||Date of Observance: New moon of
is the abbreviation of the
Sanskrit word "Deepavwali", which means "row of
lights". The festival is celebrated on the occasion of
Lord Krishna and his wife
Satyabhama killing a demon
Narakasura. Another story says the festival is
celebrated for the return of
Sita to the kingdom
Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile.
Diwali (also spelled Devali in certain regions) or Deepavali,[note
1] popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a festival
celebrated between mid-October and mid-November for different
reasons. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important
festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing
traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali
marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527
Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka,
Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia,
Singapore, and Fiji.
The name "Diwali" or "Divali" is a contraction of "Deepavali"
(Sanskrit: दीपावली Dīpāvalī), which translates into "row of
lamps". Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (dīpa in
Sanskrit: दीप) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over
evil. These lamps are kept on during the night and one's house is
cleaned, both done in order to make the goddess Lakshmi feel
welcome. Firecrackers are burst in order to drive away evil
spirits. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new
clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.
Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and
Lakshmana, from his 14-year-long exile and vanquishing the
demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their
king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illuminated the
kingdom with earthen diyas and by bursting firecrackers.
The festival starts with Dhanteras on which most Indian business
communities begin their financial year. The second day of the
festival, Naraka Chaturdasi, marks the vanquishing of the demon
Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the third
day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth
in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees.
Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf
incarnation vanquished the Bali, and banished him to Patala. It is
on the fourth day of Diwali, Kartika Shudda Padyami, that Bali went
to patala and took the reins of his new kingdom in there. The fifth
day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj), and on
this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.
Krishna and Satyabhama fighting Narakasura's armies -Painting
from the Metropolitan Museum
It begins in late Ashvin (between September and October) and ends in
early Kartika (between October and November). The days in Ashvin are
in the Krishna Paksha ("dark fortnight") of that month, while the
days in Kartik are in its Shukla Paksha ("bright fortnight"). The
first day is Dhan Teras. The last day is Yama Dvitiya, which
signifies the second day of the light half of Kartika. Each day of
Diwali marks one celebration of the six principal stories associated
with the festival.
Hindus have several significant events associated with Diwali:
The return of Rama after 14 years of Vanvas (banishment). To welcome
his return, diyas (ghee lamps) were lit in rows of 20.
The killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi, one day
before Diwali, it commemorates the killing of the evil demon
Narakasura, who wreaked havoc. Krishna's wife Satyabhama killed
Narakasura during the Dwapara yuga. In another version of the
belief, the demon was killed by Krishna or Krishna provoked his wife
Satyabhama to kill Narshna, defeating Indra.debated with the
villagers about what their 'dharma' truly was. They were farmers,
they should do their duty and concentrate on farming and protection
of their cattle. He said that all human beings should do their
'karma' to the best of their ability and not pray for natural
phenomenon. The villagers were convinced by Krishna, and did not
proceed with the special puja (prayer). Indra was then angered, and
flooded the village. Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan and held it up
to protect the people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally
accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. Although this
aspect of Krishna's life is sometimes ignored it
sets up the basis of the 'karma' philosophy later detailed in the
Other events associated with Diwali include:
Return of Pandavas after 12 years of Vanvas and one year of
agyatavas (living incognito).
Diwali being festival of lights, across India people celebrate it
via symbolic diyas or kandils (colourful paper lanterns) as an
integral part of Diwali decorations.
Rangoli, decorations made from coloured powder, is popular during
Diwali celebrations are spread over five days, from Dhanteras to
Bhaiduj. In some places like Maharashtra it starts with Vasu Baras.
All the days except Diwali are named according to their designation
in the Hindu calendar. The days are:
Govatsa Dwadashi or Vasu Baras (27 Ashvin or 12 Krishna Paksha
Ashvin): Go means cow and vatsa means calf. Dwadashi or Baras means
the 12th day. On this day the cow and calf are worshiped. The story
associated with this day is that of King Prithu, son of the tyrant
King Vena. Due to the ill rule of Vena, there was a terrible famine
and earth stopped being fruitful. Prithu chased the earth, who is
usually represented as cow, and ‘milked’ her, meaning that he
brought prosperity to the land.
