‘Diwali (Divali, Dipawali, Deepavali, Dipabali) are a festival of Lights celebrated for four day by all Hindus very ceremoniously. ‘Deep’ means ‘Light’ and ‘Awali’ means a ‘row’. Spreading the Lamps in a row on this day not only gives light to remove the dark, but also also represents the removal of ignorance to enlighten the wisdom in every body’s life. To drive away the darkness in the streets – Street Lamps are used, to remove the darkness (hard times) in the family – Lamp in the Pooja room, to remove the darkness in us – Gnana Deep (wisdom light). When we illuminate a lamp, we should present the divine and zealous attention. The Clay Lamp, Wick, Oil and Dheepa Aradhana all are symbol for Panchabhootha. We can see the existence of the five elements of Nature i.e., Panchabhootha in the clay lamp. It comprises of Air, Water, Land, Fire and Sky. The Clay lamp represents the Earth/Land, Thailam (Oil) represents the Water, the white Wick represents the clear Sky, the Air (Vayu) supports the flame to burn, and the Flame represents the element Fire. The wick of the lamp will not burn on its own. Someone must have the intention to remove the darkness and should get a matchbox. The stick should be stricken with the box, and then only light comes and touching the wick will caught fire. Likewise, a human will not learn everything since from his birth. Determination supported with conscious hard work leads to proper achievement of desired goals.
The Mythology stories said behind the origin of the Celebration of Diwali or Deepawali since from the ancient times is mentioned in the popular epics of Hindus, Mahabharatha and Ramayana and some other Puranas also. Among them a few are mentioned below.
According to Epic Mahabharatha, Narakasura who is a Demon King over swelled and conceited for having undefeatable boons trembled Indhra Lokha, Devas, Rishis (Sages) and even the Humans. Due to his boundless torture, the Devas and the Sages surrender before Lord Sree Krishna. Sathyapathi sounded his Shanku to start the war against the Demon and meanwhile joined Sathya Devi (his Consort) and killed the Demon. On seeing the Victory over the Demon, the Devas started clamoring ‘Dheepam Kuryaath’, ‘Deepam Kuryaath’, which means lit up the Lamps, lit up the Lamps, the Maharshis ordered and the Humans celebrated that day as a festival by lighting up Lamps representing that everybody has came out to Light (independence) from the Naraka which means Hell symbolically says Darkness. In order to celebrate the darkness only they started lighting the Lamps.
Another Legend as per the same epic narrates that in order to celebrate the homecoming Pandava Brothers along with Dhroupathy Devi to Hasthinapur after completing their 13 year exile period, the common humans of the town decorated with clay lamp lights to express their happiness. Since then that day of the month of every year is being celebrated traditionally as Deepawali.
According to Epic Ramayana, Rama, the prince of Ayodhya was ordered by his father, King Dasharatha, to go away from his kingdom to live up the forest life for fourteen years and come back. So Rama went on exile with his devoted wife Sita and faithful brother, Lakshmana. Mean while Ravana, the demon king of Lanka abducted Sita and kept her in his island kingdom, Rama killed Ravana and his army men with the help of Hanuma and his Kapisena. He rescued Sita and returned to Ayodhya after his exile period. The people of Ayodhya were very happy to hear of their beloved noble prince’s returning back. In order to celebrate Rama’s return to Ayodhya, the entire city was decorated with flowers and leaves garland, every townsman lit up earthen Lamps in front of their houses, and burst crackers. Thus it is believed that started the tradition of celebrating the Light Festival (Deepawali). To make him forget the hard times spent by Lord in the dark forest for the fourteen years the townsman welcomed him with rows of light rows in front of their houses and even in the streets.
As per another Hindu Scripture that when churning the Milk ocean, Agni (Fire) born along with Mahalakshmi which is the ultimate survival source for the living beings on the earth. It is the Shakthi (Energy) for the living beings. The day when Agni (Fire) born is being celebrated as Deepawali by Lighting up the Lamps which is made of clay.
It is also believed that Lord Vishnu married Goddess Lakshmi who arouse from the Milky Ocean on the same day during the night on the new moon day. Lamps were illuminated and placed in rows to mark this holy occasion. This event is supposed to have given rise to an annual celebration at the same time each year. Even today, Hindus celebrate the birth of the goddess Lakshmi and her marriage day with Lord Vishnu on Deepawali.