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Diwali dates back to ancient times and is mentioned in Sanskrit texts such as the Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana (second half of 1st millennium AD) as a festival in the Hindu calendar month of Karthika. Skanda Purana made a mention of Diyas (lamps) that symbolize the sun, the cosmic source of light and energy essential for all life. It seasonally transits in the Hindu calendar month of Karthic.
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01. Deepavali (Diwali) is associated with Ammavasya, Chaturdashi,. Dwadashi, Pradhamai Trayodashi and Chaturdashi, depending on the states and regions.
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03. Savithri saved the life of her husband Sathyavan from the claws of death by winning over Yama, the demigod of death.
04. Great philosopher Adi Sankara of Kaladi, Kerala established Gnanapeetham on this day. They later became Mutts.
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06. Lord Buddha attained Nirvana Biksha on this day.
07. In some states like Himachal Pradesh, Govardhana puja is done in honor of Sri. Krishna on this day.
08. The Mogul Emperor Akbar declared Deepavali as official Government holiday for his Hindu subjects and allowed them to fire crackers.
09. It marks the return of Lord Rama, his consort Sita and his brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya from 14 year after Rama's victory over Lanka king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya illuminated the town with oil lights or Diyas , heralding the triumph of good over the evil.
10. For some communities, it marks the return of Pancha Pandava (Mahabharata) after 12 years of Vanvasa and one year of "Agyatavas". Five brothers had to spend their last year of exile incognito.
11. Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Vishnu and goddess of wealth is worshiped, particularly by the business people of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
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13. Goddess Saraswati is venerated as she is the embodiment of knowledge.
15. In states like Odisha and West Bengal, Hindus worship the goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi, and call the festival Kali Puja. Lord Sankara (Shiva), on this day, pacified and subdued goddess Kali who was in rage (in Ugraha form).
16. Sikhs celebrate by lighting the lamps at the golden temple to mark the arrival of Guru Har Gobind who was freed along with some Hindu rulers imprisoned at the Gwalior Fort by the Mogul emperor Jahangir (1699). It is called the Bandi Chhor Divas.
17. For the Jains, on this day Mahaveer attained Nirvana at Pavapuri on 15 October 527 BCE, on Kartik Krishna Amavasya.
18. The day of Deepavali is dedicated to our forefathers - pithroos. It is believed that they visit their descendants on this day.
19. Deepavali is also the birth day of Dhabvantri - the god of health.
20. In Tamil Nadu, on this day, people get up in the early morning and take oil bath - massaging the body with gingelly oil (Nallenai in Tamil). Taking oil bath is a must. Newly married couple celebrate what is called Talai Deepavali (first Deepavali after wedding) at the bride's house and receive gifts.
21. The items given below represent certain purpose and meaning.
Oil (gingelly oil) - Lakshmi (Prosperity); Bathing powder (Sekkakai) - goddess Sararwati (removing ignorance); Sandal paste - Boomi Devi (goddess of earth; better agricultural prospects) ; Kumkumam - goddess Gowri; Sweet water - Amrit; Lakiyam (herbal medicinal paste) - Dhanvantri, god of health (better health); Salt - Fortune, Mahalakshmi (goddess of wealth). Firing crackers - bringing in light and dispelling darkness; Partaking of sweets - experiencing positive energy and joy.
22. Hindus shun non-vegetarian food on this day and it is marked by a visit to the near-by temples.
23. In Nepal, Singapore, Fuji, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Myanmar, Guyana and Sri Lanka Deepavali is declared a national holiday.
24. In the Indonesian island of Bali, the large Balinese Hindu communities celebrate Deepavali.
25. The great king Vikramaditya, on this day, ascended the throne. In 1577, the foundation stone for the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid . Guru Amar Das (third Sikh Guru) institutionalized Diwali as the day of receiving blessings from Gurus.
Dasa Bhuthti (Tamil Magazine, October 2016), Deepavali edition.