In South India, it is associated with Krishna’s defeat of Narakasura a demon from the netherworld. This event was supposed to have taken place at at dawn on ‘Narakachaturdashi’, a day before Diwali. So Tamilians burst crackers at the break of the dawn, unlike people in rest of the country.
In certain rural areas, Diwali heralds the beginning of the harvest season. As per Mahabarata, the Pandavas too were believed to have returned from their exile around this time time. Sikh’s celebrate Diwali to commemorate the release of their sixth Guru, Guru Hargobindji from the captivity of a Muslim king of Gwalior. Jains believe that Lord Mahavira reached Nirvana (salvation) during Diwali time. Mahavira was at that time believed to be 71 years old.
The traditional celebration of Diwali is spread over five days. The days beginning with the first are known as Dhanteras or Dhantryaodashi. The Second day is called Narka-Chaturdashi or Chhoti Diwali. The third day of the festival of Diwali is known as Lakshmi-Puja. The Fourth day is known as Padwa or VarshaPratipada. The Fifth and final day of Diwali Festival is observed as Bhaiya-Dooj.
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