India is a land of many festivals. And the different festivals are celebrated in different interesting ways in different parts of India. The festival of lights, Diwali, too is no exception. People in various parts of India celebrate Diwali in versatile ways with various practises, rituals and more. In most parts of India, Diwali is observed by worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, lighting up homes with diyas, giving gifts to loved ones and bursting crackers. Here are 7 ways of Diwali celebration in different parts of India:
Diwali in Bengal coincides with Kali Puja or Shyama Puja that takes place at night. Goddess Kali is decked up with hibiscus flowers and worshipped in temples and households. Devotees also offer sweets, lentils, rice and fish to Ma Kali. Temples in Kolkata like Dakshineshwar and Kalighat are famous for Kali Puja. Also, the night before Kali Puja, Bengalis follow the Bhoot Chaturdashi ritual to overcome the evil power by lighting up 14 diyas at home. In places like Barasat near Kolkata, Kali Puja takes place in a manner as grandiose as Durga Puja, with themed pandals and melas. In front of the Kali pandals, one will also notice figures of demons Dakini and Yogini.
Varanasi observes the Diwali of Gods, known as the Dev Deepawali. Devotees believe that Gods and Goddesses come down to earth to take a dip in the holi Ganga during this time. Prayers and diyas are offered to river Ganga and the banks, adorned with lamps and rangolis look profoundly mesmerising. Dev Deepawali falls on the full moon of the Kartika month and takes place fifteen days after Diwali.
In Odisha, on the occasion of Diwali, people perform Kauriya Kathi. It is a ritual in which people worship their ancestors in heaven. They burn jute sticks to call upon their ancestors and seek their blessings. During Diwali, Odias worship Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha and Goddess Kali.
Diwali in Maharashtra commences with the Vasu Baras ritual that takes place to honour cows. People celebrate Dhanteras to pay homage to the ancient doctor, Dhanvantari. On the occasion of Diwali, Maharashtrians worship Goddess Lakshmi and observe Diwali Cha Padva, celebrating the love of husband and wife. The celebrations end with Bhav Bij and Tusli Vivah that marks the starting of weddings.
With Diwali, a year ends for the people of Gujarat. Gujaratis celebrate the Gujarati New Year’s Day, Bestu Varas, on the next day of Diwali. The celebrations start with Vaag Baras, followed by Dhanteras, Kali Chaudash, Diwali, Bestu Varas, and Bhai Bij.
In Goa, Diwali is dedicated to Lord Krishna destroying the demon Narkasur. Mammoth effigies of the demon are made and burnt down on the dawn of Narakasura Chaturdashi, a day before Diwali. During Diwali, many people in Goa and parts of South India smear coconut oil on their bodies to free themselves of sin.
In Punjab, Diwali falls around the same time of Bandi Chhor Diwas, a Sikh festival celebrated with lighting up of households and gurudwaras, gifting, bursting crackers and feasting. Punjabi Hindus worship Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali. The celebration of Diwali also marks the arrival of winters in Punjab.
These are only a few of the spectacular ways of celebrating Diwali in the nooks and crannies of India. This year, we will miss the enthusiasm of the festival to some extent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we can definitely stay in our homes and spend some quality time with our families. On that note, Happy Diwali in advance to one and all! For now, you can witness the Maha Ganga Aarti at Varanasi from the comfort of your home: