How India Celebrates Diwali•
Posted on October 28 2021
Diwali, or Deepavali, is commonly associated as the festival of lights. Shops and houses are lit up with brightly coloured bulbs or diyas that render a wonderful festive ambiance. The celebrations are marked by waking up early in the morning, taking an oil bath, wearing new clothes, distributing of sweets among friends and relatives, and bursting crackers.
There are two main stories centered around the celebration of Diwali/Deepavali. According to one legend, the celebration marks the return of Lord Rama with his wife and brother to Ayodhya after a 14-year exile and killing the demon king Ravana. The other legend associates the festival celebration with Lord Krishna winning over Narakasura. Both stories portray the victory of good over evil.
Although the above-mentioned rituals are commonly observed across India, there are some distinct ways the festival is celebrated in different parts of the country. Let us now look at a few of these types of celebrations. Interestingly, Kerala is the only state where this festival is not celebrated on a grand scale.
Celebrations in North India
The celebrations here typically begin a couple of days before the festival, commencing with Dhanteras, and takes place over a span of five days. People buy gold or silver jewelry or copper utensils as it is considered to be auspicious. Earthern lamps are lit outside the house and crackers are burst in the evening.
River Ganga in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh poses a visual treat for the eyes on Diwali with lit-up diyas on its waters. Priests chant prayers on the river banks.
In Bihar, the celebration starts with Dhanteras and ends with Bhai Dooj. Temples and houses are decorated with rangolis. Women prepare samosas and malpua, a sweet pancake that is dipped in sugar syrup.
The capital city Delhi makes the festival a colourful affair with people drawing rangolis in various patterns and colours at the entrance of their shops and houses. In Madhya Pradesh, people make traditional sweets in their houses.
Celebrations in East India
In West Bengal and Assam, the celebration takes place as Kali Pooja. The pooja takes place overnight in several pandals and Maa Kali is offered hibiscus flowers along with meat or fish as prasad. The poojas held in Dakshineswar and Kalighat temples are very famous. Rangoli is also drawn in different colours and patterns. Bengalis associate this night as the night of their forefathers and hence light diyas on long poles to guide the souls of their ancestors to heaven.
Assamese also decorate the entrance of their houses with garlands made of marigold leaves and mango leaves. Like Bengalis, they also perform Kali Pooja on this day.
In Odisha, people worship their ancestors and burn jute sticks to invoke their blessings and be bestowed with luck.
Celebrations in West India
In Maharashtra, the celebration is a five-day affair and each day is associated with a unique tradition. On Diwali day, a feast called faral comprising several sweets and snacks is observed. The celebration starts with the Vasu Baras ritual honouring cows and honouring the legendary physician Dhanvantri on Dhanteras. People also observe Diwali Cha Padva to mark the love between a husband and wife.
Gujaratis associate Diwali as the end of the year. Women wear kajal made from burnt wicks as it is believed to usher prosperity and fortune. They also draw footprints to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their houses.
People from Goa burn the effigies of the demon Narakasura and apply coconut oil to their bodies to relieve themselves of their sins.
Celebrations in South India
In Karnataka, the celebration takes place over a period of two days. On the first day, Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi, people take an oil bath as they believe that Lord Krishna did the same to remove the bloodstains from His body after killing Narakasura. On the second day, Bali Padayami is celebrated by drawing rangolis, narrating stories of King Bali, and building forts using cow dung. Kannadigas also refer to Deepavali as Dipalika or Kaumudi Deepam.
In Tamil Nadu, people take an oil bath. The oil is infused with several items like fragrant pepper and betel leaves. Following bath, they consume a special medicine called Deepavali Lehiyam. The first Deepavali after marriage is very special for a woman and is celebrated as Thalai Deepavali. People prepare sweets and snacks on a grand scale.
In Andhra Pradesh, people start their celebrations by chanting prayers and performing a musical narration of Lord Krishna known as Harikatha.
They believe that the lord’s consort Satyabhama helped Him to kill the demon. So, they make special prayers to her and make clay idols in her honour.
Irrespective of how Diwali/Deepavali is celebrated, the celebration is often not complete without a pooja to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi in the evening. This is what makes our premium Diwali Festive Box a wonderful option for an individual or corporate gifting. The hardbound box with crystal embellishments features a copy of the Shree Ganesh Nitya Aradhana and Shree Lakshmi Nitya Aradhana in large fonts in English and Hindi scripts along with a silver-plated Lakshmi Ganesh Paana yantra for your pooja. You can customize your gift by personalizing it with a photo or a name and special message.
Written by Deepthi K