Dhanatrayodashi or Dhan teras or Dhanwantari Triodasi (28 Ashvin or
13 Krishna Paksha Ashvin): Dhana means wealth and Trayodashi means
13th day. This day falls on the 13th day of the second half of the
lunar month. It is considered an auspicious day for buying utensils
and gold, hence the name ‘Dhana’. This day is regarded as the
Jayanti (Birth Anniversary) of God Dhanvantari, the Physician of
Gods, who came out during Samudra manthan, the churning of the great
ocean by the gods and the demons.
Naraka Chaturdashi (29 Ashvin or 14 Krishna Paksha Ashvin):
Chaturdashi is the 14th day This was the day on which the demon
Narakasura was killed by Krishna – an incarnation of Vishnu. It
signifies the victory of good over evil and light over darkness
(Gujarati: Kali Chaudas, Rajasthan : Roop Chaudas). In southern
India, this is the actual day of festivities. Hindus wake up before
dawn, have a fragrant oil bath and dress in new clothes. They light
small lamps all around the house and draw elaborate kolams /rangolis
outside their homes. They perform a special puja with offerings to
Krishna or Vishnu, as he liberated the world from the demon
Narakasura on this day. It is believed that taking a bath before
sunrise, when the stars are still visible in the sky is equivalent
to taking a bath in the holy Ganges. After the puja, children burst
firecrackers heralding the defeat of the demon. As this is a day of
rejoicing, many will have very elaborate breakfasts and lunches and
meet family and friends.
Lakshmi Puja (30 Ashvin or 15 Krishna Paksha Ashvin): Lakshmi Puja
marks the most important day of Diwali celebrations in North India.
Hindu homes worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Ganesh, the
God of auspicious beginnings, and then light lamps in the streets
and homes to welcome prosperity and well-being.
Bali Pratipada and Govardhan Puja (1 Kartika or 1 Shukla Paksha
Kartika) : In North India, this day is celebrated as Govardhan Puja,
also called Annakoot, and is celebrated as the day Krishna – an
incarnation of god Vishnu – defeated Indra and by the lifting of
Govardhana hill to save his kinsmen and cattle from rain and floods.
For Annakoot, large quantities of food are decorated symbolizing the
Govardhan hill lifted by Krishna. In Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and
Karnataka, it is celebrated as Bali-Pratipada or Bali Padyami. The
day commemorates the victory of Vishnu in his dwarf form Vamana over
the demon-king Bali, who was pushed into the patala. In Maharashtra,
it is called Padava or Nava Diwas (new day). Men present gifts to
their wives on this day. It is celebrated as the first day of the
Vikram Samvat calendar, in Gujarat.
Yama Dwitiya or Bhaiduj (also Bhayyaduj, Bhaubeej or Bhayitika) (2
Kartika or 2 Shukla Paksha Kartika): on this day, brothers and
sisters meet to express love and affection for each other (Gujarati:
Bhai Bij, Bengali: Bhai Phota). It is based on a story when Yama,
lord of Death, visited his sister Yami (the river Yamuna). Yami
welcomed Yama with an Aarti and they had a feast together. Yama gave
a gift to Yami while leaving as a token of his appreciation. So, the
day is also called 'YAMA DWITIYA'. Brothers visit their sisters’
place on this day and usually have a meal there, and also give gifts
to their sisters
Goddess Lakshmi Puja
Diwali marks the end of the harvest season in most of India. Farmers
give thanks for the bounty of the year gone by, and pray for a good
harvest for the year to come. Traditionally this marked the closing
of accounts for businesses dependent on the agrarian cycle, and is
the last major celebration before winter. Lakshmi symbolizes wealth
and prosperity, and her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead.
There are two legends that associate the worship of Lakshmi on this
day. According to the first legend, on this day, Lakshmi emerged
from Kshira Sagar, the Ocean of Milk, during the great churning of
the oceans, Samudra manthan. The second legend (more popular in
western India) relates to the Vamana avatar of the big three Vishnu,
the incarnation he assumed to kill the demon king Bali. On this day,
Vishnu came back to his abode the Vaikuntha; so those who worship
Lakshmi receive the benefit of her benevolent mood, and are blessed
with mental, physical and material well-being.
