Diwali Destinations: Celebrating The Festival Of Lights Across India
With Diwali just around the corner, we can only assume that almost every street of every corner in India will be adorned by lights, diyas and rangolis. The tradition of celebrating this festivity differs in different regions. For instance, the choice of food consumed during this time in Delhi may be different from that in Chennai. If you are curious as to how different regions in India celebrate the Festival of Lights, you have just landed on the right page, for we have so much to share with you.
Join us as we take a walk through the unique and amazing ways in which different places in India celebrate Diwali this year.
But before we get into the topic at hand, let's take a look at what Diwali is all about, shall we?
What Is Diwali And How Is It Celebrated?
Diwali, also known as Deepavali, is a significant Hindu festival celebrated all over India by people of different beliefs. It's often referred to as the 'festival of lights' and falls in either late October or early November in the regular calendar.
This festival holds a special place as it has to do with the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, as well as knowledge over ignorance. There are various stories linked with Diwali, but one of the most popular ones comes from the Hindu epic Ramayana. It celebrates the return of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman to rule Ayodhya, which is in modern-day Uttar Pradesh.
In the southern parts of India, it marks the win of the god Krishna over the demon Narakasura. Jainism observes this day as the one when Mahavira attained Nirvana. In Nepal, the Newar community, which follows a blend of Hinduism, Vajrayana Buddhism, and other traditions, offers prayers to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.
For certain groups, particularly those involved in business and trade, Diwali signifies the start of the Hindu financial year called samvat. In the evening, people worship the Goddess Lakshmi. Many shopkeepers and small business owners update their account books, known as bahi khaata, on this day. While the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange are closed, they conduct a brief auspicious trading session, known as mahurat trading, in the evening.
Now that that's covered, let's move on to the topic at hand, shall we?
Diwali Celebrations In Different Regions Of India
In a country as vast and diverse as India, it's no surprise that different regions have their own beliefs, traditions and even legends when it comes to celebrating Diwali. Let's now take a look at some of the most interesting ones.
Maharashtra: A Four-Day Festive Extravaganza
In Maharashtra, Diwali is a festive occasion that spans four days. The festivities kick off with Vasubaras, a day dedicated to showing appreciation for the bond between a mother cow and her calf through a special prayer.
Following that, there's Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi, which is celebrated much like in other parts of India. Then comes Narakchaturdashi, where people start their day with an aromatic oil bath and pay a visit to a temple. Afterwards, Maharashtrians indulge in a delightful feast of special Diwali treats like "karanji," "ladoo," and savoury snacks like "chakli" and "sev." This grand feast is known as Faral.
Finally, the fourth day, which is the main Diwali celebration, involves the performance of Lakshmi Puja. In every home, Goddess Lakshmi is revered, along with symbols of prosperity like money and jewellery.
Karnataka: Rituals and Legends
On the first day, people in Karnataka take special oil baths to mark the occasion. They believe it's similar to what Lord Krishna did to cleanse himself after a significant battle. Then comes Bali Padyami, the third day of Diwali, when women decorate their homes with colourful rangolis and make forts using cow dung. This day is all about stories that pay tribute to King Bali. These two days are really important for Diwali celebrations in Karnataka.
Andhra Pradesh: Narration Of Lord Hari's Tale
In different parts of Andhra Pradesh, they celebrate with something called Harikatha. It's like a musical story about Lord Hari, focusing on when Lord Krishna's companion, Satyabhama, defeated the demon Narakasura. They also give special attention to clay idols of Satyabhama to honour her bravery. The rest of the celebrations are similar to what you find in other southern states.
Gujarat: Bright Celebrations and Auspicious Beginnings
Before Diwali, markets in Western India are busy with shoppers. In Gujarat, people make colourful rangolis in front of their homes on Diwali eve. Rangolis are pretty designs made with colours. They also draw footprints to welcome Goddess Laxmi for good luck.
On Diwali, homes shine with lots of lights. For Gujaratis, Diwali is like a New Year. It's a lucky time to start new things like buying houses or opening shops. Some homes keep a special lamp burning all night. The flame from it is used to make kajal, a type of eye makeup that's believed to bring good luck for the whole year.
Just like in North India, Diwali in Western India lasts for five joyous days.
West Bengal and Assam: Goddess Kali Takes Center Stage
In West Bengal, Diwali is celebrated as Kali Puja, which comes six days after Durga Puja. On Diwali night, special late-night prayers are offered to Goddess Kali. Pandals (decorative structures) dedicated to Kali can be found in different areas. Other customs like rangoli drawings are also part of the celebrations. In rural Bengal, it's believed that Diwali night is when ancestors' souls travel to heaven, so people light lamps on tall poles to guide them.
Odisha: Lighting the Path for Ancestors
Similar to West Bengal, in Odisha, Diwali is a time to honour ancestors. There's a traditional saying, "Badabadua ho andhaara e asa Aluaa e Jaao Baaisi pahacha e Gadagadau thaao," which more or less translates to, "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!"
Diwali With HelpUsGreen
Now that we've covered how different places in India celebrate Diwali let's move on to a topic that we all love and are always so excited about: Gifts!We understand all too well the pressure and challenge that comes with finding the perfect Diwali gifts for your loved ones. Well, that is where Helpusgreen comes to the rescue. You see, if you visit our Diwali Gift Hampers collection page, you will be able to select the best gifts for Diwali. From sweet gift hampers to snack bars, playing cards, dhoop Sticks, Metal Light Holder, Metal Diyas, Ceramic Diya, Playing Card, Green tea, Rangoli Kit, and even toran. you will have tons of options to choose from. Plus, our hampers have the most eco-friendly incense cones and natural incense sticks that are guaranteed to make this year's Festival of Lights just divine.