Diwali celebration in different parts of India
Diwali is India’s most grandeur festival and celebrated with great excitement and enthusiasm. It is also India’s prime festival. India being a diverse country, this festival is celebrated in parts of the country in its own special way. Let us further discuss, the different ways in which this sparking festival, Diwali is celebrated in different parts of India.
The traditional way of celebrating this festival consists of lighting earthen lamps in a row in individual homes and Eastern India is no different. In places like Orissa, this festival is celebrated with great fervour. People lit lamps and lanterns in a row in their houses. Children celebrate by bursting of crackers, elders exchange gifts and sweets amongst their families and neighbours. Hence, the celebration is almost the same as the other regions of the country except one ritual that is calling the spirits of families’ forefathers.
In this custom, items made of jute are burnt to light the path of ancestors to take the darkness away from the family back to the heaven. Other than that, every home is lit brightly with windows and doors open to welcome prosperity and wealth by worshiping Goddess Laxmi. Usually, it is believed that the Goddess visits everybody’s home on this day that is lit brightly and ignores the ones that are dark and abandoned.
In other parts of Eastern India like West Bengal, Diwali is celebrated by worshipping Goddess Durga. However, they celebrate the festival about twenty days before the Laxmi Puja. Worshipping of the deity of Goddess Kali makes this festival unique in this part of the country. Durga Puja is celebrated for good five days and is marked by high festivities
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The rituals during this festival consist of decorating homes with Rangoli, the lighting of candles and lamps in a row, dressing up in new clothes, and visiting friends and relatives. Across the state, various tents called Pandals are decorated with the idol of Goddess Durga placed. These pandals are filled with small eateries as well where people can savour them with different delicacies of West Bengal.
In the topmost region of the country, this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm as well. The reason why people in Northern India celebrate Diwali is that, according to Hindu mythology, Lord Rama with his wife Mata Sita and brother Laxman returned to their kingdom after winning the battle from King of Lanka, Ravana and their exile period of 14 years. The homecoming of Lord Rama and others was celebrated by lighting lamps, bursting of crackers and happiness. Since then the tradition has continued till date.
In various parts of Northern India like UP, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and other surrounding areas, people burn huge effigies of Ravana and his brothers. On the night of Diwali, the whole family joins their hands in front of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Laxmi to pray for wealth and prosperity. This ritual is also known as Laxmi Pujan. After the pooja, children burn crackers throughout the night, and gifts and sweets are exchanged between relatives and neighbours. In modern age today, people even spend this day by playing cards. However, this is not a very fine way of celebrating such a divine festival.
Southern India culture and festivals are very different from other parts of the country. Hence, the celebration of Diwali is also different in this region. In Southern India, Diwali is celebrated in the Tamil month of Aipasi, which is also the “Naraka Chaturdashi” prior to Amavasya. On this day only, Diwali is celebrated in this area. The rituals followed here are also different like ladies clean their cooking ovens and daub it with lime. Then religious symbols are drawn on the ovens with the help of paint.
This is then later filled with water for people to take oil bath the next day. All these preparations are done a day prior to this day. Every individual home is decorated with beautiful Kolam designs. Things used in the festival like firecrackers and clothes are kept on a plate to be used on the festival day. The actual celebration starts on the festival day by taking an oil bath before sunrise. Post taking a bath, sweets are distributed amongst the family members and new clothes are worn.
In Maharashtra, Diwali is celebrated for four days. On the first day, the Vasubaras is celebrated by performing pooja of the cow and its baby. This is done to represent the divine love between mother and child. The second day is marked with Dhantrayodashi or Dhanteras. It is a big day for traders as they open new books after worshipping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi. Many people in this state flock to jeweler shops to purchase gold or silver or they may even purchase a utensil that is kept in pooja during the main festival day.
The third day is Narak Chaturdashi when people wake up before sunrise and take bath post smearing scented oil on their body. After this, Maharashtrians feast on Faral, a special Diwali delicacy that includes both sweets and spicy food. Finally on the festival day, they light their houses with lamps and burst crackers. In every home, during the pooja, people keep the gold or silver or utensil purchased on the Dhanteras day.
Western India–In Western India as well, Diwali is a four long day festival. However, the preparation for the festival commences fifteen days in advance. Markets are filled with enthusiastic shoppers, who visit to purchase gifts, sweets, clothes, etc. In Gujarat, people start the celebrations by designing their house with images of a festival like an idol of Goddess Laxmi, sun or flowers or just bizarre shapes. Small images of footprints are drawn at the entrance of the homes to welcome the Goddess Laxmi.
The four days are celebrated like the Maharashtrians with one ritual being different that is the day of Padawa. This day is considered to be the most auspicious day. During this day, Gujrati’s go out for shopping and also decorate their homes by the lighting of Diyas and performing tilak ceremony. This is also New Year for them when relatives visit each other to shower their blessings for the new beginning.
No matter which way this Diwali is celebrated in different parts of India, the essence of the festival is same, to bring wealth, prosperity and happiness in the family.