Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a major Hindu festival celebrated in India with religious fervor and gaiety. It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of Kartika when gifts and sweets are exchanged and festive meals are prepared at home. The homes are cleaned and doors and windows are kept open all night through to welcome the arrival of the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. It celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after defeating his arch rival, Ravana. The celebration of Diwali marks the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. Much unlike the popular belief, Diwali is actually a five-day long festival.
Diwali celebrations begin with Dhanteras, a day specifically meant for the worship of Lakshmi. On the second day of the festival, Kali or the Goddess of strength is worshipped, while on the third day, which is supposed to be the last day of the year according to the lunar calendar, lamps are lighted in homes. On this day, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. Govardhan Puja is conducted on the fourth day of the 5-day long festival, while the fifth day is celebrated as “Bhatri Dooj” or “Bhai Dooj” when all brothers visit their sisters to look into their well being.
Since India is a country of multiple religions, people have their own reasons to celebrate the festival. Whereas the Jain communities celebrate Diwali as a New Year’s Day, Sikhs celebrate it because it was on this day that their sixth Guru returned to Amritsar in 1620. Whatever be the reason, Diwali is one of the most important festivals that is celebrated in India with great pomp and show. People wait for this celebration time all year around. Sending greetings, preparing traditional dishes, decorating house, lighting diya and bursting crackers are all a part of the festival.
Diwali in North India
Diwali, also known as the ‘festival of lights’ is one of the biggest and grandest festivals celebrated all over India and abroad. Celebrated over five days, Diwali is marked by worshipping of Goddess Lakshmi. Marked on the dark night of Kartik Amavasya, this auspicious occasion connotes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
Diwali in South India
Enthusiasm, happiness, grandeur and illumination are words that best describe the most significant and biggest festival of the Hindus - Diwali. This festival of lights is celebrated across five days not only in Hinduism, but also in Sikhism and Jainism. This colorful and exciting occasion is celebrated with immense grandiosity and magnificence in India and across the globe.
Kaali Puja in West Bengal
Kali Puja, also known as Shyama Puja, celebrated in West Bengal, coincides with Diwali celebrations across the country. Not only in Bengal, Kali Puja is celebrated in Orissa and Assam as well. Similar to Diwali, Kali Puja is commemorates the victory of good over evil and is celebrated on the moonless night of Kartik Amavasya. However, both these individual festivals have their own significant differences as well.