History and Legends of Diwali

There are several legends and stories associated with the festival of Diwali. One of the most popular legends is the return of Lord Rama along with his brother Laxman and wife Sita to Ayodhya after killing the demon king Ravana.

It is believed that Diwali was first celebrated by the people of Ayodhya for commemorating the return of lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Laxman from 14 years long exile after defeating mighty demon Ravana. People of Ayodhya welcomed Rama by lighting clay lamps since that day the celebration of good over evil and happiness over sadness started.

In some regions of India, Diwali is associated with the legend of Yama and Nachiketa on Kartika Hindus Amavasya (Diwali night). The story of Nachiketa teaches us the similar thing --- right versus wrong, true wealth versus transient wealth, and knowledge versus ignorance.

Diwali in Hinduism

The main legend Diwali celebration in Hinduism in the return of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Laxman to Ayodhya from the exile of 14 years after defeating and killing the powerful demon king Ravana. It is said that villagers decorated entire Ayodhya and with earthen diyas and lights to honor and welcome the return of Lord Rama. From that day Diwali is celebrated all over the world by Hindus. There are many other legends and tales associated with Diwali celebration in Hinduism. It also marks the return of Pandavas from the exile.

Diwali in Sikhism

People from Sikh community also celebrate Diwali for their own reasons. Diwali in Sikhism marks the Bandi Chhor Divas, when Guru Har Govind freed himself from the Mughal prison at Gwalior Fort and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. To commemorate this day, Sikh celebrate with annual lighting up of the Golden Temple, fireworks and other joyful activities.

Diwali in Jainism

Diwali has very special significance in Jainism. People from Jain communities celebrate Diwali to commemorate anniversary of Nirvana or liberation of Bhagwan Mahavira’s soul, the last of the Tirthankara. Nirvana Laddoo is offered after praying to Bhagwan Mahavira in all the Jain temples all across the world.

Diwali in Buddhism

Newar Buddhists in Nepal also celebrate Diwali.  According to some scholars, this traditional celebration by Newar Buddhists in Nepal, involving Lakshmi and Vishnu during Diwali. This reflects the freedom granted in the Mahayana Buddhism tradition to worship any deity for their worldly betterment.