The Diwali festival has been celebrated for ages all over India and the culture of each Indian state has increased the sparkle of this festival of light. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the festival takes the flavour of the region. Let’s explore the changing colours or rather the changing lights of Diwali festival in different regions of India.
In North the tradition of Ram Leela is very old. From very old days this type of theatre is quite famous in the North Indian States. During Diwali the ghats of Varanasi are lit up with innumerable diyas and prayers are offered to the holy river of Ganges. The Sikhs celebrate ‘Bandi Chhor Divas’, which coincides with the Diwali day. The sixth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Hargobind, was released from prison in Gwalior on this day. So Sikhs celebrate the return of their Guru during Diwali. Every year an enchanting display of lights and fireworks at the Sikh pilgrimage centre, the Golden Temple at Amritsar attracts thousands of Sikhs and other visitors who throng to get a visual of the magnificent display of Diwali brightness.
West Bengal worships Goddess Kali, the destructor of evil, on the new moon night of Diwali while the rest of India worships Goddess Lakshmi. Plantain leaves are used to decorate the entry of the house. Bengalis perform Lakshmi puja after five days of Dussehra, instead of the Diwali day. In Odisha, one peculiar ritual is the calling of spirits of the forefathers, to lead them to Heaven during Diwali festival. The family members hold burning jute stems and chant prayers to light up the paths to the Heaven, for their ancestors’ souls. Doors and windows are also kept open throughout the evening to give a free path to Goddess Lakshmi who is believed to visit homes on Diwali night.
Diwali is a festival of wealth and prosperity, and it is a major celebration for the business communities. The state of Gujarat known for its entrepreneurial potential celebrates Diwali festival with highest regard. Goddess Lakshmi the deity of prosperity is worshipped on Dhanteras as well as Diwali day with hopes of getting her blessings for their ventures as well as homes. Diwali marks the beginning of a new financial year for the Gujarati businessmen and they perform Chopda pujan (worshipping new account book) along with Lakshmi puja. The fourth day is Govardhan puja that honours the act of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan Mountain to save his village people from the storm that was raised by the wrath of arrogant Lord Indra. This day is also the New Year day for the Guajaratis.
In the South, Diwali is referred to as Deepavali and it begins with Dhanteras, known as Dantrayodashi, which is a modest beginning. The Southern Diwali actually starts in a big way on the day after, which is called Narakachaturdashi. It commemorates the killing of demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama.
Each region have it's own tradition and culture. May this Diwali brings happiness in your life. Lopscoop wishes you and your family - Happy Diwali!