Celebrated in the month of Ashwin, Diwali is the sacred festival of Hindus. The festival of paramount religious significance and marks the victory of good over evil. It symbolizes the light and wisdom; it is considered that one should always strive to overcome darkness and try to enlighten the souls with knowledge of truth and goodness. Diwali festival is celebrated with ardent zeal in Uttar Pradesh.
Origin of the Festival :
According to the holy book of Hindus, Ramayana, Lord Rama, after spending 14 rigorous years in jungles, returned to Ayodhya. While in exile, he along with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita spent a long time in jungles; during their stay, Deity Sit was abducted by the demon king of Sri Lanka, namely Ravana. Rama after killing this demon, returned back to his kingdom. The people of Ayodhya welcomed them by burning oil-lamps. Since then Diwali festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of good over evil. It is also believed that departed souls visit the houses of their kith and kin. In order to guide these souls to go back, houses are lit with lamps.
Attractions of the Festival :
At Varanasi, thousand of devotees light earthen lamps which are left over the water surface. Devotees from different parts of India throng here to watch the captivating view. Celebrations of Diwali are done on a grand scale. People clean their houses with white wash; people start making preparation many days before the event. People decorate their houses with leaves of mango and people, the rooms are decorated with colorful confetti and other colorful items. The courtyards are adorned with beautiful patterns of Rangolis. In addition, auspicious motifs are used to ward off evils.
The most prominent feature of diwali festival is the firing of crackers at nights. The noisy pitch of the crackers fills the entire atmosphere. People use artificial lights to lit their houses; the entire scene looks spectacular. Special religious ceremonies are organized at festivals, Hindu devotes perform massive puja celebration to pay their reverences to Goddess Lakshmi whose blessings are supposed to bring wealth and prosperity to the worshippers. The other deities that are worshipped are Lord Vishnu (bestower of wishes), Lord Ganesha (hurdle remover), and Lord Indra (symbol of power). On next day, women worshippers beat bamboo baskets; it signifies the arrival of goddess Lakshmi in their houses and removal of poverty.
Another important event that marks the celebration is preparing special sweets and distributing them among relatives and friends. Diwali Festival in Uttar Pradesh is also character sized by enacting the roles of Lord Rama, Lakhsman, and Sita by the Brahmin boys; these boys are trained by their leader called liladhari.
This festival is celebrated with ardent faith and enthusiasm of Hindus and reflects their religious sentiments towards their revered deities.