In some places Diwali (Deepavali) is celebrated
in 4 days as detailed below:
The first day of Diwali (Deepavali) festival
Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing
of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and
his wife Satyabhama.
'Puranas' have it that Naraka, son of
Bhudevi, acquired immense power from a
blessing given by Lord Brahma after a
severe penance. He soon unleashed a reign
of terror in the kingdom of Kamarupa,
harassing celestial beings with his invincible
might. Unable to bear the tyranny of the
demon, the celestial beings pleaded with
Lord Krishna to save them from his torture.
But Naraka could not be easily killed
as he had a boon that he would face
death only at the hands of his mother
Bhudevi. So, Krishna asks his wife Satyabhama,
the reincarnation of Bhudevi, to be
his charioteer in the battle with Naraka.
When Krishna feigns unconsciousness
after being hit by an arrow of Naraka,
Satyabhama takes the bow and aims the
arrow at Naraka, killing him instantly.
Later Lord Krishna reminds her of the
boon she had sought as Bhudevi. The
slaying of Naraka by Sathyabhama could
also be taken to interpret that parents
should not hesitate to punish their
children when they stray on to the wrong
path. The message of Naraka Chaturdasi
is that the good of the society should
always prevail over one's own personal
The second day is Amavasya when Lakshmi
puja is performed. It is believed that
on this day Goddess Lakshmi would be
in her benevolent mood and fulfill the
wishes of her devotees. One version
says that it was on this day that Goddess
Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagara (Ocean
of Milk) when the Gods and demons were
churning the sagara (ocean) for nectar
The other version is that when Lord
Vishnu in the guise of Vamana, sought
three feet of land from the generous
demon king Bali, the latter had to surrender
his head as Vamana had conquered the
earth and the sky in two strides. Lord
Vishnu banishes Bali into the Pathala
Loka (netherland) by keeping his third
stride on Bali's head. Later, pleased
by his generosity, Lord Vishnu grants
him a boon and he in turn requests the
Lord to guard his palace at Pathala
Meanwhile, the Goddess is unable to
bear the separation and her grief affects
the functioning of the entire universe.
Brahma and Lord Shiva offer themselves
as guards and plead with Bali to relieve
Vishnu. So, on the Amavasya day, Lord
Vishnu returns to his abode and Goddess
Lakshmi is delighted. It is believed
that those who worship Goddess Lakshmi
on this day would be bestowed with all
The third day is "Kartika Shudda
Padyami." On this day Bali would
come out of Pathala Loka and rule Bhuloka
as per the boon given by Lord Vishnu.
Hence, it is also known as "Bali
The fourth day is referred to as "Yama
Dvitiya." On this day, sisters
invite their brothers to their homes.
As per sacred texts, according to Skandha
Purana, the goddess Shakti observed
21 days of austerity starting from ashtami
of shukla paksha (waxing period of moon)
to get half part of the body of Lord
Shiva. This vrata is known as kedhara
vrata. Deepavali is the completion day
of this austerity. This is the day Lord
Shiva accepted Shakti into the left
half of the form and appeared as Ardhanarishvara.
The ardent devotees observe this 21
days vrata by making a kalasha with
21 threads on it and 21 types of offerings
for 35 days. The final day is celebrated
as kedhara gauri vrata.
In North India, the festival is held
on the final day of the Vikram calendar.
The following day marks the beginning
of the North Indian new year, and is
For the Gujaratis, Marwaris and other
business community Diwali marks the
worship of Goddess Lakshmi and also
the beginning of the new financial year.
For Bengalis, it is the time to worship
Goddess Kali or Durga. The Goddess Durga
continued her "Vilaya Tandava"
even after killing demon Mahishasura.