Diwali, the ancient Indian festival, has been celebrated for ages in various parts of the country with great enthusiasm and fun. With many religious significances associated with the festival, there are multiple ways of celebrating this festival too in different regions of India.
In most parts of India, Diwali is celebrated for five days.
• First Day, Dhanteras: Worshipping of Lord Yama and buying of metal objects
• Second Day, Choti Diwali, Roop Chaturdashi, Narak Chaturdasi
• Third Day, Diwali: Laxmi and Ganesh Pujan is done on this day.
• Fourth Day: On this day, Govardhan puja is performed.
• Fifth Day: Also known as Bhai Dooj or Bhai Tika, the day is dedicated to brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters pray for their brothers’ long life.
How Diwali Celebrated in Different Regions of India
Let us see how this festival of lights is celebrated with magnificent grandeur and excitement all over the country in different ways, as mentioned below:
In Northern India, the religious significance of Diwali is associated with the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya with wife Sita and brother Laxman after 14 years of exile. Since it was a new moon day in the month of Kartik season, it was dark all around. But, to welcome their homecoming, the people of Ayodhya lighted the entire kingdom with diyas and fireworks and celebrated the occasion with great fun and bursting of crackers. Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya was also associated with the significance of the victory of good over evil. The tradition continues even today in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, and neighbouring areas.
How is it celebrated?
In North India, the celebrations of Diwali start with Dussehra, where Ramlila, a dramatic rendition of the story of the Ramayan is depicted. It continues for several nights ending with the defeat of Ravana (Evil) by Ram (Good).
In Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab people are also engaged in gambling on Diwali night, which is considered to be auspicious. In Punjab, the Sikhs as such do not celebrate Diwali, but they are part of the celebrations and light their houses with candles and diyas. The gurdwaras are also illuminated on Diwali night. In Delhi, UP and other surrounding areas, houses are decorated with candles, lights, diyas, bandhanwars, and rangolis. Laxmi puja is performed at night. In some houses, there is a tradition of putting a silver coin in a tumbler of milk, which is then sprinkled in all the rooms. Shopping, cleaning, gambling, redecoration, whitewashing, home decoration, exchanging of gifts and sweets are part and parcel of the celebrations.
The necessary rituals remain the same in Eastern India, which includes the lighting of lamps, candles, diyas, along with bursting of crackers. Some people keep the doors of their houses open so that Goddess Lakshmi can enter. Houses are brightly lit because of the belief that Goddess Lakshmi does not enter a dark house.
West Bengal and Assam
In West Bengal, Laxmi Puja is celebrated six days after Durga Puja. Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja. Late-night worshipping of Goddess Kali is done on Diwali night. There are Kali Puja pandals in various areas. Other rituals remain the same. Drawing of rangoli is also a part of the celebration. Diwali night is also believed to be the night of the ancestors or Pitripurush and diyas are lit on long poles to guide their souls on the way to heaven. This practise is followed even today in rural Bengal.
Like West Bengal, in Odhisa too, Diwali festival is marked with paying tributes to ancestors. “Badabadua ho andhaara e asa Aluaa e Jaao Baaisi pahacha e Gadagadau thaao”, which means “oh our ancestors, seers and gods, you came on the dark night of Mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannatha!”
Western India is mostly associated with business and trade. Few days before Diwali, the markets of Western India are crowded with Diwali shoppers. In Gujarat, on the night before Diwali, Gujaratis create colourful rangolis in front of their houses. Rangoli is an integral part of Diwali in all states in Western India. Footprints are also drawn to welcome Goddess Laxmi. On Diwali, homes are brightly lit. For Gujaratis, Diwali is New Year.
On this day, any new venture, buying of properties, the opening of offices, shops, and special occasions like marriages are considered auspicious. In some houses in Gujarat, a diya lit with ghee is left burning the whole night. The next morning, the flame collected from this diya is used to make kajal, which is applied by women on their eyes. This is considered to be a very auspicious custom and is believed to bring prosperity to for the whole year. Like North India, Diwali is celebrated for five days in Western India too.
In Maharashtra, Diwali is celebrated for four days. Vasubaras is the first day and is celebrated by performing an Aarti of the cows and calves. This signifies the love between a mother and her baby. The next day is Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi, which is celebrated in the same way as in other regions. On the third day, Narakchaturdashi, people take scented oil bath early morning and visit a temple. After this, the Maharashtrians feasts on a special Diwali preparation consisting of delicious sweets like “karanji” and “ladoo” and spicy eatables like “chakli” and “sev”. This feast is known as Faral. The fourth day, which is the main Diwali day, Lakshmi Puja is performed. In every house, Goddess Lakshmi and items of wealth like money and jewellery are worshipped.
Diwali is celebrated in the Tamil month of aipasi (which is thula month), also ‘naraka chaturdasi’ thithi. This day precedes the amavasai day. In south India, Naraka Chaturdashi is the main day of the Diwali celebrations. One day before the main day, the oven is cleaned, and then it is smeared with lime. Religious symbols are drawn on the oven, filled with water, and this is used on the main day for the oil bath. People wash their homes and decorate them with kolam designs, which are similar to rangolis in North India. Bursting of firecrackers and wearing new apparels are part of the celebrations. Crackers and new clothes are kept on a plate to be used on Diwali. On the morning of Diwali or Naraka Chaturdashi, the celebrations begin with an oil bathe before sunrise. Afterwards, sweets are eaten, and new clothes are worn.
Another unique ritual in South India observed on Diwali is Thalai Deepavali. On this day, newlyweds spend their first Diwali in the bride’s parental home.
Harikatha or the musical narration of the story of Lord Hari is performed in many areas. It is believed that Lord Krishna’s consort Satyabhama had killed demon Narakasura. Therefore, prayers are offered to special clay idols of Satyabhama. Rest of the celebrations is similar to those observed in other southern states.
On the first day, which is the day of Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi, people take an oil bath. There is a belief that Lord Krishna took the oil bath to remove the bloodstains from his body after killing Narakasura. Bali Padyami is the third day of Diwali when women sketch colourful rangolis in their houses and build forts from cow dung. There are stories associated with King Bali that are celebrated on this day. In Karnataka, these are two main days of Diwali.
Diwal Puja Timings and Muhurat
Amavasya Tithi Begins: 12:23 PM on Oct 27, 2019
Amavasya Tithi Ends: 09:08 AM on Oct 28, 2019
Laxmi puja mahurat: 06:43 PM to 08:15 PM
Duration: 01 Hour 32 Mins