Lesser Known Facts about Diwali

Diwali- Lesser Known Facts

Lesser Known Facts about Diwali

Lesser Known Facts about Diwali
Lesser Known Facts about Diwali
Compiled and Edited by Desh-Videsh Staff

Diwali or Deepavali is celebrated in many countries, and many mark it with an official holiday. In India, Kenya, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji, the holiday is celebrated by many communities, not only the Hindus. More than 800 million people all over the world celebrate this festival in various ways.

Diwali at the Golden TempleDiwali at the Golden Temple
Sikhs celebrate Diwali as Bandhi Chhor Diwas, which marks the release of Guru Hargobind, the sixth guru, from prison in the Gwalior Fort in 1619. Guru Hargobind also rescued 52 Hindu kings held captive by Mughal Emperor with him. Sikhs also celebrate this festival to commemorate the laying of the foundation stone for the Golden Temple in 1577.

Origins of Gambling on Diwali Night
Origins of Gambling on Diwali NightFor some, one aspect of the Diwali festivities include all-night card parties that take place. According to Hindu myths, it was believed that Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva often played games of dice. On the day of Diwali too, they gambled, and Parvati defeated Shiva. So she announced that whoever gambles on Diwali will acquire wealth, irrespective of whether they win or lose.  The scene has been immortalised on stone at the eighth century Kailash Temple in Ellora.

Diwali in the CommunityDiwali in the Community
Jains celebrate it as the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira. He attained Nirvana or Moksha on this day at Pavapuri on Oct. 15, 527 BC,

On the auspicious day of Diwali, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, founder of Brahma-Samaj, took Samadhi.

Businesses also start new accounting books, and farmers end the harvest season. The festival also signals the onset of winter.

Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on the day of Diwali Religious Aspects of Diwali
Diwali is a five day festival that  includes Vahg Baras, Dhanteras, Naraka Chaturdasi or Kali Chaudas, Amavasya or Diwali and New Year. Narak Chaturdasi is also known as Choti Diwali.

It is believed that Diwali is the day Lord Shiva accepted Shakti into the left half of the form and appeared as Ardhanarishvara (half man, half-women).

Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on the day of Diwali because on this very day Lord Vishnu rescued her from the prison of Demon King Bali.

Buddhists celebrate Diwali as the day on which famous emperor Ashok converted to Buddhism.The death of the evil Narakasura in the hands of Lord KrishnaThe death of the evil Narakasura in the hands of Lord Krishna is one of the reasons behind celebrating Diwali by the Hindus in South India.

According to the great epic Mahabharat, it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’, the time Diwali is celebrated, when the Pandavas returned after twelve years of banishment.

Buddhists celebrate Diwali as the day on which famous emperor Ashok converted to Buddhism.

FirecrackersFirecrackers
The most unique feature of the Diwali celebration is its lights and firecrackers. According to some, this is the way to show the heavenly bodies that we are enjoying joy and prosperity. Another more scientific reason is that the fumes of crackers kill the harmful insects of the rainy season. The total cost of the firecrackers exploded in Diwali is estimated to be around one billion dollars.

Correct Spelling is Deepavali not Diwali
As knowledge of Sanskrit diminished, the word Deepavali was popularly modified to Diwali. The word Deepavali is made of two sanskrit words deep and  avali, meaning row of deep ( diya or earthen lamp ) of light.

Diwali Celebrations Worldwide - In Malaysia, Diwali is known as ‘Hari Diwali.’Diwali Celebrations Worldwide
In Trinidad and Tobago, over 300,000 Hindus celebrate Divali Nagar. In this oil-rich nation, 44 percent of the  1.3 million population hails from India.

In Malaysia, Diwali is known as ‘Hari Diwali.’

In Nepal, Diwali is known as Tihar and celebrated during the October/November period. Interestingly, on the fourth day, Yama, the Lord of Death, is worshipped and appeased.

Thailand celebrates Diwali under the name of Lam Kriyongh during the same time. Diyas (lamps) made of banana leaves are made and candles are placed on it along with a coin and incense.

In Mauritius, the Diwali celebration is an age-old tradition. It holds special significance for the natives, who believe that Diwali has been celebrated even long before the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of exile and his coronation as the king.

Diwali was first celebrated in the White House by George W. Bush in 2003Diwali celebrations in Government
Diwali was first celebrated in the White House by George W. Bush in 2003 and was given official status by the United States Congress in 2007. Barack Obama became the first president to personally attend Diwali celebrations at the White House in 2009.

The United States Post office issued postage stamps to mark Diwali. Ami Bera, Carolyn Maloney and Grace Meng, members of the US House of Representatives, co-sponsored a resolution for the issue of a postage stamp to mark Diwali.

Since 2004, the Parliament buildings in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and United Kingdom have been lit to celebrate Diwali.