Most of us are well schooled in the legends associated with Diwali and why it is celebrated by now – The return of Ram to Ayodhya and the killing of the demon Narakasur are well known and celebrated reasons for the occasion of Diwali depending on which part of India one hails from.
But there are a few lesser known legends that might come as a surprise.
For instance, in certain parts of south India, its believed that Satyabhama, the wife of Lord Krishna is the one who actually killed Narakasur not Krishna himself. According to the story, in accordance with a boon, Naraksur could not be killed by anyone except his mother. Because his mother had died in his childhood, Narakasur considered himself immortal. Satyabhama, a reincarnation of Narakasur’s mother was the one who finally killed him according to this legend.
According to another folktale, the day when God Yama (God of death) visited his sister Yami is celebrated as Bhai Dhooj or Yama Dwitiya on the occasion of Diwali in the northern parts of the country.
In certain parts of Himachal Pradesh, Diwali is celebrated a month after it’s celebrated in the rest of the country, because according to the legend, the news of Lord Ram’s return from the forest reached a month later.
Of course, lots of legends associate Goddess Lakshmi with Diwali. In Kerala, the return of the benevolent asura King Bali for a single day in a year to kingdom is celebrated as Diwali.
In Bengal, the day when Lord Shiva prostrated himself in front of Goddess Kali to rein in her murderous rampage is celebrated as Diwali. King Vikramaditya was also considered to.have ascended his throne on Diwali.
Diwali isn’t merely a Hindu festival. Jains celebrate Diwali as the day when Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana while Sikhs consider it the day when Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru, was set free from imprisonment after fifteen years.
Diwali has traditionally been a time of new beginnings. Businessmen mark the start of a new business year with Diwali, the women believe in a luminuos start to the year ahead with the lighting of lamps and bursting of crackers.
No matter which part of India you hail from and irrespective of the legends that you believe in, Diwali as a festival is a unifying factor across the length and breadth of the country.
Given the air pollution levels and the increased threat of catching covid in a smog filled atmosphere, be sure to have a smoke free and safe Diwali. Below is a throwback post on this topic for your reference.