Diwali Celebration in Western India
Diwali is one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals. It is celebrated not only in India but also in different parts of the world like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mauritius, Malaysia etc with much fervour. Diwali Celebration is held all over India but every region has it's own unique flavour and rituals. People worship the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi on the occasion of Diwali. The festival of lights is known as Deepavali too. It begins on the 13th lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Ashvin and end in the month of Kartik.
Diwali in West India holds a special significance. The celebrations in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra start earlier than the rest of India. The celebration begins on the 11th day of Krishna Paksha of Ashvin. On the 12th day, ‘Vagh Baras’ is celebrated which is dedicated to the calf and her mother cow. The 13th day is celebrated as Dhanteras like the rest of India. On this day, people decorate their houses with lamps and Rangoli. Small footprints are made out of vermillion powder and rice flour in all parts of the house to indicate the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi. It is a custom to buy one or more new utensils or gold and silver jewellery on this day. Lamps are kept alight throughout the night.
The next day of Diwali in West India is celebrated as ‘Kali Chaudas’ in Gujarat and ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’ in other regions. It is a custom to apply a paste made of gram flour, kumkum and oil and take a bath before sunrise on this day. People burn crackers and smash fruits to symbolize the death of demon king Narakasura.
The next day is the most important part of the festival- Lakshmi Pooja. People worship the Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on this day, distribute gifts and sweets to their loved ones and illuminate their houses. People also send gifts to India to their beloved friends and family. It is a custom to light lamps and candles in the evening to ward of darkness of no moon day. Children burn firecrackers and enjoy special delicacies prepared for this day.
The following day is celebrated as Padwa in Maharashtra and is considered ideal for beginning new ventures. In Maharashtra, the day is also celebrated as Bali Pratipada which is the celebration of the relation of Husband and wife. The wife marks his husband’s forehead with a ceremonial ‘tika’ and he gives her a gift. It is also the Gujarati New Year which is marked by people meeting and greeting each other.
The last day of Diwali in West India is celebrated as Bhaiya Dooj. This is a festival celebrating the bond between a brother and sister and the celebrations are quite similar to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. In some parts of Gujarat, the next day is the extended celebration of Labh Pancham. This marks the end of almost a week long of celebration in West India.
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