Deepavali or the “Festival of lights,” is a five day festival which marks the victory of good over evil. The Sanskrit word “Deepavali” means “an array of lights” and signifies the victory of brightness over darkness. But with time, as the knowledge and usage of Sanskrit has diminished, the name has been shortened to Diwali.
The festival is celebrated for five continuous days. It starts on thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha (dark fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin and ends on second lunar day of Shukla paksha (bright fortnight) of the Hindu calendar month Kartik.
For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes.
For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BCE.
Today marks the first day of this five day festival with the celebrations of Dhanteras also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodasi.
Starting from the next post we go behind the legends associated with each of the five days.