Diwali is one of the most significant festivals in Hinduism that is celebrated with great zeal and happiness all across the nation. Also known as Deepawali, the festivities of Diwali are celebrated for five days. Each day of Diwali has a legend associated with it and each day gives us a message of moral values which paves way for a healthier and good life.
This five-day celebration begins with Dhanteras, the second day is celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas, the third day is also referred to as Diwali or Lakshmi Pujan. The fourth day is observed as the Govardhan Puja and the festival of Bhai Dooj falls on the fifth day.
What are the preparations people do before Diwali?
‘Tidiness is close to Godliness’ and none can clarify this better than individuals who observe Diwali. The groundwork for this great celebration begins much ahead with individuals cleaning their homes and workplaces. Flowers, lights, lanterns and even earthen lamps along with rangoli and various powdered colours are bought for decoration purpose and for welcoming peace, prosperity, positivity, togetherness and love in the dwelling.
Food plays a significant role in Indian rituals and customs. Just the way every festival has its own story and significance similarly for every festival there is a specific set of delicacies which are sweet and savoury as well. A month or fifteen days prior to the festival, people begin shopping for clothes, crackers, gold and silver ornaments or coins, kitchen appliances and ingredients to prepare the delicacies. Finally, when the day of Diwali arrives, almost every Hindu household in India is sparkling bright with lights and diyas. The festivities of Diwali are celebrated all over the country but the way this festival is celebrated varies in each part of the country.
Let us now take a look at how different states celebrate Diwali.
Lord Rama took birth in the city of Ayodhya which is in the state of Uttar Pradesh. People of Uttar Pradesh celebrate Diwali with great fervour and joy. It is said that if you want to witness Diwali in a true sense you must visit the ghats of Ganges as it is a treat to the eyes. The celebration starts with a number of pundits performing grand Ganga Aarti on the Ghats. Excellent uniformity while moving the Huge metal diyas while the soothing sound of chants and melodious bells can be observed. The Ganga ghats are decorated with oil and ghee lit diyas. One can also observe a range of earthen diyas floating over the water of Ganga. It is a breathtaking experience which calms your mind and gets you spiritually elevated.
Diwali brings along with it winters, it is a time when winter falls. This time plays a significant role for farmers in Punjab as they begin sowing seeds in the ploughed lands. This time marks the beginning of the farming season. In Punjab, the festival of Diwali is not celebrated as such on the contrary; they observe Bandi Chhor Diwas that falls around the same time. The Bandi Chhor Diwas is observed to celebrate the freedom of Guru Hargobind and 52 other Sikh Kings who were set out of the prison of the Mughal Emperors. Similar to Diwali, on the auspicious occasion of Bandi Chhor Diwas, houses and Gurudwaras are lit with lights and mouth-watering delicacies are prepared. Langar is set up for the individuals who come to offer their prayers at the Holy site.
In West Bengal people celebrate Kali Pujan on the day of Diwali as both the festivals coincide with each other. On this day people buy new clothes, decorate their houses and visit Kali Temple in Kalighat and Dakshineshwar to venerate and to worship Goddess Kali. Many Kali Puja pandals are set up around the city of West Bengal during this period. People pay a visit to multiple Kali pujan pandals and seek Her blessings.
In Gujrat, the festival of Diwali marks the end of the year. Lakshmi Pujan plays a pivotal role in Gujrat and often prayers are offered to the Goddess to seek Her blessings and to attract wealth and riches. They decorate their houses and also draw rangoli outside the main door to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
In Maharashtra, the festival of Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness. All the five days of Diwali starting from dhantrayodashi, Kali Chaudas, Lakshmi Pujan, Gowardhan Pujan and Bhai Dooj are celebrated in Maharashtra. People indulge in buying new clothes, gold and silver ornaments, and like. The festivities come to an end on the day of Tulsi Vivaah.
In Tamil Nadu, the festival of Diwali is celebrated a day prior as compared to the celebrations in other parts of the nation. On the day of Narak Chaturdashi, the Tamilians celebrate Diwali. On this day people in Tamil Nadu wake up before sunrise and take shower with oil. Then they light the Holy lamp known as the kuthu vilaku and venerate God’s and Goddesses. Once this is done they offer neivedyam to the Gods and Goddesses. Lehyam, an Ayurvedic medicine too is prepared on this occasion. This medicine is said to offer relief from indigestion and is consumed after an individual is done enjoying a lavish spread.
In Andhra Pradesh, on the occasion of Diwali individuals celebrate the end of Narkasura by Lord Sathyabama. On this day the people of Andhra venerate Lord Satyabhama and similar to Diwali festivities they to prepare sweet and savoury delicacies and shop for new clothes.
This is how the festivities differ in each state but the motive and the emotion behind celebrating the festival of Diwali remains the same. A lot of people even paint and renovate their houses months before the festival. There is Lakshmi Pujan organised in offices and all are dressed in traditional attires. Thus, the spirits of people are High and the Diwali season helps families and friends to come together and celebrate the festivities together with love and warmth.