Probably this time of the year is the only time when a huge blast wouldn't make us imagine the worst- instead we would slowly remove those hands tightly clamped around each ear and simply laugh! Yes, it's Deepavali and that's every reason for every face to light up!

India being as vast as it is, festivals and the reasons why they are celebrated are also equally varied. Most of us would be surprised to find that there are more legends associated with the festival of lights than the popular Krishna-defeats-Narakasura tale. So, here are a few other legends behind why we light those diyas, burst those brilliant crackers and have all the fun in celebrating Deepavali!

There are many who believe that Goddess Lakshmi incarnated from the churning ocean on the new moon day of the Kartik month on the lunar calendar, which is the day we celebrate as Deepavali. There is another legend that ties Goddess Lakshmi with this festival: Lord Vishnu is said to have rescued her, in his fifth avatar ( vamana), from King Bali's prison on the day of Deepavali.

Moving away from the celestial world to the lords who inhabited our world, the day of Deepavali is often associated with the victorious return of the Pandavas from their 12 year exile.

This day too was the new moon day of the Kartik month, when the people of Hastinapur celebrated the return of their kings by lighting earthen lamps. The other Indian epic, Ramayana, too has some connection to Deepavali, with Lord Rama and Sita returning to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya too lit up the entire city with lights to welcome their hero back home.

The day of Deepavali enjoys the spotlight outside the mythological stage too, for it was on this day that the great king, Vikramaditya was coronated, making it a historical day.

If kings attained access to the throne on this day, there were others who attained something more- nirvana- on the day of Deepavali. Mahavir Tirthankar, one of the main names associated with modern day Jainism attained nirvana on the day of Deepavali, and so did Maharishi Dayananda, who was one of Hinduism's greatest reformers, and the founder of the Arya Samaj.

Though Sikhs in our country don't celebrate Deepavali for any religious reasons, it was on this day back in the 16 {+t} {+h} century that the foundation stone for the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid. Christians too have had a moment of light on Deepavali day, when in 1999 the then Pope John Paul II performed a special prayer in an Indian church.

The altar was brightly decorated with diyas and the Pope even sported a tilak, and made several references to the festival of lights in his sermon.

And for those of us who have forgotten the Krishna-Narakasura tale: A day before Deepavali, Lord Krishna killed Narakasura, the demon king who was wrecking havoc and holding captive 16,000 women. Lord Krishna liberated the women and triumphed over the evil demon king, making Deepavali a celebration of this victory of good over evil.

Thus, on the Deepavali, let the twinkling lights dispel the darkness of evil and ignorance. Let there be light!