The festival marks the victory of good over evil. The Sanskrit word Deepavali means array of lights that stands for victory of brightness over darkness. As the knowledge of Sanskrit diminished, the name was popularly misnamed as Diwali specially in northern India.
On the day of Diwali, many wear new clothes, share sweets and light firecrackers. The North Indian business community usually starts their financial new year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.
Hindus find cause to celebrate this festival for different reasons:
In North India, Diwali celebrates the return of the Rama, King of Ayodhya, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya from a war in which he killed the demon king Ravana. It is believed that the people lit oil lamps along the way to light their path in the darkness. In North India, the festival is held on the final day of the Vikram calendar. The following day marks the beginning of the North Indian new year, and is called Annakut.
Children lighting lamps in the form of swastika on eve of diwaliIn South India, it commemorates the killing of Narakasura, an evil demon, by Lord Krishna's wife Sathyabhama. In South India, Diwali does not coincide with the beginning of a new year as South Indians follow a different calendar, the Shalivahana calendar.
In Bhavishyottara and Bramhavaivarta Purana, Diwali is associated with the Daitya king Bali, who is allowed to return to earth once a year.
All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).