Fast, Fair and Festivals of India Fast, Fair and Festivals of India
Meaning : A row of lights
Celebrated due to : The return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya
Religion : Hindu
In the month of : October - November
Diwali, the festival of lights, comes close on the heels of Dussera (also spelt as Dusshera). In Andhra Pradesh it is called as "Deepavali". The Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, is the main deity worshipped. Diwali signifies the advent of joy and happiness and is celebrated for two days. Particularly children await this festival to rejoice with firecrackers, wear new clothes and savour delicious food. The fun and excitement of bursting firecrackers by the young and old alike is unimaginable.
This festival marks the victory of good over evil and brings along with it glowing happiness and the touch of sparklers all around. The actual meaning of Diwali is "row of lights". Diwali is a much-awaited festival for Andhraites, which brings joy and happiness, people exchange gifts, and decorate their houses. Diwali
Factories and shops remain open on Diwali day and Lakshmi Puja is performed in the evenings. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi graces the shops and houses on this day and showers her blessings and bestows good fortune upon her worshippers. There seems to be a change in the perception of lifestyles of people over the years, they are growing conscious of possessing new acquisitions. They started using candles and electrical lighting instead of traditional earthenware lamps.
Legend Behind The Festival

The legend behind these celebrations goes like this, Narakasura, a monster, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. He was a troublemaker to the gods and the pious sages, causing disturbance to their penance and creating havoc during the rituals. To prove his power, Narakasura usurped some territory of Aditi, the king of Suraloka and a relative of Satyabhama, Lord Krishna's wife. He also abducted 16,000 women and imprisoned them in his palace. Vexed with this harassment, the gods led by Indra approached Lord Krishna and pleaded him to protect them from the demon "Narakasura".
Satyabhama was enraged by Narakasura's malevolence towards women and appealed to Krishna to give her golden chance to destroy Narakasura. The legend also says that Narakasura was given a curse that a woman would kill him. Krishna granted Satyabhama a boon to fight with Narakasura.
Satyabhama entered the battlefield, with Krishna as her charioteer. During the war, Krishna swooned for a while, a preordained divinely act adopted to empower Satyabhama to kill the demon, Narakasura. The imprisoned women were released after Narakasura was beheaded. The killing of Narakasura was a victory of good over evil. It is interesting to note that Bhudevi, mother of the slain Narakasura, declared that his death should not be a day of mourning but an occasion to celebrate and rejoice. Since then, Diwali is celebrated every year on this day with a lot of fun and frolic and by burning of fireworks.
The Festivity

Celebrations on Diwali begin at dawn as early as around three in the morning, the family members are given an oil massage, followed by 'Aarti' and then the children burst crackers to mark the joyous day.
At dusk when darkness unfolds itself, you can see a spectacular illumination of tiny flickering lamps adorning in rows - at homes, buildings and streets. Multicoloured and noisy firecrackers are burst with enthusiasm both by young and old. From simple coloured sparklers, pencils, flowerpots, ground 'Chakras' (wheels), Vishnu Chakras, and rockets to the long 'Ladi' / garland crackers, one has got a wide range to choose from.