India is a country of vibrancy and diversity. Our year can never get to a complete without celebrating our precious festivals vivaciously. One such festival is Diwali or Deepavali. It has its own mythological importance as well as the celebratory spirit which cannot be compared to any other festival. As our diversity is so broadened, so is our sense of celebration. Hence, let us take a look at major cities of India and their version of Diwali to enjoy with family and friends but first let us learn what the festival of Diwali is & why it is celebrated evry year with lots of excitement.
Diwali or Deepavali: The Celebration of Lord Rama
When Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana returned from a 14-year exile, it was a fortunate event, and that is why we celebrate Diwali. After Ravana had taken Sita hostage, Lord Rama overcame him during this time. All of the villagers lighted Diyas to commemorate the victory of good (Rama) over evil as they approached, lighting up their path of travel in the process (Ravana). The Hindu goddess Lakshmi, who is revered as the holy goddess of prosperity and wealth, is also celebrated during some regions of Deepavali.
The Sanskrit title for this holiday, Deepavali, translates to "arrangement of lights," symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness. The term, particularly in northern India, was changed to Diwali as people's understanding of Sanskrit declined.
Goa's version of Diwali is Narak Chaturdasi. On this day, early in the morning, a paper-made Narkasur (devil) stuffed with grass, trash, crackers, etc. is brought out and burned and incinerated to the accompaniment of jeers and insults. After igniting the Narkasur early on Diwali day, Hindu males go back to their houses to receive massage from their wives or moms using the same sort of oil and "utnem." Following a trip to the neighborhood temple, the family returns for another spread of their "favorite" desserts. A lot of people enjoy the holidays at casinos, so they are typically packed. Competitions are organized to see who can create the largest, scariest effigy.
Diwali is celebrated with great fanfare in Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan. Beautiful festoons and lights are used to beautify the marketplaces, which are also brimming with vendors selling handicrafts, jewellery, food, and other items. One of the few areas in India where Diwali is celebrated with energy and excitement is there.
Diwali is celebrated differently in Ayodhya than it is in the rest of the nation since here is the city where Lord Ram was born. In actuality, Ayodhya is where Diwali festivities begin. The main festivities take place along Sarayu River, where thousands of diyas are used to magnificently light up the river's banks. The big puja and aarti are believed to be performed by 81 priests, after which the river is reported to turn into a sea of diyas and shine with golden light.
In Varanasi, people celebrate Kartik Poornima, also known as the Dev Deepavali (the Diwali of the Gods). It takes place fifteen days after Diwali and occurs on the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartika in November or December. Oil lights and colored decorations are used to adorn front doorways and residences during Dev Deepavali. Evening festivities in Varanasi include burning firecrackers, bringing decked deities through the city's streets, and floating oil lights down the river.
Diwali festivities differ somewhat in Kolkata, just as they do during Navratri. It is known as Kali Puja in the city, and it is a festival honoring the Goddess, also known as the vanquisher of evil. In the evening, when the Kali Puja/Shyama Pujo is performed, the entire city (as well as West Bengal) is illuminated. Kali Puja is also celebrated in parts of the states of Orissa, Tripura, and Assam in addition to Bengal. Bengalis would burn 14 earthen lamps in honor of their ancestors the day before and consume the "choddo shaak," a seasonal health food made up of a combination of 14 green vegetables and medicinal herbs.
In remembrance of Prisoner Liberation Day, Sikhs observe Bandi Chhor Diwas on the day after Diwali. Mughal Emperor Jahangir released the sixth Sikh Guru and 52 other inmates from the Gwalior Fort. Festivities are planned for this day and the event across Punjab, particularly in Amritsar. Golden Temple is decorated for the Diwali festival with a wide array of vibrant lights, and the compound is lit up with many diyas (oil lamps) and candles. To see the festivities, thousands of followers travel to the location.
The Tamil communities observe the defeat of Narakasura, a symbol of evil, and burn lights in remembrance of the victory, similar to Goa (Agal vilakus). On the other hand, in Tamil Nadu, Deepavali is celebrated when Chaturdashi Tithi is in effect during Brahma Muhurat, or immediately before sunrise. A day before the major Diwali date or the day of Deepavali is typically chosen for this one-day festival. People wake up early, take a bath before the sun rises, dress neatly, engage in Puja, and light earthen lamps on Deepavali day.
Delhi city also sports a festive appearance during the Deepavali holiday. People's houses and market places are both lavishly decked with flowers and lights. Some folks even decorate their front door with rangolis, which are colored motifs formed on the floor. People use diyas and electric lights to adorn their homes' tops and entrances on the day of Diwali. In order to receive the blessing of prosperity, people also worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on this day. Without the lighting of crackers by both adults and children, Diwali celebrations in New Delhi, the capital of India, would not be complete.
According to residents of Maharashtra, the traditional Marathi family celebrates Diwali beginning with Vasu-baras, which also happens to coincide with the Marathi calendar's Ashwin Krishna Dwadashi date. This involves a festival conducted in every region of India in honor of cows, which are revered as mothers in the Hindu religion. The workers receive incentives and time off to enjoy this auspicious celebration with friends and family. The majority of the times, people utilize their bonuses to upgrade their homes and personal belongings. During the holiday season, when everyone is obviously out shopping, the businesses typically have promotions and deals to draw customers.
On Deepavali, people in Madurai and Coimbatore let off fireworks. In the early hours of Thursday, people in Tamil Nadu were spotted igniting firecrackers on highways and in society to celebrate the festival of lights. The rest of the celebration is very similar to the one in Tamil Nadu. They commemorate the defeat of Narakasura, a symbol of evil, by lighting candles to commemorate the triumph. Deepavali is celebrated when Chaturdashi Tithi is in force during Brahma Muhurat, or just before daybreak. This day is completed with raucous festivities for the people of Madurai.
To Dim Things Down
Now that you know how Diwali is celebrated all over India, celebrate in multiple ways yourself to honor India’s everlasting broad culture which seems to grow everyday somewhat more.
Bring light, prosperity, happiness and grandiose welcome into your life with the festival of lights. Guide yourself away from negativity and move towards a tremendous celebration of life. Happy Deepavali to All!