2. Deepavali has Epic Origins, literally
Deepavali’s origins are steeped in traditional mythology. Although there are different legends associated with its origins and significance, all of them carry a common theme where good triumphs over evil, and light over darkness.
Northern Indians associate Deepavali with the Indian epic, Ramayana. It is the celebration marking Lord Rama of Ayuthya’s return to claim his rightful throne, after being stripped of it and exiled for 14 years. It is said that people welcomed Lord Rama’s triumphant return with rows of clay lamps called diya, which became a yearly Deepavali tradition.
For Southern Indians, Deepavali is linked to Lord Krishna, who responded to the prayers of people under the oppressive rule of a cruel demon king, Narakasura. Lord Krishna fought Narakasura in battle and slayed him, thus dispelling the darkness of the demon king’s rule with light. To this day, the lights of Deepavali serve as a reminder that darkness can only be removed with light.
Deepavali is also associated with the goddess of wealth and beauty, Lakshmi, who brings good fortune to the clean and well-lit homes she visits. Houses are decorated with lights to encourage her to visit. All these legends make it clear why Deepavali is also known as the Festival of Lights.