As per spiritual references, on this day "Lakshmi-panchayatan"
enters the Universe. Vishnu, Indra, Kubera, Gajendra and Lakshmi are
elements of this "panchayatan" (a group of five). The tasks of these
Lakshmi: Divine Energy (Shakti) which provides energy to all the
Vishnu: Happiness (happiness and satisfaction)
Kubera: Wealth (generosity; one who shares wealth)
Indra: Opulence (satisfaction due to wealth)
Gajendra: Carries the wealth
Diwali is not only celebrated by hindu's it is also a Sikh festival
and sikh's celebrate diwali for different reasons. Hindu's celebrate
diwali becuase of the the ram seeta stroy howver sikh's celebrat
diwali as for sikh's diwali marks the chhorh Divis this was when the
sixth guru Guru Hargobind ji relaesed 52 hindi kings out of prison.
Diwali greetings in some languages
Deepavali Nalvazhthukal (தீபாவளி நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள்) :Greeting in
Subha Dipawali ki mangalmaya subha kaamanaa (शुभ दिपावली की मंगलमय
शुभ-कामना): Greeting in Nepali
Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein (दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं): Greeting in Hindi
Diwali Mubarak (દીવાળી મુબારક): Greeting in Gujarati
Tuhanu diwali diyan boht boht vadhaiyan (ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਦਿਵਾਲੀ ਦੀਆਂ ਬਹੁਤ
ਬਹੁਤ ਵਧਾਈਆਂ ਹੋਣ ): Greeting in Punjabi
Deepavali Aashamsagal ( ദീപാവലി ആശംസകള് ): Greeting in Malayalam.
Deepavali Habbada Shubhashayagalu (ದೀಪಾವಳಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಷಯಗಳು):
Greeting in Kannada
Deepavali Shubhakankshalu (దీపావళి శుభాకా౦క్షలు) :Greeting in Telugu
Shubh Diwali/ Diwalichya hardik Shubhechha (शुभ दीपावली / दिवाळीच्या
हार्दिक शुभेच्छा ): Greeting in Marathi
Subho Diwalir Preeti O Subeccha (শুভ দীপাবলীর প্রীতি ও শুভেচ্ছা)
:Greeting in Bengali
"Happy Diwali!" :Greeting in English language
Diwali mubarak ho:Greeting in Hindi (Bundelkhand)
Deepavalira Anek Shubhechha (ଦୀପାବଳିର ଅନେକ ଶୁଭେଛା) :Greeting in
Diwali mubarak ho aap sabko:Greeting in Hindi (Bhind)
While Diwali is popularly known as the "festival of lights", the
most significant spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner
light". Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is
something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite,
and eternal, called the Atman. The celebration of Diwali as the
"victory of good over evil", refers to the light of higher knowledge
dispelling all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one's true
nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent
and transcendent reality. With this awakening comes compassion and
the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This
brings anand (joy or peace). Just as we celebrate the birth of our
physical being, Diwali is the celebration of this Inner Light.
While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies
from region to region (festive fireworks, worship, lights, sharing
of sweets), the essence is the same – to rejoice in the Inner Light
(Atman) or the underlying Reality of all things (Brahman).
Significance in other religions
Diwali, the Festival of Light, comes at the end of October or
early November. It's a festival that Sikhs, Hindus and Jains
Replica of Pava temple at Pansara, Mahavira attained Nirvana at
Diwali has a very special significance in Jainism. It is celebrated
as Deva Devali around the full moon day (Purnima) of Kartik. On this
day Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankar of this era,
attained Nirvana on Chaturdashi of Kartika (Oct. 15, 527 BCE) at
Dipavali was mentioned in Jain b the date of the nirvana of Mahavira.
However, the oldest reference to Diwali is a related word,
dipalikaya, which occurs in Harivamsha-Purana, written by Acharya
Jinasena and composed in the year 705. Dipalikaya roughly
translates as "light leaving the body". Dipalika, which can be
roughly translated as "splendiferous light of lamps", is used
interchangeably with the word "Diwali".
The Jain year starts with Pratipada following Diwali.
While not a large occasion for the Buddhist community, Newar
Buddhists celebrate Diwali through the chanting of mantras and
remembering Emperor Ashoka who is said to have converted to Buddhism
on this day, and therefore Buddhists also know the festival as Ashok
Vijayadashami. Their temples and monasteries are well decorated
during this time and the Buddha is worshipped with full honours.
