Festivals and fasts occupies the maximum space on the Hindu calendar in the world. Notwithstanding Indian festivals have their roots in myth and myth is nothing but an art of manipulation with all convictions. Deepavali, a festival of light as it is popularly called is celebrated throughout the country in various forms. It falls on no-moon day of kartik (October-November). Although it is five day celebration but Deepavali that falls on 3rd day is a main festival.
Several legends surrounds Deepavali. One popular myth says that on this auspicious day, the goddess of wealth and good fortune visits the houses, therefore people cleanse their houses and establishments, decorate them with lavish articles to welcome Her. In the night she is worshiped with great devotion. Other legend goes farther to state the victory of Lord Ram over Ravana. Yet another tale describes the killing of demon Narkasura by Lord Krishna on the same day.
A few days before Deepavali, the entire atmosphere is charged with great festivities. The houses are white washed; bandarvars are put to decorate the place of worship. Different kinds of buntings are prepared to decorate the houses. In the night houses are illuminated with earthen lamps (Deepak) and candles. Mirth, rejoicing and festivety of people know no bound. Sweats are prepared in abundance and exchanged with love and affection.
On this pious occasion people ask for forgiveness for anything done wrong intentionally or unintentionally under the pretext of the festival. Mutual relations are cemented with strong bond of love. At night Laxmiji and Lord Ganesha are worshiped. Old accounts are closed to open new one. People, with their families visit decorated and illuminated markets. Special shopping of sweets, jewellery, utensils and clothes charge the entire atmosphere with grandiose festivity.
The advent of new season and the sowing of new crops are also marked by Deepavali. New Vikrama Era begins on this day. The great king Vikramaditya was made crowned king on this day. In Bengal the goddess kali is worshiped with great enthusiasm.