Celebration of Diwali



India is a diverse country, and so are its ways when it comes to celebrating festivals. Talking about festivals of light, Diwali, it signifies different meaning to different people in the country. While in the north, it celebrates the homecoming of Rama to Ayodhya, in the west, it is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi. The ways and practices vary greatly across the country to mark the day.

Customs and Rituals associated with Diwali



The festival of Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days. Each day These include:

Dhanteras



This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. People clean and decorate their houses at Dhanteras as it is believed that goddess Lakshmi will visit their house at Diwali. Several patterns of Rangoli are drawn to decorate the houses. There is also a ritual of purchasing new utensils. It is believed to bring good luck and prosperity.

Narak Chaturdashi



This day celebrates the victory of Krishna over the demon Narakasura. This day is also called Kali Choudas or Narak Chaturdashi. A special puja is held on this day and special dishes of semi-cooked rice are prepared which establishes the credibility of the festival as a harvest festival. In some areas of India, a custom of washing head and applying Kajal is prevalent to cast off the evil eye.

Diwali



All the excitement, preparations, and celebrations are centered around the main festival of Diwali. Diwali celebrations in India are as opulent as one can imagine. Goddess Lakshmi & Lord Ganesha, known to bring peace and prosperity, are worshipped in the evening which is followed by bursting of crackers and lighting fireworks. The tradition of playing cards at Diwali is also very popular. Sweets and gifts are exchanged between families and friends to mark the occasion.

Govardhan Puja or Padwa or Varshapratipada



The fourth day of Diwali is dedicated to the worship of Mount Govardhan situated in Mathura. There is a tradition of building hillocks of cow dung and decorating them with flowers and worshipping them by going around them in a circle. These hillocks signify Lord Govardhan. In some parts of India, a wide array of dishes is prepared on this day.

Bhaiya Dooj



The festival stands as a symbol of love between brothers and sisters. The brothers usually visit their sisters at the occasion of Bhaiya Dooj and they spend the day together after performing the Bhaiya Dooj rituals which include putting a tilak, performing aarti and eating sweets. The gifts are also exchanged between them.

Major Attractions of Diwali celebrations



Lightening of Houses: An aerial view of India on the day of Diwali will show the country gleaming and bathed in lights of different colours. People light candles and diyas (earthen clay pots) with a belief that this will eradicate the darkness from their life and bring in a new light.

Bursting of Crackers: If there is one thing that children just love about Diwali, it is crackers. They anxiously wait for the Diwali rituals to get over so that they can run and launch fireworks in the sky. However, rising pollution due to these crackers is a matter of grave concern. So, its always better to go for eco-friendly crackers only.

Rangoli: Making stunning patterns of Rangoli in the households is another major attraction of the festival. People draw auspicious symbols with different colours and in different shapes. There is a sort of competition to outdo each other in making these beautiful patterns.

Game of Cards: People also play cards at the eve of Diwali. The belief has it that goddess Parvati blesses the winner with prosperity for the entire year as she herself used to play this game with Lord Shiva. There are special card playing gatherings organized in various households at Diwali.

Diwali Sweets: The markets are flooded with sweets of various kinds, sizes, and proportions during the Diwali festival. It is very hard to resist so many delicious sweets in various combinations - milk sweets, coconut sweets and what not. Special Diwali sweets are also made in several households. It is customary to visit friends and relatives with a box of one of these sweets.

Diwali Mela (Fair): Fairs and festivals are of supreme importance to Indian culture but craze and enthusiasm of Diwali Fair are unmatched. These fairs are organized even by NRI's to have a feel of their culture in an alien country. The major attractions of these fairs are rides for children, Indian food in abundance, several competitions promoting the culture of India.

Celebration of Diwali in India



Goa: Diwali in Goa is celebrated only for one day as Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day, large effigies of demon Naraksura are burnt. People celebrate the end of evil in high spirits and after coming home, the men of family get themselves massaged by their mothers or wives. This is followed by a visit to a temple and distribution of sweets among the families.

Maharashtra: In Maharashtra, Diwali celebrations start with Vasu Baras, when married women worship cows which have calves. Cows are considered to be auspicious animals by Hindus and worshipping her is a way to thank her for her services. Rest of the celebrations in the state are similar to Diwali celebrations in other parts of India. The festival ends with Tulsi Vivah. It is a ceremony of marrying the holy plant of tulsi. People conduct the marriage of tulsi in their houses and the marriage season in Maharashtra starts after the Tulsi Vivah.

Orissa: Diwali celebrations in Orissa are as lavish as they are in any other part of India. The only difference is the ritual of calling the spirits of forefathers at the occasion of Diwali. People burn jute stems to lighten up the road that the forefathers take to heaven. Several items are placed over a sailboat having seven chambers, and Prasad is distributed after the puja. A mortar, pestle, and plough are also worshipped.

Punjab: Diwali in Punjab differs from the rest of India in a way that Golden Temple is illuminated with lights of several colours and types. There are special Kirtan (hymns in praise of God) programmes in Gurudwaras across the state. Winter crops are also sown at the time of Diwali in Punjab.

West Bengal: In West Bengal Goddess Kali is worshipped instead of Goddess Lakshmi and the celebrations are not very lavish. People meet friends and acquaintances and indulge in feasting, drinking, gambling, and merry making. There isn't any tradition of buying new clothes or utensils at Diwali in West Bengal.



Last Updated on : October 30, 2018




     


     

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