Deepavali or Diwali means "a row of
lights".It falls on the preceding day of the New Moon in the
Malayalam month Thulam (October-November).For some it is a three-day
It commences with the Dhan-Teras, on the
13th day of the dark half of Kartik, followed the next day by the
Narak Chaudas, the 14th day, and by Deepavali proper on the 15th
The legend behind this festival is that
Narakasura, a demon, ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Under
his rule, the villagers suffered a lot of hardship as the demon
tortured the people and kidnapped the women to be imprisoned in
his palace. Seeing his wickedness, Lord Krishna set out to destroy
the demon and the day Narakasura died was celebrated as Deepavali,
the triumph of good over evil!
The Hindus usually awake early in the morning
of deepavali around the brahmamuhurtam (3am) and the first ritual
will be having an oil bath, which is an important feature of Deepavali.
Hindus will be dressed in their new clothes on Deepavali.
The houses would be decorated with oil lamps
and children will play with firecrackers to celebrate the festival.
On the first day, they would not go visiting but would stay at home
to welcome the guests who visit them.
Deepavali may have deeper significance than
what is popularly believed. At the time of the festival the sun
is in the house of Thulam (Libra ie. the scales) which signifies
commerce, and hence the association of Deepavali with merchants
and the Goddess of wealth. The darkness and light symbolize ignorance
and knowledge respectively.