1.3 Billion people, 31 official languages, 29 states and one Grand festival – DIWALI!
The season of the festival has already begun! No matter where we live in this vast country if there is anything, which can connect all of us, then it’s DIWALI. Diwali is celebrated across the length and breadth of India. Every state has it’s own charm and traditions during this festival. Let’s take a close look at each state on the occasion of Diwali.
On the first day, they celebrate Dhanteran also known as Asweyuja Bahula Thrayodashi. A huge dummy of Narakasura is created that is filled with firecrackers. A person dressed up as Lord Krishna bursts this dummy.
Diwali is celebrated in AP for a period of five days but not in a very grand manner like it is celebrated in other parts of India.
In Assam people also perform Kali Puja on the Diwali day just like it is performed in West Bengal. On this day, people perform arty to the deity and draw beautiful rangolis to welcome goddess, Kali.
Prayers and offering to Lakshmi are made on the banks of the Ganges as well. Thousands of people gather at the bank of the holy Ganga, flowing through the state of Bihar. After the prayers, people light diyas and let them float into the river, creating a mesmerizing view of water illuminating the river.
Same like other states houses, markets and streets of this state are decorated with beautiful lights and decors.
In Goa, Diwali celebrations focus on the destruction of demon Narakasura who was killed by Lord Krishna. Why do Goans burn the monsters? Basically, Lord Vishnu and Bhu Devi have a son, Narkasur. He was the King in Goa. Being very greedy and cruel he used to steal away all the pretty girls. His supernatural powers made him arrogant and evil. So people called Lord Krishna and Narkasur was defeated by him on the same day.
In Gujarat, Diwali is associated mostly with the worship of Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth. Lakshmi puja in Gujarat lasts for five days, which starts with Dhanteras.
The fourth day or the day of Govardhan Puja is Gujrati’s New Year’s Day. Lakshmi is believed to visit the homes that are well lit. So, families decorate their houses with light, flowers and paper chains.
In Haryana, Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm. It comes in the middle of the month of Karthik. First, comes the little Diwali on which rice and sugar put in vessels, with a paisa placed on the top, are given away to Brahmins and girls. Diwali lamps are lighted in the evening and sweets distributed.
In Himachal Pradesh, Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The mud walls of the houses are cleaned and painted over with white clay and cow-dung. In the courtyards, a red or black square is painted with colored clay. This is decorated with pictures of animals and birds. The walls are decorated with flower garlands. People believe that Lakshmi who is the goddess of wealth visit all the houses this day and settles down in the house which is clean and pretty.
Deepawali is one of the oldest rituals for Kashmiri Pundits. We find a mention of its celebrations in Nilmat Puran. It was then celebrated as Sukhsuptika which literally means sleep with happiness. On Amavasya elders of family would keep a fast and worship goddess Laxmi after sunset
During the festival people of Jharkhand worship Dhanvantari, the physician of the Gods, who is believed to have emerged with a pot of Amrit during the Samudra Manthan. On this day most of the people buy new kitchen utensils and keep them at the place of worship.
Dhanteras is the first day of celebrations and Karnataka celebrates a day before and after Deepavali – the last day of Ashwin and the first day of Kartik as Narkachaturdashi and Bali Pratipada respectively. Narkachaturdashi celebrates the death of the evil king Narakasura at the hands of Satyambha, Lord Krishna’s consort. Bali Pratipada is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali and is related to the legend of Lord Vishnu and King Bali.
Kerala is the only state in India where Diwali is not a major festival. Traditionally, Deepavali celebrations in Kerala are on a low key as there aren’t too many merchant/business families here.
Every nook and corner of Madhya Pradesh is illuminated with colorful lights creating a kaleidoscopic against the backdrop of the dark sky.
The city which never sleeps is a true example of how the festival of lights should be celebrated. Just go to the Marine Drive. It gives an awesome view of the fireworks exploding in the sky reflects in the sparkling water.
