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Diwali History
The festival of Diwali has been celebrated for ages and the history of Diwali celebrations is as old as the history of India. Everyone on this festival enjoys the delicious Diwali sweets, the brightly lit Diwali Lamps and Diwali diyas, and the excitement for living that suddenly grips people around this time. But the festival of Diwali symbolizes much more than these things. This real meaning of Diwali can be understood in the history of Diwali, which tells you the story behind the origin and the grand celebrations of Diwali.The history of Diwali, one of the greatest festivals celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervor all over the country is replete with different kinds of legends,

which are moored to the Puranas, the mythological scriptures of Hindus. There have been so many important legends associated with the occasion of Diwali that five days have been accredited for the celebration of Diwali in India with each day holding importance of its own. The following are the five days of Diwali, each having the rituals and myths of its own. · Dhanteras
· Choti Diwali
· Diwali
· Padwa
· Bhaiya-Dooj

Dhanteras
The first day of Diwali is known by the name of Dhanteras or Dhantryaodashi, which falls on the thirteenth day of the month of Ashwin. The word 'Dhan' signifies wealth and hence this day holds utmost importance for the business houses and for the rich people's community. According to a legend associated with this particular day sixteen-year-old son of King Hima according to his horoscope was doomed to die on the fourth day of his marriage by snakebite. Thus on the fourth day of his marriage his much worried young bride lighted innumerable lamps all over the place and laid all kinds of ornaments and lots of gold and silver coins in a big heap at the entrance of her husband's boudoir and went on telling stories and singing songs through the night. When Yam-the god of death arrived there in the guise of a serpent the dazzle of those brilliant lights blinded his eyes and he could not enter the prince's chamber. So he climbed the heap of the ornaments and coins and sat their whole night listening to the melodious songs. In the morning He went away quietly. Thus the wife saved her husband and since then this day of Dhanteras came to be known as the day of "Yamadeepdaan".

Choti Diwali
The second day of celebration of Diwali in India is known by the name of 'Choti Diwali' and is celebrated with the same fervor and enthusiasm as the main day of Diwali. The legend related to this day is about King Bali of the nether world whose mighty power had become a threat to the gods. In order to curb his powers Lord Vishnu in the guise of a small boy visited him and begged him to give him only that much land which he could cover with his three steps. Known for his philanthropy King Bali proudly granted him his wish. So with his first step Lord Vishnu covered the entire heaven and with the second step the earth and asked Bali where to keep his third step. Bali offered his head and putting his foot on his head Vishnu pushed him down to the underworld. Though for his generosity Lord Vishnu allowed him to return to earth once a year to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance and spread the radiance of love and wisdom.

Diwali
The Third day of the festival of Diwali is the most important day of Lakshmi-Puja, which is entirely devoted to the propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi. This day is also known by the name of "Chopada-Puja". The day of Lakshmi-Puja falls on the dark night of Amavasya. It is believed that on this auspicious day Lord Krishna discarded his body. One more interesting story related to this day is of a small boy called Nichiketa who believed that Yam, the god of Death was as black as the dark night of amavasya. But when he met Yam in person, he was puzzled seeing Yam's calm countenance and dignified stature. Yam explained to Nichiketa on this day of amavasya that by only passing through the darkness of death, man sees the light of highest wisdom and then only his soul can escape from the bondage of his mortal frame to mingle with the Supreme Power without whose will nothing moves in the world. It was then that Nichiketa realized the importance of worldly life and significance of death. Nichiketa's all doubts were set at rest and he whole-heartedly participated in Diwali celebrations.

Padwa
The Fourth day is called Padwa or VarshaPratipada that marks the coronation of King Vikramaditya and the starting of the Vikaram-Samvat. Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on this day. As per Vishnu-Puran, the people of Gokul used to celebrate a festival in honor of Lord Indra and worshipped him after the end of every monsoon season. Though one particular year the young Krishna stopped them from offering prayers to Lord Indra who in terrific anger sent a deluge to submerge Gokul. Krishna saved his Gokul by lifting up the Govardhan Mountain and holding it over the people as an umbrella. This day is also observed as Annakoot and prayers are offered in the temples.

Bhaiya-Dooj
The Fifth and final day of Diwali Festival is known by the name of "Bhaiya-Dooj" This day is observed as a symbol of love between sisters and brothers. It is believed that on this day Yamraj -the god of death visited his sister Yami and she put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, they ate, talked and enjoyed together and exchanged special gifts as a token of their love for each other and Yamraj announced that anyone who receives tilak from his sister on this day will be blessed. Since then it has became imperative for the brother to go to his sister's house to celebrate Bhaiya Dooj.




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