The vivid festival of Diwali is a magical time in India. The whole nation comes together during this festival of lights to welcome Lord Ram with open arms and to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. Although the 5 days of Diwali are uniform throughout the region, there are certain unique celebrations and customs that take place in each state of the country. Here are some intriguing unique ways of celebrating Diwali in India. Check out the other countries who celebrates Diwali in different ways.
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In Maharashtra state, Naraka Chaturdashi celebrations begin very early in the day. Families wake up before sunrise in order to have a bath and get ready before dawn. They take elaborate baths with special sandalwood packs, perfumes and lotions which is then followed by an aarti and ceremonial breakfast. An intimidating concept, it is believed that there is a special place reserved in hell (narak) for people who wake up after sunrise on this day!
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Each state has different ways of celebrating Diwali. In Goa it is common to find huge effigies of Narkasura being burnt at dawn. The narrow streets fill up with happy carnivals and firecracker shows. When you are in Goa, do not forget to check other things to do in Goa, the next Diwali morning before you leave for the other place.
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In Gujarat, celebrations start a bit earlier than the rest of India, on the 11th day of lunar cycle or Agyaras. Agyaras is the process of keeping the 11 indriyas (senses) in control. This is done by abstaining from food items that are tamasik and rajasik in nature. Only satvick food items such as fruits, nuts and roots are consumed.
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In Karnataka, farmers pay their respects to Govardhana on Diwali and also light bonfires to depict the banishing of Narkasura. On Lakshmi poojan day, the houses are decorated with flowers and lamps to invite the auspicious spirit of King Bali in their homes.
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The temples of Mathura and Nathdwara celebrate Diwali in a unique manner. The presiding deities of the temples are bathed in milk and are then adorned with clothes and jewellery made of precious gems. The idols are then offered a variety of delicacies made especially for them. After the celebrations are over, the food is distributed among worshippers.
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In Orissa, Diwali is celebrated in the honour of ancestors. Families erect tall bamboo poles in front of their houses. Earthen pots having lighted lamps are then tied to the top of the poles with ropes. All this is done with the belief that the ancestors of the household will find their path to heaven.
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Although the rest of the nation worships Goddess Lakshmi during Diwali, in West Bengal, Goddess Kali is worshipped. However, shopkeepers still conduct Lakshmi pooja at their place of business.
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In Bihar, symbolic mountains of food are prepared representing the Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna, then shared in the community.
For Sikhs, Diwali is significant because Guru Hargobind Sahib was freed from his imprisonment on this day. For them, Diwali means worshipping religious freedom. A few communities across the nation gamble during Diwali! It is believed that the more money you win during this auspicious festival, the more you will prosper throughout the year. However, it is a familial affair and is usually played light heartedly.
A family I know has cooking competitions during Diwali! Groups are made on the basis of gender and then the battle begins! All the uncles try to make better Diwali delicacies than all the aunties! Does your family have any such fun traditions during Diwali? Let us know by commenting below. Happy Diwali to you.
- With inputs from Reshma Dewda.