Vasu-Baras, the Maratha New Year is an occasion for big celebrations, especially for married women in Maharashtra. Cows and calves are worshipped on this day to honor the bond and love between a mother and her child.
Around 40% of the population of Manipur follows Hinduism. Hence Diwali is celebrated in the state with same and great enthusiasm just like in other parts of the country.
Around 70% of the population of Meghalaya is Christian and only 13% are Hindus and hence Diwali is not a major festival of the state. 18 Mizoram 87% of the population of Mizoram is Christian. It is followed by Buddhist who account for 8% of the population while the state has only 3.5% Hindus. Hence Diwali is not a major festival of the state.
Only 8% population is Hindu so again Diwali is not a big reason for celebration in this state.
This festival of lights is uniquely celebrated in Orissa with its own charm and style. It is made by calling the spirit of an ancestor by lighting a lamp inside an earthen pot tied to a pole erected in front of the house.
In Oriya people say – “ Bada Badua ho, andhaara re aasa, aluwa re jaa. Baaisi pahaacha re gada gadau tha” Which means “O forefathers, come to us in this dark evening, we light your way to heaven. May you attain salvation on the 22 steps of the Jagannath Temple of Puri.”
The sacred and Holy place Amritsar is well known for Golden Temple and so is for its Diwali celebrations. Like the city, the Golden Temple is draped in lights and it is so beautiful to witness Diwali in Amritsar with a mesmerizing display of fireworks over the Golden Temple. In villages, cattle are adorned and worshiped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. Diwali is also the anniversary of Guru Hargobind Ji being released from the prison at Gwalior Fort.
Johri Bazaar Johri bazaar, the market that is famous all over the world for its scintillating jewelry, especially made and found in Jaipur, is seen gleaming with lights on Diwali.
In Sikkim Majority of people are Nepali and hence they celebrate Diwali in Nepali Style and with Nepali traditions. Here Festival of Diwali is known as Tihar.
The Festival honors certain animals on these days. The first day known as “KAK Tihar” is dedicated to crows and they are offered rice and are garlanded and worshiped. On the second day which is known as “Kukkur Tihar” dogs are garlanded. On the third day, the cows are honored with garlands and their horns are painted in bright colors. Fourth Day is dedicated to Bullocks.
The celebration starts one day prior to Narak Chaturdashi i.e Asweyuja Bahula Thrayodasi. On this day Tamilians clean their homes. They also clean all the utensils and smear them with lime, apply four or five KumKum dots on them and then fill them with water for the next day’s oil bath.
On Narkachaturdashi day, just like in the other Indian States here also people worship God Yama after sunset people light a lamp outside the house in the southern.they also burn an effigy of Narakasura and after that, they take oil bath and burst crackers.
Just like other states of India, in Telangana people decorate their house, buy new clothes, exchange sweets and do Laxmi Puja in the night.
As the Hindus largely dominate Tripura, the festivals celebrated here are quite common to the festivals celebrated in the rest of India. Diwali festival is celebrated after Durga Puja. On this occasion every year a big fair is held near Matabari in the temple of Tripura Sundari at Udaipur. This temple is known as one of the 51 holiest shrines of the Mother-Goddess, spread across India.
There is no better place than celebrating Diwali in the ‘city of lights’ Varanasi. The spectacular view of river Ganga from the city’s ghats gives an amazing feel on Diwali. The steps on the ghats are illuminated by the lights of thousands of diyas and fireworks over the Ganga river just adds on the mesmerizing view. Varanasi is worth a visit during Diwali if only to see this particular sight.
Festivities during Bugwaal see women in the village dressed in their best attire come together to meet and greet others in the community and to watch the younger people dance and sing besides lighting the ‘Bhayloo’ – a traditional firework.
The celebrations of Diwali in Kolkata is quite different from other cities as here people celebrate Kali Puja. The devotees worship Goddess Kali on the midnight of Diwali and the whole city is illuminated with candles, diya, and colorful electric bulbs. The view at Kalighat is spectacular and must be experienced by everyone.