The significance of Diwali holds its importance from the day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. The festival is celebrated upon the mark of his return to the Kingdom of Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana. Apart from Hindus, Diwali is also celebrated among religions like Sikhism, Jainism. It is believed that on this day Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana (Moksha). Among Sikhs, it is popularly celebrated with great vigor as on this day the sixth Guru (Guru Hargobind Singh) was released from prison by Mughals.
Now we shall throw light on how Diwali is being celebrated in different regions of India.
In Northern India, Diwali celebrations take place with Dussehra, where a dramatic play of Lord Rama story and his victory over Ravana is depicted. People illuminate their houses with Diyas and candles and worship Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. It is believed that on this day Goddess Lakshmi roams around the Earth and blesses with abundance wealth and prosperity.
The people of Punjab celebrate Diwali by decorating their houses and Gurudwara by lights and candles. They also are engaged in gambling as it is believed that the game played on this day would enhance money luck.
In Delhi and UP, the Diwali celebrations are begun by worshipping Goddess Laxmi at night and after that visiting the houses of relatives for an exchange of gifts and sweets. In some houses, there is a ritual of keeping a silver coin in a glass of milk, which is after that sprinkled in all the rooms.
In Eastern India, people follow the same customs which consists of lighting the lamps, candles, along with the burning of firecrackers. Many people believe that by lighting the houses and keeping the doors of the houses open would attract Goddess Lakshmi.
West Bengal and Assam
In West Bengal, people perform the Laksmi Puja after six days of Durga Puja. People worship Goddess Kali in the form of Lakshmi. Kali puja pandals are arranged in various areas. People also decorate their houses with Rangoli.
In Odisha too, Diwali is celebrated by paying tribute to the forefathers or ancestors.
“Badabadua ho andhaara e asa Aluaa e Jaao Baaisi pahacha e Gadagadau thaao”, which means Oh our ancestors you came in this dark world and now we are showing you light to go to abode.
In Western India people mostly associate the festival with business and trade. Before the commencement of Diwali, the markets of Western India are flooded with Diwali shoppers.
In Gujarat, people create colorful rangolis in front of their houses. Footprints are drawn to invite Goddess Laxmi in the houses. The houses are brightly lit and the Gujaratis celebrate it as the New Year. In some houses, a Diya is being lit. The flame collected from the diya is used to make kohl or kajal which is applied by women on their eyes. It is believed to bring wealth and prosperity for the whole year.
In Maharashtra, the festival Diwali is celebrated for 4 days. The cows and calves are worshipped by performing the aarti. It signifies the mother and child love. The following day is Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi, which is celebrated similarly to other regions. On the third day i.e on Narakchaturdashi, people take bath early morning consisting of scented oil and visit a temple. After this day the Maharashtrians prepare delicious sweets like laddoo and karanji and spicy items like “chakli” and “sev”. This treat is called as Faral.
In all the houses, Goddess Lakshmi along with money and jewelry are worshipped.
The Tamils celebrate Diwali during the aipisi (which is thula month), also known as Naraka Chaturdashi Tithi. One day before it, the oven is cleaned and then it is smeared with lemon. People take oil bath during this day before Sunrise. After this, sweets are eaten and new clothes are worn.
In Andhra Pradesh, people worship Satyabhama by making unique clay idols of Satyabhama. Stories of Lord Krishna are also narrated in some areas.