Diwali Celebrations in Different Regions of India

Diwali, also called Deepavali or the “festival of lights”) is an ancient Hindu festival.  It is one of the largest and brightest religious festivals in India. The festival of Diwali symbolizes the prosperity, happiness, homecoming, love and warmth. It is celebrated with great fervor and zeal across different parts of India. The preparations, rituals and celebrations extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. Prior to Diwali, people clean their homes, offices and decorate them with flowers. On the night of Diwali, they dress up in new clothes, light up diyas (earthen lamps and candles) inside and outside their home; perform Lakshmi pooja (the goddess of wealth and prosperity). After puja, fireworks follow and then a family feast including sweets, and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Different parts of India expanded by religion and cultures have their own reason to celebrate Diwali, but the most popular legend is of Lord Rama and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom, Ayodhaya from exile after defeating the demon King Ravana.

In this article, we have mentioned how different regions of India celebrate Diwali:

Diwali is one of the oldest ceremonies for Kashmiri Pundits. The celebrations are also mentioned in the ‘Nilmat Purana’. This festival is celebrated as ‘Sukhsuptika’ meaning sleep with happiness. The celebrations begin from Ekadeshi and last till Amavasya. On Amavasya, the elders of the family keep a fast and worship Goddess Laxmi after sunset. Afterwards, earthen lamps are placed in temples, courtyards, cremation grounds, cow sheds, streams and lake hill houses, shops etc.

Amritsar (Punjab)
Diwali is celebrated as the Bandi Chhor Divas and also the anniversary of Guru Har Gobind ji, being freed from the Gwalior Fort from the prison of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir and arrived at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Therefore, on this day, Golden Temple is illuminated with colourful traditional lamps. Moreover, Thousands of devotees come here for the grand Diwali celebrations with fireworks at night to restore the glory of the past.

West Bengal
In the state of West Bengal, Diwali is celebrated in the form of ‘Kali Puja’. People of West Bengal, worship an avatar of goddess Durga, Kali. Prayers and rituals start and continue till late in the night. Devotees come together at the neighbourhood venues and feast on a sacrificial goat which was sacrificed during Diwali.

In the state of Goa, Diwali is celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi. People of Goa make huge effigies of Narakasura, the demon and burn it on this day. After burning the effigies, the men folk return to their homes for a massage by their wives/mothers with the same oil and ‘utnem’. Then, the entire family visits the local temple and enjoys feasts on ‘foav’ sweets.

Tamil Nadu
In Tamil Nadu state, Diwali celebration starts with all family members taking a traditional oil bath before sunrise. It is customary to take a small quantity of ‘Diwali Lehiyam’ (which is a medicinal ayurvedic paste) after the oil bath, wear new clothes and then enjoy breakfast. Delicious items such as veli appam, ukkarai, chutney, idli, sambhar, pathir peni, jangir and/or one variety of poli are made for the feast. The houses are washed and decorated with Kolam designs of Rangoli.

In the state of Maharashtra, a classic Marathi family begins Diwali celebrations with ‘Vasu-baras’. It is a festivity organized in the honour of cows. In addition, married women offer prayers to the cows having calf. This practice symbolizes a woman’s gratitude towards cow for serving them and their children.

Diwali is remarked as an official holiday in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Myanmar, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Malaysia, Fiji, Singapore, and the Australian external territory of Christmas Island. Apart from Diwali, on this day, Jains celebrate a festival of lights to mark the attainment of moksha by Mahavira.

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