Diwali, known also as “The Festival of Lights” is largely celebrated in many regions. This blog explains how each region marks the occasion in their own unique way and contains stories and myths passed down through generations.
On this auspicious day, the nation joins together regardless of varied traditions and backgrounds. It is one among the most widely observed Indian festivals, marked by lights, gifts, rangolis (intricate patterns created on flat surfaces like floors and tabletops using materials like colored rice, dry flour etc.), joy, and laughing. Diwali is derived from the Sanskrit word “deepavali,” which literally means “rows of lit lamps.” Households all around India decorate their spaces with little lamps known as diyas and other bright lights to commemorate the occasion. There is festive illumination on the streets and buildings, as well as vibrant music and dance. Fireworks explode in a spectacular display of sound and light. This serves to ward off evil spirits while also commemorating the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali is celebrated in versatile ways across India, with distinct practices and rituals, despite the fact that the festival’s spirit remains the same across the country. Just like the diverse ways of celebration, there are different stories associated with the reason to celebrate Diwali.
In the eastern parts of India, like Bengal and Odisha, Diwali honours the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The lights and lamps are said to help Lakshmi find her way into peoples’ homes, bringing prosperity in the year to come! She is also celebrated as the goddess of prosperity, wealth and fertility and that she chose Lord Vishnu (the preserver) to be her husband on the night of Diwali.
It’s also a celebration of good triumphing over evil, and different legends based on this theme are associated with Diwali. In one of the main stories in Hindu mythology, Diwali is the day Lord Rama, his wife, Sita Devi and brother Lakshmana return to their homeland after 14 years in exile. The villagers lit a path for Rama, who had defeated the demon king Ravana.
In some other parts of India, people also celebrate goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil forces.
Another Diwali story in Hindu mythology is that Diwali marks the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and freed the people of his kingdom. After he slayed the demon, Lord Krishna declared it a day of festivities. In some parts of India, people burn effigies of the demon kings in both stories as part of the celebration. Diwali is also extensively celebrated in Nepal (country bordering north-east India).
Diwali coincides with harvest and new year celebrations in some cultures. In preparation for the new year, many people clean, redecorate, and decorate their homes, as well as purchase new clothing.
It’s always a day of fresh beginnings and light triumphing over darkness, no matter which Diwali story you celebrate.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Diwali is the festival for you. The gifting of mithai (sweets) is the most delectable custom. Friends and family trade colourful boxes of Indian treats such as pedas, ladoos, jalebis, barfis, dried fruits, and chocolates.
Here’s to every joy and blessing this Diwali!!