I grew up celebrating Diwali as the festival of good over evil, the festival of King Rama defeating Ravana, the Demon King. Diwali is a celebration of King Rama's defeat but it is also a holiday that honors the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi.
Who is Goddess Lakshmi?
She is the goddess of prosperity, wealth, purity, generosity, and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. She is the wife of Lord Vishnu. Often times she is pictured as a beautiful woman standing in a lotus blossom with her four arms open and giving. She is worshipped to attain wealth, beauty and good luck. The lotus blossom stands for beauty, purity and fertility. Her four arms represent four spiritual virtues (Prosperity, Purity, Generosity, Energy).
Goddess Lakshmi and Diwali
During Diwali, Hindus worship Goddess Lakshmi at home and pray for her blessings. It is believed that during Diwali, Goddess Lakshmi visits the homes and blesses the family and their business with with wealth and a successful year. People leave their windows and doors open so the Goddess can come in. Diyas (oil lamps) are lit so Lakshmi can find her way into your home.
The Goddess Lakshmi is the household goddess of most Hindu families, and a favorite of women. Although she is worshiped daily in most Hindu households, Diwali is Goddess Lakshmi's holiday.