Representational Image(Pixabay)
Representational Image(Pixabay)

Happy Diwali 2020: History and significance of the Festival of Lights

Diwali 2020: Also known as Deepawali, is the Hindu festival of lights which is celebrated by Indians all over the globe.
By hindustantimes.com | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 12, 2020 05:42 PM IST

Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is the Hindu festival of lights which is celebrated by Indians all over the globe. Deepavali, which translates as ‘a row of lights’ is one of the most significant of all Hindu festivals and is celebrated over a period of 5 days. It is observed on the 15th day of the month of Kartika and in accordance with the Hindu lunar calendar, this month is considered the holiest. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on November 14.

Diwali 2020: History and significance

Diwali is not only significant because of its massive popularity and brilliant displays of fireworks but also because it symbolises the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil and of knowledge over ignorance. On this day, diyas, candles and lamps are placed all around the house, to ‘light’ the way to knowledge and victory. Each house is decorated with various assortments of coloured lights and diyas. The entire country is bathed in the soft glow of light and warmth emanating from every household, making it a truly wondrous sight to behold.

The celebration of Diwali also serves as a cleansing ritual, one that signifies letting go of all of the past year’s worries and troubles and stepping into the light. In the days leading up to Diwali, families get together to clean, renovate and decorate their respective households and workplaces with rangolis and diyas. Diwali marks the onset of winter and the beginning of all things new, both in nature and humanity.

On this day, celebrants dress themselves their finest, brand new clothing and offer prayers to the various Gods and Goddesses, according to their own familial traditions.

History

The celebration of Diwali can find its roots in ancient India and it is likely that it began as a significant harvest festival. And as with many Hindu festivals, the origins of Diwali differ from region to region, which can be vastly attributed to the culture of stories and legends being passed down through generations through the spoken word.

Some are of the belief that Diwali is the celebration of Goddess Laxmi’s marriage to Lord Vishnu. Some even consider this day as the auspicious occasion of her birthday, as it is a popular belief that she was born in the month of Kartika on a new moon (Amavasya).

In certain regions, like Bengal, this festival is dedicated to Goddess Kali, the dark Goddess of strength. In other regions, devotees offer prayers to the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesh. But in all mythology and history, Diwali marks the day that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, after being in exile for 14 long years, to reclaim his throne and fulfil his duty. His return is all the more significant due to his victory over the demon king Ravana. It was in celebration of their King’s return, that the people of Ayodhya illuminated the kingdom with diyas, to light his way home.

Five days of celebration

Each of the five days of Diwali have their own significance and designation, where the first day – Naraka Chaturdasi marks the defeat of the demon Naraka at the hands of Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.

On the second day – Amavasya, devotees pray to the Goddess Laxmi, as many believe that she is in a most benevolent moon during this period and often grants wishes to her followers. On Amavasya, people also narrate the story of Lord Vishnu, who took on the incarnation of a dwarf and banished Bali to hell. Only during the festival of lights is Bali permitted to roam the world again, to spread Lord Vishnu’s message of love, compassion and knowledge, and also light diyas along the way.

The third day – Kartika Shudda Padyami, Bali steps out of Hell and rules the earth as per the boons given to him by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day – Yama Dvitiya, also known as Bhai Dooj, is observed, and is associated with sisters inviting their brothers into their home.

The fifth day – Dhanteras, is a celebration of wealth and prosperity. It is celebrated two days before Diwali and people around the world try their hand at gambling as it is considered that with Goddess Parvati’s blessing, whoever gambles on this day will be showered with prosperity throughout the coming year. According to legend, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband, Lord Shiva, on this day.

In addition to all the fun, gambling and firecrackers surrounding the celebration of Diwali, it is an inherently philosophical festival. One that places great significance on the ‘light’ and the prevalence of good over evil. This Diwali lets us pray to the Gods for guidance and patience during the Covid-19 pandemic. Have a happy and safe Diwali.

Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Failure to restrict travel before the Lunar New Year travel period last year was blamed for the spread of the coronavirus, especially since the central city of Wuhan. (Unsplash)
Failure to restrict travel before the Lunar New Year travel period last year was blamed for the spread of the coronavirus, especially since the central city of Wuhan. (Unsplash)

China's big holiday travel season light so far

AP, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:00 PM IST
Efforts to dissuade Chinese from traveling for Lunar New Year appeared to be working as Beijing’s main train station was largely quiet and estimates of passenger totals were smaller than in past years.
Close
A new research suggested that minocycline, an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties, improved depressive symptoms in patients with low-grade peripheral inflammation.(Unsplash)
A new research suggested that minocycline, an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties, improved depressive symptoms in patients with low-grade peripheral inflammation.(Unsplash)

Antibiotic may improve depressive symptoms in people with low-level inflammation

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:00 PM IST
While antibiotics are widely used to treat bacterial infections and other illnesses, a new research suggested that minocycline, an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties, improved depressive symptoms in patients with low-grade peripheral inflammation.
Close
While people have turned to cooking, reading, among other activities to deal with the health crisis, which brings a fresh supply of stress every day, the use of social media apps has also spiked.(Pixabay)
While people have turned to cooking, reading, among other activities to deal with the health crisis, which brings a fresh supply of stress every day, the use of social media apps has also spiked.(Pixabay)

Study links use of social media apps to feelings of isolation during Covid-19

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 12:56 PM IST
Some 86 per cent of the respondents reported that their use of videoconferencing tools increased during the pandemic. The increased use of online communication tools could in part be driven by feelings of isolation.
Close
Dubai imposed further restrictions on air travel and hospitals as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the United Arab Emirates.(Unsplash)
Dubai imposed further restrictions on air travel and hospitals as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the United Arab Emirates.(Unsplash)

