavira’s soul is said to have become Siddha, the purest form for a soul.
In Sikhism, it honours the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment along with other 52 princes. Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting the Golden Temple and this tradition continues today.
Buddhist also celebrate Diwali. It is celebrated by the Buddhist community as it is considered that on this day the Emperor Ashoka was converted to Buddhism. That’s why they celebrate Diwali as the Ashok Vijayadashami. They celebrate it by chanting mantras as well as remembering Emperor Ashoka.