Diwali Celebration In North India
Diwali is known as the ‘Festival of lights’ and is celebrated with grandeur all over India. However, ritualistic differences exist among different parts and regions of the country. Diwali celebration is observed with much vigour in North India. In North India, Families come together to take part in the traditional rituals at their homes. Lighting diyas, performing pujas, and burning crackers form a core part of Diwali celebrations. North Indians celebrate Diwali as a five-day long festival which begins with Dhanteras and extends up to Bhai Dooj". Lakshmi puja is an important event. The rituals in North India are slightly different from the ones in South India and Eastern India, where it is observed as four-day festival.
Diwali in North India venerates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, after an exile of fourteen long years, which also includes his victory over Ravana. Therefore, Diwali represents the conquest of good over evil and light over darkness. It is said that when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, the people decorated the entire village with lamps and also burst crackers to welcome Lord Rama.
In North India, the Diwali celebration begins two days before the actual Diwali day with the Dhanteras. Buying gold and silver jewellery is considered auspicious during this day and people go hitherto while buying gold and other precious jewellery. People even send gifts to India from USA on the day of Dhanteras.
The day after this is "chhoti Diwali", which is followed by Diwali. Houses, industries, shops, temples and even most parts of the streets are usually decorated by lamps. The Hindi financial year starts with Diwali and hence, this day is auspicious for traders and business men.
On the Diwali day, Lakshmi puja is held in North India. The myth is the same – Goddess Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagara (Ocean of Milk), when devas and asuras were churning for ‘amrit’. The houses of the people are cleaned and decorated with candles, clay lamps, flowers and rangolis. All of these are done to invite Goddess Lakshmi, whose blessings are believed to bring wealth, prosperity and peace in the families.
The day after Diwali in North India is the Govardhan Puja - Annakut, Diwali Padwa is observed on this day. Newly wed females are invited over to their parents place along with their husbands. On this day, businessmen open their account books afresh, every kind of transaction, receipt or payment and business is postponed.
The last day of Diwali festivities is Bhai Dooj On the day of the festival, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favorite dishes/sweets. The whole ceremony signifies the duty of a brother to protect his sister, as well as a sister's blessings for her brother.
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