Diwali is traditionally known as the "festival of lights", for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, gardens, verandahs, on the walls built around the home and also on the roof tops.
The word Diwali is derived from the word Deepavali that means "a
row of lights". This suggests that it is a festival of light
and illumination. The festival falls on the last day of the last
month of lunar calendar. Diwali is celebrated for five days. The
uniqueness of this festival is its harmony of five varied
philosophies, with each day to a special thought.
Many reasons can be attributed for the use of Diyas in
Diwali. Lamp or "Deep" is the symbol of knowledge.
Lighting the lamp of knowledge within us means to understand and
reflect upon the significant purpose of each of the five days of
festivities and to bring those thoughts in to our day to day
lives.The lighting of lamps is a form of obeisance to god for the
attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and fame. Mythology
says Diyas are used to celebrate the occasion of Lord Rama's
return from exile.
Another legend says lighting of lamps symbolizes the spiritual
light pervading the earth and the destruction of darkness and
ignorance. According to another story the people of Dwaraka greeted
Lord Krishna with illumination and rejoicing in honour of his
victory over Narakasura. The darkness of the Chaturdasi
night compelled them to use many lamps on the occasion, and
subsequently the illumination became a part of this celebration.
Deepavali is a festival where people from all age groups
participate. Irrespective of their religious and economic
background, the festival is celebrated throughout the country to
ward off the darkness and welcome light into life, as light is
always associated with hope for the future. They give expression to
their happiness by lighting earthen 'diyas' (lamps), decorating the
houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to
their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. Because of the
Diwali Diyas , lights, fireworks, and sweets involved, it's a great
favorite with children.
Nowadays electric lights and candles have been a good replacement
for traditional Diyas. They are available in attractive designs and