While Diwali is not considered a major holiday in East Asia or in
most of the Mahayana schools of East Asian Buddhism, the lunar
calendar birthday of Bhaisajyaguru Buddha (whose healing aspect is
often in the form of burning lights) is commemorated during Diwali.
Regional New Year celebrations
The Marwari New Year is celebrated on the day of the festival of
Diwali, which is the last day Krishna Paksha of Ashvin month & also
last day of the Ashvin month of Hindu calendar.
The Gujarati New Year is celebrated the day after the festival of
Diwali (which occurs in mid-fall – either October or November,
depending on the Lunar calendar). The Gujarati New Year is
synonymous with sud ekam i.e. first day of Shukla paksha of the
Kartik month -, which is taken as the first day of the first month
of Gujarati lunar calendar. Most other Hindus celebrate the New Year
in early spring. Gujarati community all over the world celebrates
the New Year after Diwali to mark the beginning of a new fiscal
The Nepal Era New year is celebrated in regions encompassing
original Nepal. The new year occurs in the fourth day of Diwali. The
calendar was used as an official calendar until the mid 19th
century. However, the new year is still celebrated by citizens of
original Nepal, the Newars.
Further information: Nepal Sambat
Regional variations within India
In Gujarat the Diwali celebrations take on a number of distinct
Diwali occurs in the second (dark) lunar fortnight (Krishna Paksha)
of the month of Ashvin (Gujarati: "Aaso") and the first (bright)
fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Kartika (Guj: "Kartik"). Aaso is the
last month of the Gujarati calendar, and Kartik the first.
Celebrations start earlier in Gujarat than in the rest of India,
commencing on Aygaras, the 11th day of the Krishna Paksha of Aaso.
On the 12th day is Vagh Baras, the festival of the cow and the calf.
On the 13th day is Dhanteras, the days Diwali starts in the rest of
India. The 14th (elsewhere known as Naraka Chaturdashi in South
India and Choti Diwali in the North) is celebrated as Kali Choudas.
The 15th (new moon day) is Lakshmi Puja, celebrated throughout
India. The next day, the first day of Shukla Paksha of Kartik, is
Bestu Varsh, New Year's Day, start of the Gujarati calendar. The 2nd
day of Kartik is Bhai Bij, the day Diwali ends.
A further celebration takes place on the 5th day of Kartik, Labh
Gujarat is also the location of the Jain festival of Deva Devali,
two weeks later, around the full moon day of Kartik. This takes
place at the sacred mountains of Girnar and Palitana, in south
Known as Deepavali, in Tamil Nadu (meaning garland of lights).
It commemorates the death of Narakasura at the hands of Lord Sri
Krishna.It is believed that Narakasura, a wicked demon, tortured
common people and they prayed lord krishna to defeat him. The people
then celebrated narakasura's defeat with sparkles, lights and
crackers. This celebration was continued down the generations as
deepavali. The day begins with an early morning oil bath, wearing
new clothes, bursting of crackers, visiting Lord Ganesha, Lord
Vishnu/Siva temples. The exchange of sweets between the neighbours,
visiting the relations, preparing Deepavali special sweets are
tradition of the day.
It is celebrated as Deepavali (deepa + aavaLi → light +
abundance) in Karnataka. It is celebrated on the previous and next
day of amavasya (No moon day) as naraka chaturdashi (before no-moon
day) resembling Satyabhama's victory over narakasura and as
balipadyami the first day of kaarthika masa; inviting the greatest
emperor of times Balichakravarthi to each and everybody's homes. The
entire house is cleaned and new clothes are purchased for the entire
family which is followed by lighting of oil lamps around the house
and bursting firecrackers. The tradition in Kannada families is that
all members gather together for the three days celebration. First
day they'll start with bursting crackers, followed by lakshmi
mahaapooje on amavaasye (no-moon day) and then on third day
decorating the whole house and especially entrance with flowers and
floor decoration to invite bali to their homes; a special
fort-entrance kind of thing is made on the entrances of every home
which is made out of cow-dung(gOmaya) and sandalwood(siri-chandana)
which both have a high divine reverence in Kannada tradition. Also
fire-camps are kindled on both naraka chaturdashi and balipadyami
days of deepavali; where in respective community people's gathering
is significant and huge firework bursting ceremony happens. Later
the whole karthika maasa (till next no-moon day) is celebrated by
praying kunti idol in every house; this signifies that kunti; the
mother of great pandavas has come to mother's (tavaru mane in
Kannada) home for karthika maasa. In villages on the third day
balipadyami also known for gOvpooje (reverence to cows) all the
cattle in the home are decorated gorgeously and are prayed for good
will of next coming year. also go melas happen the same day. The
celebration of Diwali is marked by the lighting of innumerable lamps
in every courtyard and the bursting of crackers. Sweetmeals, new
clothes and spirit is there as in other festivals. The time for
rejoicing is mainly early morning and late night. These hours of
darkness bordering the waking hours are preferred as lights and
crackers are the highlights of the festivities and these need
darkness to have their illuminating effect. Hence people rise early
and go to sleep late.
