Mythological Background

The mythological background varies for different states in India.

Northern Part :

The legend related to Diwali is that King Dashratha had three wives namely Kaushalaya, Keykayee and Sumitra and four sons Rama, Bharat, Laxmana and Shatrughan. Rama was the son of Queen Kaushalaya and Bharat was the son of Queen Keykayee. 

Keykayee wanted Bharat to be the next King while the King Dasharatha wanted Rama, his eldest son to be the King. But Keykayee made full use of the two wishes King Dasharatha had promised Keykayee long time back for saving his life in battle. She asked for sending Rama to exile for the period of fourteen years. During that time Lord Rama fought and won tenuous struggles in the south part of the Indian sub-continent (which some people believe is now Sri Lanka) killing the king of Demons, Ravana who had forcibly taken away his wife Sita. 

Diwali marks Rama's victorious return to his kingdom along with Hanuman, who helped him in achieving success.

Lord Rama Lord Rama with his wife Sita, brother Lakhsman and Great Devotee Hanuman.

 

Southern Part :

In South India the day is celebrated in a unique way. People wake up before sunrise prepare blood by mixing Kumkum in oil and after breaking a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon King that was smashed by Krishna, apply that mixture on their foreheads. Then they have an oil bath using sandalwood paste.

 

Central Part :

In Maharashtra also, traditional early baths with oil and "Uptan" (paste) of gram flour and fragrant powders are a `must'. All through the ritual of baths, deafening sounds of crackers and fireworks are there in order that the children enjoy bathing. Afterwards steamed vermiceli with milk and sugar or puffed rice with curd is served.

 

Eastern Part :

Kali - Goddess of Power

For the Bengalis, it is the time to worship Goddess Kali , yet another form of Durga, the divine embodiment of supreme energy. The Legend follows that Goddess Durga had not stopped after killing the demon Mahishasura. Whenever the celestial world was at stake due to the attack of the demons and evil spirits the Mother Goddess appeared to punish them. For doing this the Mother Goddess had to change her forms and assume a new image to win an edge in Her combat with the evils.

Goddess Kali is one of such image assumed by the Mother Goddess while she went on a killing spree. It was the fearsome image of the Mother Goddess wearing only a waist belt made up of the upper limbs of the slain bad spirits and a garland made up of scalped heads. 
Legend says when the Mother continued her rampaging spree, even after killing the demons, the world was on the verge of  annihilation. To control her rage Lord Shiva threw himself on her track. Finally she came to a halt after putting a step on the breast of the Lord, her husband. It was in this way the universe was saved from her fury.

 

Western Part :

In western part of India, Diwali is a festival of Hindus, but especially of the Businessmen, On this day they do puja of Account books and start writing their new accounts. This is called as "CHOPDA PUJAN" meaning puja of account books.

 

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