Diwali, signifies as the festival of lights, which celebrates the abundance of autumn harvest and is dedicated to various gods and goddesses. The festival also marks an important date in the Hindu calendar, as according to legends the kingdom of Ayodhya celebrated the coming of Lord Rama after a long exile of fourteen years. The festival celebrates the coming of Lord Rama. The tradition of lighting diyas and candles dates back to history when the people of Avadha lighted diyas through out the kingdom to show way to their beloved Prince Ram, wife Sita and brothers. It is celebrated as the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. Diwali also celebrates the power of the three goddesses, Lakshmi, Kali and Saraswati. Dhanteras is dedicated to Lakshmi, whose blessings are essential for a prosperous, fruitful and peaceful life. Kali-Chudash (the day before Diwali) is dedicated to Goddess Kali whose blessing gives us the strength to maintain the wealth we have. Strength, physical, mental and spiritual, is essential for all of us to lead a happy life. Diwali itself is dedicated to goddess Saraswati. Knowledge is the ultimate wealth, for it cannot be stolen from you; it is also the ultimate strength, for it often defeats brute force.
There are various legends associated with the festival of Diwali. Some of the famous legends are as follows:
According to the legends Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth, was incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi. From that day she is worshipped as the symbol of wealth and prosperity. It is also said that on this very day Lord Vishnu rescued Goddess Lakshmi from the prison of Demon king bali and for that reason Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on the day of Diwali. According to another legend Lord Krishna Killed the demon king Narakaasur on the day preceding Diwali, and rescued women from his captivity. The celebration of this victory of good over evil and celebration of freedom went on for two days including the Diwali day. According to the great epic 'Mahabharata', it was 'Kartik Amavashya' when the Pandavas returned after twelve years of banishment. The people of their kingdom who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps and by welcoming them. The celebration of Diwali is also associated with the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana and returning back to Ayodhya his hometown. The people of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it to welcome their loving prince his wife and brother.