Deepavali falls on the preceding day of the New Moon in the
Malayalam month Thulam (October–November). The celebrations are
based on the legend of Narakasura Vadha - where Sri Krishna
destroyed the demon and the day Narakasura died is celebrated as
Deepavali. It commemorates the triumph of good over evil. It's
celebrated with more enthusiasm in the southern parts of Kerala
compared with northern Kerala. Firecrackers are burst and
Ottamthullal performances are hosted. Exchanges of gifts and dresses
are usually held. Especially on the 4th day of celebration, the
ladies are invited to their father's house on the 4th day after the
'Deepavali' and given dress and money as gifts. The entire
family buy new clothes, sweets and many other decorative items to
decorate their home. Firecrackers are a major item found in all
houses especially during diwalis. Children along with their friends
and cousins have a lot of enjoyment and enthusiasm. Humongous
amounts of sweets are made, some of the sweets are jelebi, laddoo,
unniappam, paalappam etc. are made at every house. They decorate
their homes with diyas (or deepams) and light many fire crackers
especially a stick-like cracker called Kambithiri in Malayalam. All
families decorate their homes with rangolis or flower designs.They
hold a special Pooja in which newly painted idols of gods are prayed
In Andhra Pradesh,this comprises two days. The First day is
Naraka Chaturthasi, Deepavali Amaavasya . The festivities start out
at the crack of dawn and carry on well into the night. Most people
make a trip to the local temple along with their families to seek
the blessings of their respective Gods. The night sky is lit up with
a scintillating array of noisy fireworks.
Diwali is one of the seven most important festivals of Andhra
Pradesh. It is very popular with children who celebrate Diwali
because of the excitement of bursting firecrackers. Special shops to
sell firecrackers are set up in all towns, cities and bigger
villages. There are some traditional customs followed such as buying
new clothes for this festival. Buying new home or vehicles is
considered auspicious. Special sweets are made too. Some eateries in
Hyderabad make some delicious sweets during Diwali which will not be
available at any other time. Meat and alcohol are generally not
consumed. Tradition has it that Andhraites gift sweets during Diwali.
Some areas host local stage story telling called Hari Katha. Some
areas may put a huge Narakasura dummy made with firecrackers. This
will be burst by a person dressed as Lord Krishna or, more
accurately, a costume of Satyabhama, the consort of Lord Krishna,
who actually killed the demon Narakasura; an event that is
celebrated as Diwali for generations. The evening sky of Diwali is a
colourful sight to watch.
People clean/white-wash or paint/decorate their homes as it is a
very auspicious day; to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity
i.e. Lakshmi devi to their homes. Homes are lit up with hundreds of
diyas and colourful Diwali Rangolis (link) adorn the doorways. After
all this preparation all the members of the family perform the
Lakshmi pooja. Another custom involves decorating homes with paper
Festivities cut across boundaries to move on from the small villages
to the big towns, often beginning almost a month before Diwali.
Sales of expensive silk saris, jewellery, ornaments, and household
goods increase. From the poor to the rich, everyone indulges in the
largest shopping spree of the year. Sweets, which are an integral
part of any festival in Andhra Pradesh, are prepared or purchased
from shops. The festival is full of messages depicting one or more
aspects of human life, relationships, and ancient traditions.
In Maharashtra, Diwali starts from Vasubaras which is the 12th day
of the 2nd half of the Marathi month Ashvin. This day is celebrated
by performing an Aarti of the cow and its calf - which is a symbol
of love between mother and her baby.
The next day is Dhana Trayodashi. This day is of special importance
for traders and business people. It is also considered an auspicious
day for making important purchases, especially metals, including
kitchenware and precious metals like silver and gold.
This is followed by Naraka Chaturdashi. On this day people get up
early in the morning and take their bath before sunrise while stars
are still visible. Bathing is an elaborate process on this day with
abundant use of ‘utnas’, oils and perfumes, and is preceded by an
Aarti performed on the person by some lady, usually mother or wife.
The whole process is referred to as ‘abhyanga-snaan’.
Then comes Lakshmi- pooja. It occurs on Amavasya i.e. no moon day.
The dark night is illuminated by lamps and at dusk firecrackers are
burst. New account books are opened after a pooja. Generally the
traders do not make any payments on that day (according to their
belief Lakshmi should not be given away but must come home). In
every household, cash, jewellery and an idol of the goddess Lakshmi
is worshipped. Friends, neighbours and relatives are invited over
and celebrations are in full swing. The broom used to clean one's
house is also worshipped as a symbol of Lakshmi in some places .
Padwa is the 1st day of the new month – Kartik in the Hindu
calendar. It marks the start of Hindu financial year. Its a special
day for Husband and wife. The wife puts tilak on her husbands
forehead and gets an expensive gift. In recent times there is a
growing trend of organising a cultural event called 'Diwali Padwa'
early in the morning.
Bhaubeej – it is the time when the bond of love between a brother
and sister is further strengthened as the sister asks God for her
brother/s' long and successful life while she receives presents from
her beloved brothers.
Diwali is celebrated with great joy. Rows of oil lamps, candles
adorn the thresholds of all houses. Firecrackers are burst,
sweetmeals are relished and distributed. Some people also worship
family goddess. Tarpanam is done in the morning of diwali. All the
members of the household gather together just after dusk. A
rangoli(Muruja) of a sailboat is made on the ground. The boat has
seven chambers in north,ten chamber in east,and twelve chamber in
south.the east chamber are meant for gods.north chamber for seer or
Rishi and south chambers for manes and forefathers. Over the drawing
of each different chamber several items are kept - cotton, mustard,
salt, asparagus root, turmeric,sweets,cakes and a wild creeper. Over
the central chamber are the offerings meant for [prasad]. Perched
over the prasad is a jute stem with a cloth wick tied around the
edge. It is lit at the beginning of the puja. All members of the
family hold a bundle of jute stems in their hands, Lighting their
respective bundles from the flame on the rangoli, they raise them
skywards fo their forefathers chanting: 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)
Beside the rangoli, a mortar and pestle and a plough are also kept
and worshiped. After the puja and offerings, the family celebrates
Diwali festival by bursting firecrackers. As in other regions, most
people prefer to celebrate it in their own homes, though family
gatherings are also common. For Diwali houses are brightly lit, with
the doors and windows kept open as Lakshmi is supposed to visit
every home, and you can't afford to leave it dark and abandoned.
Various kinds of Pithas are prepared and given to the deities and
forefathers, and enjoyed with family and friends. The ritual of Kali
Puja is a famous affair in puri, Bhadrak, Rourkela, Cuttack &Jajpur
Mithilanchal, West Bengal & Assam
Kali Puja in Kolkata and Assam.
Kali Puja is light-up night for Mithila region in Bihar, West Bengal
& Assam, corresponding to the festival of Diwali (pronounced
Dipaboli in Bengali), (in Maithili, it is known as Diya-Baati) where
people light diyas/candles in memory of the souls of departed
ancestors. The goddess Kali is worshipped for whole night on one
night during this festival. This is also a night of fireworks, with
local youth burning sparklers and firecrackers throughout the night.
Both the traditions of worshiping the Goddess Kali as well as
Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha is prevalent in the Mithila region.
Kali puja is also known by the names of Shyama puja or Nisha puja in
the Mithila region.
Goa and Konkan
Divali begins in Konkan and Goa on the day of Naraka Chaturdashi.
The houses are cleaned and decorated with kandeel, lamps, mango
leaves, and marigold flowers. The utensils are made to shine, filled
with water, and decorated for the holy bath the following morning.
