Diwali is the most significant festival in Indian history. It is celebrated by millions of people every year. The celebrations for this five-day festival commences with Narak Chaturdashi, which celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over the evil demon Narak. According to the Puranas, Narak, unleashed a reign of terror in the kingdom of Kamarupa, even resorting to annoying celestial beings.
The world from this malevolent being. However, Lord Krishna soon realized that Narak was not one to go down easily as he was the benefactor of a boon which declared that he would face death only at the hands of his mother Bhudevi. So, Krishna requested his consort Satyabhama, the reincarnation of Bhudevi to be his charioteer for the inevitable battle.
When Lord Krishna feigned unconsciousness after being hit by an arrow, Satyabhama took the bow and arrow and killed Narak instantaneously. The slaying of Narak signifies that parents ought not to hesitate to punish their children for the greater good of the society. It reminds people to place the good of society before their own personal gains and bonds.
On the second day of Diwali the Lakshmi Puja is performed. It is believed that Goddess Lakshmi,
the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, will visit well-lit homes on this day. Legend has it that on this day the benevolent Goddess emerged from the Ocean of milk when the Gods and Demons were churning the ocean for elixir.
It is also believed that Lord Vishnu descended upon earth in the form of a poor Brahmin Vamana, and sought three feet of land from the demon king Bali. When the king agreed, Vishnu covered the heavens and the earth with two feet and asked the king where he should place his third foot.
The king laid down his head at Lord Vishnu's feet to symbolize that he should put it on the king's head. Lord Vishnu then exiled the evil king Bali to Patal (nether land) by placing his foot on the king's head. On Amavasya day, Lord Vishnu returned to the heavens after vanquishing Bali, the Goddess Lakshmi was delighted to see him and therefore she bestows her blessings to all those who are good and moral on this day.
The third day is Bali Padyami, so called because on this day Bali came out of Patal Lok and became ruler of Bhulok as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is called Yama Dvitya. Popularly it is known as Bhai Dhuj and is the day when sisters and brother reaffirm and strengthen their relationship.
In North India, Diwali is celebrated to rejoice over the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. In anticipation of his return and to welcome back their beloved King, the people of Ayodhya illuminated the entire town with beautiful oil lamps and diyas. They also burst crackers and set up a dazzling display of fireworks.
The Bengalis celebrate this day to worship Goddess Durga who successfully vanquished the demon Mahisusara on the very same day thereby saving people a lot of grief.