Diwali Celebration In Different Parts Of India
Diwali is the biggest festival celebrated with splendor and merriment in India. But the beliefs and ways of celebrating this festival vary in different parts of the country, however, the essence of the festival is the same everywhere.
From Kashmir to Varanasi to the beach destination Goa, the vibrant expression of devotion and joy varies with regional variation. Some burn demons on this day, some float diya, while some string flowers and light their houses. Let us see the different ways the festival is celebrated in different regions in India.
How Diwali is celebrated differently in different regions
In north India celebration of Diwali is associated with the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Laxman after they have been in exile for 14 years. As it was a new moon day on the Hindu lunisolar calendar, called Amavasya of Kartik month. It was dark all around and to welcome Ram to Ayodhya people lit their house with lights and fireworks.
It is a celebration of the victory of good over evil or the victory of purity and truth when Ram returned after defeating Ravana in Lanka. Year after year this homecoming of Lord Rama is commemorated on Diwali with lights, fireworks, and merriment. This ancient tradition is continued every year mainly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar. Houses are cleaned, new clothes are worn, gifts are exchanged, baths in the holy river and oil baths are done, beautiful rangolis are made, the house is decorated with lights and torans of flowers and decorative items, friends, and family get together to celebrate the festival with sweets and firecrackers.
In Punjab however Sikh celebrates Diwali in a grand way by decorating all Gurudwaras as it also marks the return of the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib from prison, it is also known as Bandi Chhor Divas. The Guru, who was imprisoned by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, was standing against the emperor’s regime’s oppression of the Indian people. Golden Temple in Amritsar is decked with beautiful lights and is also known as Golden Diwali.
According to another legend, this day goddess Lakshmi was born from Samudra Manthan (or the great Churning of the Ocean) and married to Lord Vishnu. So their wedding is celebrated by lighting oil lamps and fireworks. It is the belief that on Diwali night Goddess Lakshmi visits each home and blesses her devotee. Laxmi is worshipped along with Ganesh as Lord Ganesh is the God of wisdom and Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth.
Diwali celebration in Eastern India particularly in West Bengal marks the day when Goddess Parvati took the form of goddess Kali to kill the demon Bakrasura. Goddess Kali is the tenth avatar of Goddess Durga, she symbolizes power and strength. People in the Eastern states of Inda perform Kali Puja on the nights of Diwali. Traditionally rangolis made for Diwali is made of rice paste and not of colors, decorated with red paste and diyas, and called Alpona. In some places, there is a tradition of performing Bali or sacrificing during the festival. A goat is sacrificed to the goddess and is an old ritual that is considered very sacred and auspicious.
There is also a common theme running through Eastern states of India is the remembrance of ancestors during this time like in Odisha. People light earthen lamps and burn jute stems to light up the dark path that the spirits of the ancestors supposedly take to go back to heaven.
In West Bengal, Lakshmi puja is done earlier and on Diwali day fierce form of Durga, Kali puja is done. Kali puja is marked by high festivity when people decorate their homes with rangolis, rows of candles are lit, dressing up in new apparel and makeshift pandals are made, friends and family gather and celebrate by bursting crackers and holding dazzling fireworks displays.
Everybody knows New Year is celebrated on the first of January but for Hindus New Year starts from Diwali. Diwali is the new year’s time for Marwaris and Gujaratis. It is the time when merchants close their old accounts and start fresh and pray to the goddess of wealth to increase their trade this year. Gujarati traders and businessmen perform ‘Chopda Pujan‘ in which they worship their Gujarati New Year account books.
In Maharashtra too Diwali is celebrated in their own unique way with women of house start preparing sweets and savories known as faral in advance. Diwali in Maharashtra begins with Vasu Baras which falls on the 12th day of the second half of the Hindu month Ashwin, when cows are worshipped. The main festive begins on Dhanteras which is also known as Dhantrayodashi in Maharashtra.
The celebration of Diwali is simple and traditional in South India. Known as Deepavali in Tamil Nadu it is celebrated in commemoration of Lord Krishna’s conquest over Narakasura, the powerful king of Assam. Like other parts of the country here also people clean and decorate their houses wake up early in the morning an take oil bath known as ‘Deepavali Legiyam.’ There is also a unique tradition known as ‘Thalai Deepavali,’ when a newlywed spends her first Deepavali in her maternal home.
In Karnataka Deepavali also called Kaumudi Deepam or Dipalika is related to Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity and Lord Vishnu for his victory over Bali. Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi and Bali Padyami are two essential days of Diwali on Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi, people bathe in oil, and on Bali Padyami, they narrate the stories of King Bali.
The Vamana avatar of Lord Vishnu defeated the asura king Mahabali, because of this fact Keralites don’t celebrate Diwali as it is believed that Mahabali once ruled Kerala So they don’t celebrate his defeat. Kerala is the only place in while India where Diwali is not a major festival.
People of Andhra Pradesh chant prayers and seek blessings from the clay idol, Satyabhama. Post that, they begin celebrating Diwali with their loved ones with excitement.
Diwali or Deepawali is the festival of lights and is one of India’s major festivals with various traditions but there is something in common that it is time when friends and family get together to celebrate exchange gifts.