Dubai puts more curbs on travel, hospitals as virus cases climb

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:58 AM IST
Dubai imposed further restrictions on air travel and hospitals as coronavirus cases continue to climb in the United Arab Emirates.
Close
The Cannes Film Festival, cancelled last year due to the pandemic, is postponing the 2021 edition from May to July in hopes of having an in-person festival. (Instagram)
The Cannes Film Festival, cancelled last year due to the pandemic, is postponing the 2021 edition from May to July in hopes of having an in-person festival. (Instagram)

Covid-19 impact: Cannes Film Festival postponed until July

ANI, Washington [us]
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:46 AM IST
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put a halt to almost everything, with top film festivals and various cultural activities facing the brunt of the health crisis.
Close
Recipe: In a mood for dessert? Try crisp and crunchy apple spice blondie bars(Instagram/ lifebygabb)
Recipe: In a mood for dessert? Try crisp and crunchy apple spice blondie bars(Instagram/ lifebygabb)

Recipe: In a mood for dessert? Try crisp and crunchy apple spice blondie bars

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:37 AM IST
  • If you are a blondie lover, check out this easy dessert recipe of mouthwatering apple spice blondie bars that are loaded with fresh apples, cinnamon and nutmeg in each bite
Close
Higher dietary consumption of long chain omega-3 fatty acids during childhood, the risk of developing subsequent asthma reduces in children carrying a common gene variant.(Yahoo)
Higher dietary consumption of long chain omega-3 fatty acids during childhood, the risk of developing subsequent asthma reduces in children carrying a common gene variant.(Yahoo)

Asthma can be prevented by consuming omega-3 fatty acids: Study

ANI
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:12 AM IST
Researchers during a recent study have found that by higher dietary consumption of long chain omega-3 fatty acids during childhood, the risk of developing subsequent asthma reduces in children carrying a common gene variant.
Close
The facility has been closed to new arrivals.(Unsplash)
The facility has been closed to new arrivals.(Unsplash)

Australia-New Zealand travel bubble suspended for 3 more days

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:47 AM IST
Australia suspended its travel bubble with New Zealand for another 72 hours after two more cases of Covid-19 were reported in Auckland.
Close
Colombia President Ivan Duque on Wednesday announced the 30-day measure. No flights will take off from Colombia to Brazil either.(Yahoo)
Colombia President Ivan Duque on Wednesday announced the 30-day measure. No flights will take off from Colombia to Brazil either.(Yahoo)

Colombia bans flights from Brazil due to variant

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:09 AM IST
Colombia will ban flights from Brazil effective Friday over concerns of a variant of the coronavirus that is circulating in that country.
Close
Recipe: Let soft and chewy oatmeal choc chip cookies be your new comfort food(Instagram/ lifebybaneet)
Recipe: Let soft and chewy oatmeal choc chip cookies be your new comfort food(Instagram/ lifebybaneet)

Recipe: Let soft and chewy oatmeal choc chip cookies be your new comfort food

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 10:03 AM IST
  • Drooling at the thought of soft cookies with flakey oats and chocolate chips? Here’s a super simple recipe to bake your own oatmeal choc chip cookies and sink your teeth into their chewy texture to brush aside mid-week blues with these health benefits
Close
Acknowledgement of that principle from the United Nations agency is vital to the development of a digital-travel pass aimed at getting people moving again once infection rates ease. (Unsplash)
Acknowledgement of that principle from the United Nations agency is vital to the development of a digital-travel pass aimed at getting people moving again once infection rates ease. (Unsplash)

Airlines ask WHO to back quarantine-free travel after vaccines

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 09:33 AM IST
The airline industry has called on the World Health Organization to rule it’s safe for people to fly without quarantining once they’ve had a coronavirus vaccine.
Close
Bernie Sanders' trending look recreated into a crochet doll, sells for over $20K(Twitter/iamknitguy/PhilipWegmann)
Bernie Sanders' trending look recreated into a crochet doll, sells for over $20K(Twitter/iamknitguy/PhilipWegmann)

Bernie Sanders' trending look recreated into a crochet doll, sells for over $20K

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:37 AM IST
American woman Tobey King's crocheting skills tapped into the meme trend on Bernie Sanders with the iconic mittens, sold Bernie doll for over $20K and donated the money to charity
Close
New Zealand tightens quarantine, Australia's decision on travel bubble awaited(Twitter/DStone2RC)
New Zealand tightens quarantine, Australia's decision on travel bubble awaited(Twitter/DStone2RC)

New Zealand tightens quarantine, Australia's decision on travel bubble awaited

Reuters
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 08:51 AM IST
New Zealand tightens quarantine as Australia decides on resuming travel bubble under which travellers could arrive in Australia from New Zealand without the need to quarantine for 14 days.
Close
Botticelli's 1470s 'masterpiece' expected to sell for $80 million in New York(Twitter/LanceKlass)
Botticelli's 1470s 'masterpiece' expected to sell for $80 million in New York(Twitter/LanceKlass)

Botticelli's 1470s 'masterpiece' expected to sell for $80 million in New York

AFP
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 08:31 AM IST
  • Italian renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli's 200 years old portrait, Young Man Holding a Roundel, is the highlight of Sotheby's Masters Week sale in New York and is expected to top $80 million in the auction on Thursday
Close
Here's how fat loss near skin's surface is real culprit behind facial ageing(Shutterstock)
Here's how fat loss near skin's surface is real culprit behind facial ageing(Shutterstock)

Here's how fat loss near skin's surface is real culprit behind facial ageing

ANI
UPDATED ON JAN 28, 2021 08:25 AM IST
A recent study has revealed how the loss of fat in the midface - the area between the eyes and mouth - over time accelerates facial ageing.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP