Diwali is celebrated almost by everyone living in India. It is a pan India festival which is celebrated by every Indian. However the kind of traditions and customs followed might differ. Study about the customs and traditions that are followed by the different part of the country you yourself analyse how the cultures and traditions differ state wise and how this festival is celebrated in differnt parts of the country. Also learn about the exclusive traditions that are followed by various states on the occasion of Diwali. After reading click here to refer this page to your friends and relatives, so that they can as well learn about the different individuated traditions and rituals followed. Happy reading and have a happy and safe Diwali!
India is the only country where there dwell diversity amidst unity. It is the only land which is cultured by various cultures and traditions and as well festival of different kind. Thus it can well be said no matter however the festival can be or whatever form it may take, the celebration is uniform everywhere and as well celebrated in every nooks and corners of the state.Same goes for the festival of Diwali. It is a pan India festival thus celebrated everyone. But as mentioned earlier, India is a land of diversity thus minor distinctions in the mode of celebration is quite obvious. Find out more about the celebration and its variations.
Diwali which is a five day festival represents the start of the Hindu New Year. It commemorates the victory of good over evil, and thus brightness over darkness. It also marks the onset of winter. However there is different significance behind the celebration of Diwali which is actually celebrated to honor Lord Rama and his wife Sita who returned to their kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile, following Rama and monkey god Hanuman's defeat the demon King Ravana and rescue of Sita from his evil clutches (celebrated on Dussehra).
Thus this day is truly celebrated by pan India with equal viqor and zeal. Almost every Indian celebrates this festival by lighting lamps and bursting fire crackers.
North India: As Diwali is supposedly celebrated on the occasion when Lord Rama along with wife Sita and brother Lakshman returned to his capital Ayodhya, after defeating and killing the evil King Ravana and spending fourteen years in exile. It was a new moon day of the Kartik season. His homecoming was thus greatly celebrated with lights, fireworks, bursting of crackers and merriment. This tradition of Diwali celebration continued to be observed to this day in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and the surrounding areas where huge effigies of Ravana are burned implying Lord Rama's annihilating of the demon king. Thus the Diwali nights in these areas, are nights of fireworks and crackers. They are burnt all night long to celebrate the occasion.
The people of North India make it a point that along with worshiping Goddess Kali on the day of Diwali, they equally worship the idols of Goddess Lakshmi as well Lord Ganesha, for Goddess Lakshmi symbolises wealth and prosperity and whereas the elephant-headed god is the epitome of auspiciousness and wisdom. Thus they are worshipped with most austerity in most of the Hindu homes on this day. In fact most of the temples as well dedicated to the worship of Lord Rama or Krishna celebrate Diwali with great piety and eagerness.
Eastern India: The eastern India is no less in their enthusiasm. It is almost a common site in the state of Orissa where everyone decorates their houses with the light of oil lamps, candles and lanterns that are generally placed in rows. In order to heighten the celebration further, crackers are burst, sparklers are lighted and gifts and sweet are distributed amongst the people of the state. Thus the ways of celebration on the Eastern part of India is almost alike like anywhere in India except for one ritual that calls upon the spirits of the family's forefathers.
One of the primitive customs that is duly followed in this festival is the burning of jute stems. This custom is solely followed so as to light up the dark paths that help the spirits of the ancestors to trace back their path to heaven. Most of the houses are brightly lit and the doors and windows are kept open to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, who is supposed to visit every home during this time and ignores all places that are kept dark and abandoned.
In West Bengal however Lakshmi puja is celebrated earlier than the Diwali celebrations and the deity celebrated on this occasion is the fierce avatar of Goddess Kali. "Kali Puja" or the worship of Goddess Kali is what makes the celebration in this part of India a unique one. In Kolkata, the capital of the state, as well as in all the other parts of West Bengal, the nights of "Kali Puja" are marked by high festivities that consists of activities similar to other regions like bursting crackers, holding dazzling fireworks display, lighting rows of candles and diyas around individual homes, painting colorful patterns at the doorstep, dressing up in new apparels and paying a visit to friends and relatives. Across the state, makeshift structures called pandals, made of articles as bamboos and cloth, are erected that house idols of Goddess Kali for the two days of celebration. The actual worship of the deity is, however, done only for one night during this festival. It is also believed that it is the night of the 'Pitripurush' (ancestors) and lamps are lit on long poles to guide their souls on this night. But the practice is more common in rural areas of Bengal than in cities like Kolkata.
Western India: The western states of India celebrate Diwali for four days, the preparations for which begin at least 15 days prior to the final celebration. People engage themselves in a month-long shopping and making preparations for the occasion. Markets all over make arrangements to cater the month requirements of Diwali shoppers and thus in way boost their business transactions as well.
The Gujarati community starts celebrations in different ways. Just the nights preceding the festival, they start their celebration by creating various designs with natural powder colors (called "Rangoli") in their verandas. These designs are depiction of images associated to the festival like the deities, sun and flowers. Images of small footprints are also drawn over individual doorsteps which are supposed to be a way of inviting Goddess Lakshmi to the house.
The four day long festival is individuated with individual rituals and customs for the first day of the festival which is Narakchaturdashi when fruits are smashed and crackers are burst thus to symbolize the killing of the evil demon Narakasur. The second and most important day of Diwali is dedicated to Lakshmi Puja, when Hindu homes all over the western region of India worship the idols of Lord Ganesh (deity of auspiciousness and wisdom) and Goddess Lakshmi (deity of wealth and prosperity) or symbols of them like currency notes and gold. The third day or the Padawa is considered to be one of the most auspicious days of the year in states like Maharashtra for it is held to be auspicious for any mew beginning. Thus the third day is entirely dedicated to shopping, lighting diyas (earthen lamps) and as well performing the tilak ceremony.
The people of Gujarat however consider this day as a New Year day thus make this day as an opportunity to visit each other and to wish each other a new beginning. Bhau Beej is the last day of the festival which signifies sibling bonding. The celebrations during this day are quite akin to that of Raksha Bandhan, another great Indian festival that is dedicated to strengthen the bond of brother-sister relationship. Unlike Raksha Bandhan however, which is a day dedicated to brothers, Bhau Beej is dedicated to sisters.
Southern India : Well Diwali in the southern part takes a different turn for various exclusive Diwali customs are observed in Tamil Nadu. The people of Tamil Nadu observe this once-in-a-lifetime event, Thalai Deepavali, which is observed by newlyweds who are entitled to celebrate their first diwali after marriage in the bride's parental home. According to the traditions associated, the newly married couple, after taking blessings from the elders are supposed to burst the first crackers of the day and thereafter pay a visit to the temple, get gifts of clothes and jewellery, savor on the sweets that are reserved for them and receive blessings of elders for a happy married life. In this joyful occasion the groom's parents and relatives also come down to join in the celebrations.
However the people of Maharashtra celebrate Diwali for four days. The first day which is Vasubaras, is celebrated by performing an Aarti of the cow and its calf. This Aarti is observed for it enhances the love between a mother and her baby. The next day is known as the Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras which is a special day dedicated to tradesmen and business people for this day is considered auspicious for opening new account books after a worshiping Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi. The third day or Narakchaturdashi is when people get up before sunrise and take a bath by rubbing scented oil on their body. Once done with the bathing custom, the entire family visits a temple and offers their prayers to the God, following which everyone is supposed to feasts on Faral, a special Diwali preparation consisting of delicious sweets such as "karanji" and "ladoo" as well as some spicy eatables like "chakli" and "sev". And the fourth day is the Lakshmi pujan day, a new moon day, on which the dark night is illuminated by lamps and fireworks. In every household, an idol of Goddess Lakshmi and items of wealth like currency and jewellery are worshipped. Friends, neighbours and relatives are invited over and celebrations are in full swing.
Rural India: The rural India however celebrates Diwali with different motives and intentions, for it is the harvest festival for them. Thus every village in the country celebrate this festival with utmost vibe and energy for Diwali is the time when farmers celebrate with joy and offer praises to God for granting them a good crop. Thus various customs are followed in order to honor the deity. The primary custom is the drawing of colored Rangoli or Kolam designs of the footsteps of Goddess Lakshmi at individual doorsteps. It is believed the houses that design their doors with such designs are to usher in wealth, fortune and prosperity. Idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha are worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day. However at the dusk, the real jubilations begin. Tiny earthen lamps and candles are arranged all over individual huts in rows and create a beautiful sight to behold. People wear new apparels, burst firecrackers and light sparklers, visit the places of their relatives and friends to wish them on the occasion of Diwali and exchange gifts.
Thus all these illuminations and fireworks, joy and festivity, symbolizes the triumph of righteous over those of wickedness, or rather - of good over evil.