Deepawali is one of the main festivals of India. It is celebrated with great fanfare throughout the country. Deepawali means a line of Deepaks (earthen lamps). On the day of Deepawali, rich or poor illuminates deepaks to put them in lines. Therefore it is called a festival of light. We call upon Laxmiji by illuminating deepaks. It is believed that Laxmiji does not visit the house without light. She is Goddess of wealth and happiness; therefore to call her, followers from other caste and creed also illuminate Deepaks.
The festival of Deepawali falls in the month of October and November. According to Hindu calendar it falls on Amavasya of Kartik. On this day Lord Ram, after killing demon Ravana and completing his 14 years in exile, returned to Ayodhya, and he was adorned with the title of king. People of Ayodhya celebrated this day as grand festival by illuminating deepaks.
Deepawali is not a festival of single day, but a group of festivals. It begins well before the Navratri, when people start cleaning their houses by washing and paintings. The first Navratra begins on pratipada (Padva) when Ramleela begins, and continues the whole month. It gets over only when Lord Ram gets coronated as a king of Ayodhya. Every day some or the other acts are performed and exhibitions are carried out, but to the families, Deepawali begins on Dhanteras and ends on Bhaiya Dooj
Two days before Amvasya, it is Dhanteras. It is also called Dhanvantri jayanti. On this day when gods and demons churned the ocean then Dhanvantri vaidya, emerged with Amrit pot in his hand, then this festival was nomenclatured as Dhanvantri Triodash Dhanteras. On this day, old utensils are exchanged with new ones. It is considered to be very fortunate to purchase silver utensils especially
Next day it is Choti Deepawali day. It is called Narak Chaudas. On this day one should apply oil all over the body with water containig Chichada plant. In the evening the deepak is burnt for Yamraj. It is said that on this day Lord Krishna had killed the demon Narkasur.
On the night of main Deepawali day i.e. Badi Deepawali, deepaks, candles and bulbs in great numbers are made to illuminate. There is a special method to worship Laxmiji. During the night Goddess of wealth and prosperity Laxmiji, obstacle saviour Ganeshji and Goddess of wisdom and knowledge Saraswatiji are being worshiped. According to Brahmapuran, on the midnight of Kartik Amavasya Laxmiji visits earth and travels to every good family. She stays in iota, where she finds purity, cleanliness and beautiful decoration. She does not stay at dirty places.Therefore this day the houses are washed properly. With Deepawali celebration Laxmiji feels happy and permanently stays with the family.
According to Hindu religion, a new year of Vikram calendar begins on this day. Therefore Laxmiji is also worshiped in shops and establishments. The workers are gifted out with sweets, utensils and cash.
The essance of entire story behind Deepawali crackers, worship and distribution of sweets is to attain real pleasure by erasing all ill wills from inner soul.