On this day, paper-made effigies of Narakasura, filled with grass
and firecrackers symbolising evil, are made. These
effigies are burnt at around four o'clock in the morning the
following day/ Firecrackers are burst, and people return home to
take a scented oil bath. Lamps are lit in a lineThe women of the
house perform aarti of the men, gifts are exchanged,a bitter berry
called kareet is crushed under the feet in token of killing Narkasur,
symbolising evil and removal of ignorance. Different varieties of
Poha and sweets are made and eaten with family and friends.
Festivities continue till Tulsi Vivah and lamps are lit every
evening. Celebrations include Lakshmi puja on the Diwali day,
Krishna puja or Govardhan puja and cattle worship on Balipratipada
day, Bhaubeej, and Tulsi vivah.
To add to the festivas of Diwali, fairs (or 'melas') are held
throughout India. Melas are to be found in many towns and
villages. A mela generally becomes a market day in the countryside
when farmers buy and sell produce. Girls and women dress
attractively during the festival. They wear colourful clothing and
new jewellery, and their hands are decorated with henna designs.
Among the many activities that take place at a mela are performances
by jugglers, acrobats, snake charmers and fortune tellers. Food
stalls are set up, selling sweet and spicy foods. There are a
variety of rides at the fair, which include Ferris wheels and rides
on animals such as elephants and camels. Activities for children,
such as puppet shows, occur throughout the day.
In other parts of the world
Diwali is celebrated in various parts of the world, particularly
those with large populations of Hindu and Sikh origin. These include
countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore,
Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania,
South Africa, Guyana, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago,( Zimbabwe) the
Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. With
more and more Indians now migrating to various parts of the world,
the number of countries where Diwali / Deepavali is celebrated has
been gradually increasing. While in some countries it is celebrated
mainly by Indian expatriates, in others it has become part of the
general local culture. In most of these countries Diwali is
celebrated on the same lines as described in this article with some
minor variations. Some important variations are worth mentioning.
In Nepal, Diwali is known as "Tihar" or "Swanti". It is
celebrated during the October/November period. Here the festival is
celebrated for five days and the traditions vary from those followed
in India. On the first day (Kaag tihar), crows are given offerings,
considering them to be divine messengers. On the second day (Kukur
tihar), dogs are given food for their honesty. On the third day,
Laxmi puja is performed. This is the last day according to Nepal
Sambat, so many of the businessmen clear their accounts on this day
and on finishing it, worship goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth.
The fourth day is celebrated as new year. Cultural processions and
other celebrations are observed in this day. The Newars celebrate it
as "Maha Puja", a special ritual in which the body is worshipped to
keep it fit and healthy for the year ahead on this day. On the fifth
and final day called "Bhai Tika", brothers and sisters meet and
In Nepal, family gathering is more significant during Diwali. People
in the community play "Deusi and Bhailo" which is a kind of singing
and dancing forming a group. People go to all the houses in the
community and play songs and dance, and give blessings to the
visited house, whereas the home owner gives gifts like rice, Roti,
fruits and money. After the festival, people donate some part of the
collected money and food to the charity or welfare groups and with
the rest of the money and food, they go for a picnic. People also
play swing called Dore Ping made out of thick ropes and Pirke Ping
or Rangate Ping made out of wood.
In Sri Lanka, this festival is also called "Deepavali" and is
celebrated by the Tamil community. On this day, it is traditional
for people to take an oil bath in the morning, wear new clothes,
exchange gifts, performing Poosai(Pūjā), and a visit to the
Koil(Hindu Temple) is normal. Burning of firecrackers in the
evening of the festival is a common practice of this festival.
Hindus light oil lamps to invite the blessings of Lakshmi, the
goddess of wealth and to banish any evil from the household for once
and for all. The festival is marked by illumination, making of toys
of enamel and making of figures out of crystal sugar popularly known
as Misiri. Srilanka's celebration include many of the traditional
aspects of Deepavali such as games, fireworks, singing and dancing,
however the tradition of a large meal and fireworks are admirably
In Malaysia, Diwali festival is celebrated during the seventh month
of the Hindu solar calendar. It is a federal public holiday
throughout Malaysia. In many respects it resembles the traditions
followed in the Indian subcontinent. 'Open houses' are held where
Hindu Malaysians (Of all ethnic races like Tamils,Telugus and
Malayalees) welcome fellow Malaysians of different races and
religions to their house for a scrumptious meal. This is a practice
unique to Malaysia and shows the goodwill and friendly ties
practiced by all Malaysians during any festive occasion.
