India is a diverse country in terms of traditions, beliefs, and religions. And Diwali, being one of the most auspicious festivals in India, is celebrated all across the nation with utmost zeal and enthusiasm. Diwali celebrations may also vary from region to region, according to the different beliefs and traditions. Following are some different ways in which different parts of India commemorate Diwali:
In Northern India, the occasion of Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana after 14 years of exile. To welcome him and celebrate the victory of good over evil, the people of Ayodhya lighted the entire kingdom with diyas. Thus, Diwali became the festival of lights. The tradition continues even today in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Bihar where people decorate their houses with diyas and fairy lights.
The basic rituals and beliefs associated with Diwali remain the same in the Eastern parts of India. People in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam also light diyas, lamps, candles and burst crackers to celebrate this day. Also, they worship Goddess Laxmi – the Goddess of wealth and prosperity on this day. They keep their doors open on this day so that Goddess Laxmi can enter and bless them. It is also believed that one must decorate their house with lights on this day and keep proper cleanliness to ensure Goddess Laxmi blesses them.
In the western parts of India, Diwali celebrations commence a few days before the actual festival. At this time, the markets of Western India are usually filled with shoppers. People draw colourful and vibrant rangoli designs along footprints in front of their houses to Goddess Laxmi. Also, on the first day of the Diwali celebrations, women perform an Aarti of cows and calves which signifies the love between a mother and her child. Gujarat and Maharashtra are the two states that follow these rituals ardently.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated in the Tamil month of ‘aippasi’ on ‘Naraka Chaturdasi’ tithi. The day on which Diwali is celebrated is the ‘Naraka Chaturdashi.’ On this auspicious day, people wash their homes and decorate them with Kolam designs. These designs are similar to the Rangoli designs made in the homes of West India. Women also make forts out of cow dung, which is considered to be very auspicious while men take an oil bath. This is done owing to a belief, according which Lord Krishna took an oil bath to remove blood stains from his body after killing Narakasura.
No matter how you wish to celebrate this festival, all you need is love and respect in your heart to commemorate the festival. Also, if you are planning to celebrate this occasion with your loved ones, do not forget to get some Diwali gifts and Diwali sweets which you can easily find online.