Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or 'Deepawali.' Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu.
In Bengal, the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength.
Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day.
In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana.
Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers.
It is on the third day of Deepawali — Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon granted to him by Lord Vishnu.