In Singapore, Diwali festival is a gazetted public holiday. Observed
primarily by the minority Indian community (Tamils), it is typically
marked by a light-up in the Little India district, the heart of the
Indian community. Apart from the light-up, other activities such as
bazaars, exhibitions, parades and concerts will also take place in
Little India. The Hindu Endowment Board of Singapore along with
Singapores' government organizes many of these cultural events
during this festive period.
In Trinidad and Tobago, communities all over the islands get
together and celebrate the festival. One major celebration that
stands out is the Diwali Nagar, or Village of the Festival of
Lights. It features stage performances by the east Indian cultural
practitioners, a folk theatre featuring skits and plays, an
exhibition on some aspect of Hinduism, displays by various Hindu
religious sects and social organizations, nightly worship of Lakshmi,
lighting of deeyas, performances by various schools related to
Indian culture, and a food court with Indian and non-Indian
vegetarian delicacies. The festival culminates with magnificent
fireworks displays ushering in Diwali. Thousands of people
participate in an atmosphere devoid of alcohol and in a true family
In Britain, Hindus celebrate Diwali with great enthusiasm.
People clean and decorate their homes with lamps and candles. A
popular type of candle is a diya. People also give each other sweets
such as laddoo and barfi, and the different communities may gather
for a religious ceremony and get-together. It is also an important
time to contact family in India and perhaps exchange gifts. Diwali
is becoming well known in Britain and some non-Indians join in.
Leicester plays hosts to some of the biggest celebrations outside of
India. Diwali also coincides with British Bonfire Night
traditions on November the 5th. In the East End of London, a kind of
joint festival has evolved where everyone enjoys the same fire and
fireworks for their own diverse reasons.
In the United States, with increasing Indian population, Diwali
is assuming significant importance year after year. Diwali was first
celebrated in the White House in 2003 and was given official status
by the United States Congress in 2007. Barack Obama became
the first president to personally attend Diwali at the White House
in 2009. On the eve of his first visit to India as the President of
United States, Obama released an official statement sharing best
wishes with "Hindus" for Diwali. Indians in the US celebrate
Diwali in different parts of the US, just as in India. The Diwali
Mela in Cowboys Stadium boasted an attendance of 100,000 people in
2009. In 2009, San Antonio became the first U.S. city to sponsor an
official Diwali celebration including a fireworks display and 5000
people in attendance. In 2011, The Pierre in New
York City, now operated by Tata Group's Taj Hotels, hosted its first
Australia and New Zealand
In Australia, Diwali is celebrated publicly among the people of
Indian origin and the local Australians in Melbourne. On 21 July
2002 an organisation “The Australian Indian Innovations
Incorporated” (AIII) consisting of a conglomerate of independent
organisations and individuals was formed to celebrate Indian
Festivals In Melbourne. AIII facilitated opportunities to depict the
cultural kaleidoscope of India and assist Indians in Melbourne to
showcase Indian art, culture, style, traditions and food via various
activities, seminars, festivals, fairs and events. The first
Inaugural Diwali Festival-2002”, was held at Sandown Race Course on
Sunday 13 October 2002. Since then until October 2008, about 140000
people visited this Australian Indian Cultural Extravaganza filled
with culture, fun and cuisine. This 10 Hour Festival is depicting
India through 50 Stalls, 10 Food stalls and an 8 hour cultural
programme with DJ, Children's rides and spectacular fire works over
the last 7 years.
Other place where Diwali is celebrated in Melbourne is Sri Shiva
Vishnu Temple, Carrum Downs. Food stalls are present and children
fun rides. Later on in the evening a spectacular fireworks show is
In New Zealand, Diwali is celebrated publicly among many of the
South Asian diaspora cultural groups. There are main public
festivals in Auckland and Wellington, with other events around the
country becoming more popular and visible. An official reception has
been held at the New Zealand Parliament since 2003. Diwali is
celebrated by Hindus. The festival signifies the triumph of light
over darkness, justice over injustice, good over evil and
intelligence over ignorance. Lakshmi Mata is worshipped at this
festival. Lakshmi Mata is the goddess of light, wealth and beauty.
Special Divali foods are barfi and Prasad.