Diwali is celebrated on a nation-wide scale on Naraka Chathurthasi day on the dawn of Ammavaasa during the Hindu month of Aippasi (September/October) every year. It symbolizes the age-old culture of our country which teaches us to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. Diwali, the festival of lights even today in this modern world projects the rich and glorious past of our country and teaches us to uphold the true values of life.
The most well known story behind Diwali is in the Ramayana, the great Hindu epic. According to Ramayana, Rama, the prince of Ayodhya was ordered by his father, King Dasharatha, to go away from his country and come back after living in the forest for fourteen years. So Rama went on exile with his devoted wife Sita and faithful brother, Lakshmana. When Ravana, the demon king of Lanka abducted Sita and took her away to his island kingdom of Lanka, Rama fought against and killed Ravana. He rescued Sita and returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years. The people of Ayodhya were very happy to hear of their beloved prince's homecoming. To celebrate Rama's return to Ayodhya, they lit up their houses with earthen lamps (diyas), burst crackers and decorated the entire city in the grandest manner.
In today's world when pressing everyday problems are teaming as under all the tender words of personal relationships, the celebrating of this day has its own importance in continuing to maintain the love between brothers and sister. It is the day of food-sharing; gift-giving and reaching out to the inner most depths of the hearts.
Diwali on the whole has always been the festival with more social than religious connotations. It is a personal, people-oriented festival when enmities are forgotten; families and friends meet, enjoy and establish a word of closeness.
As a festival of light and beauty it encourages artistic expressions through home-decorations stage-plays, elocution competitions singing and dancing programs, making gift items and delectable sweets thereby discovering new talents of younger people. As a result innumerable communities with varying cultures and customs mingle together to make Diwali celebrations a very happy occasion for all.
Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has communicated the true significance of Diwali in one beautiful line: "The night is black. Kindle the lamp of love with thy life and devotion."