When it comes to Indian festivals, there’s nothing quite like Diwali. The entire country is lit up like in a fairy tale. From traditional diyas to fancy neon lights, the country is lit up in various hues. Families come together, eat big meals, homes are adorned with rangoli, special festive treats are prepared days in advance, gifts are exchanges and entire neighbourhoods light up with sheer joy. Diwali makes India truly come alive!
In every corner of India, people celebrate Diwali in their own special way. And it makes for a great experience to see how our countrymen across the nation like to ring in India’s favourite festival.
Here we bring you some of the major highlights of Diwali across India!
CELEBRATING DIWALI, TRULY NORTH STYLE
Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama along with his wife and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile, and after having killed Ravana. Their return was celebrated with fireworks, lights, bursting of crackers and much merriment by the joyous people of Ayodhya who are happy to have their King back.
On this day, the northern states of Bihar, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh celebrate the auspicious occasion by praying to Goddess Lakshmi, the symbol of wealth and prosperity and also to Lord Ganesha to gain blessings of wisdom for the new year.
Families come together and feast, friends get together and play card games through the night. There are special Diwali ppojas held in some temples, and public feasts are organized by some associations too. It’s a fabulous time to be in North India during Diwali, with special mithhais on offer everywhere you go! The nip in the air only adds to the charm of Diwali, with its warmth and diyas!
Diwali indeed is one of the most exciting festivals of the year, in places like Varanasi and Jaipur, the streets come alive and is a true sight to witness.
DIWALI IN THE EASTERN STATES
The eastern region of India, celebrate Diwali with equal fanfare. The day starts early, families get together, feasts are laid out and crackers light up the neighbourhood and sky. In Orissa, you will see oil lamps, candles and lanterns placed in rows outside homes.
While the celebrations are much like everywhere else in the country, there is one that involves burning of jute stems to light up a dark path, which leads the family’s forefathers to heaven. It is a primitive custom and practiced by some families. Doors are kept open and homes are brightly lit up to welcome the Goddess Lakshmi who brings prosperity in to the home.
DIWALI IN THE WEST
In the Western states of India, Diwali is celebrated for a period of 4 days, the preparations for which start way in advance. Markets are lit up and shopping frenzy reaches a new high. On the day before Diwali, Gujaratis decorate the verandahs of their homes with Rangoli, as an invitation to Goddess Laxmi.
On day one, which is Narakchaturdashi, fruits are smashed and crackers are burst to mark the killing of the evil demon Narkasaur. On the day of Lakshmi Puja, Day 2, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laksmi are worshipped all over the country. The business coominities of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan undertake the ‘Chopda Pujan’ or ‘Pooja of the Books’ where books of accounts are worshipped in a special ceremony, to pray to the Gods for prosperity in the business. The third day is a good day for a new beginning and is the day of shopping and lighting diyas. Day 4 is Bhau Beej, which celebrate the bond between brother and sister.
DIWALI IN THE SOUTH
In the southern region, Naraka Chaturdashi is the main day of Diwali celebration. In most homes, preparations begin a day before Diwali when the oven is cleaned, smeared with lime, religious symbols are drawn all around it and everyone prepares for an oil bath for the next day.
Kolam designs adorn homes, firecrackers and new clothes will be kept on a plate to be used on the day. Celebrations begin with an early morning oil bath before sunrise, sweets are eaten with much excitement and new clothes are then worn.
The festival of Diwali is celebrated in the Tamil month of Aipasi (Thulu month). Here, a unique custom requires a newly wed couple to spend their first Diwali after marriage in the bride’s parental home, where they take blessings from their elders, burst crackers, visit the temple and then are showered with gifts.
Diwali is a great time to visit many Indian cities, which come alive in all new light. With a sense of joie de vivre in the air and holidays in offices and schools, Diwali makes for the perfect time to explore our country.
Where would you like to be on Diwali? Let us know and we’ll take you there!