Different and diverse are no foreign words for Indians. From the Northern tip of Kashmir to the Southern end of Kanyakumari, festivities and flavours differ. Similarly, Diwali is celebrated for different reasons in different destinations, but there's celebration all the same! The festival of lights as it is known, is literally a blast of lights and colours! The nitigrities of the customs and traditions of each ethnic group are worth taking a glance.
Some people hold it wrong to bifurcate groups and speak of their differences. But for a country as big and diverse as India, labelling and separating one from the other only helps understand oneself better by understanding the other. Mutual respect was never considered lacking in Indian consciousness. Every individual chances upon advertising his uniqueness by categorising himself under a special community. At the same time honouring the idiosyncrasies of other communities. Too didactic for Diwali? Well, Diwali is truly a beautiful merging of such old thoughts with the modern. There are celebrations all over India in a broad sense while there is something uncommon in the ways by which it is celebrated.
Diwali or Deepavali is an elaborate event that goes on for three to five days inspiring joy in all people alike. This is the time people make strong their relations as friends and family come together, share sweets and laugh a happy laugh. Come, let's introduce our customs and traditions associated with Diwali to other states and make strong our relations too.
The first and third days of Deepavali hold special significance for Kannadigas. The day of Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi is celebrated to mark the denouement of a demon named Narakasura. It is said that Lord Krishna took oil bath to rid himself of the blood of Narakasura splattered on his body after having killed him. To commemorate the same, people take oil bath on Naraka Chaturdashi. It is said that Goddess Ganga will be abided in the water and Goddess Lakshmi in the oil. It is amusing how a daily ritual can be made so grand and profound in Indian contexts.
The third day of Deepavali is called Bali Padyami. Women of the house sketch colourful rangoli at the doorstep and build forts in cow dung. There are stories attributed to King Bali that are remembered and celebrated on this day. Festivities continues till the day of Tulsi pooja.
In Maharashtra, all the five days are a colourful riot. Diwali starts with Vasubaras by performing aarti to a cow and its calf symbolic of celebrating the love of mother and her baby! On the no moon day, laksmi pooja is performed. Jewellery is worshipped along with the idol of Goddess Lakshmi for more prosperityin terms of wealth and knowledge. Sweets are distributed and the dark skies are illuminated with fireworks.
Badabadua ho andhaara e asa Aluaa e Jaao Baaisi pahacha e Gadagadau thaao (meaning: oh our ancestors, seers and gods you came on the dark night of Mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannatha!)
That's the crux of Diwali celebrations in Odisha. Tarpan is offered to Goddess Lakshmi and Kali puja is performed in various towns.
West Bengal and Assam
West Bengal offers pooja to Goddess Kali and lights fireworks. The Mithila region of Bihar and Assam perform Lakshmi and Ganesh pooja long with offerings to Goddess Kali.
Many stages host Harikatha or the musical narration of the story of Lord Hari. Lord Kirshna's consort Satyabhama is said to have actually killed demon Narakasura. Hence, special clay idols of Satyabhama are kept and offered prayers. Rest of the celebrations are similar to other southern states with new clothes and jewellery flaunted at road corners.
It is in Gujarat that the first crackers are burnt in the divine name of diwali. The festivities begin first at Gujarat before it does to the rest of the country. Naraka Chaturdashi is known as Dhanteras in Gujarat and choti diwali in North India. The day of Lakshmi pooja is the beginning of Gujarati New Year. It is the most auspicious day for all the new endeavours they plan to embark on. The following day marks Bhai-beej. That is when the sisters pray for the prosperity of their brothers. Gujarat also celebrates Diwali for five full days.
All in all, Diwali comes with many messages. From eccentric philosophies to mild madness, Diwali boasts of its dashing nature at different destinations.