The Diwali for the Bengali people comes following one of the greatest celebrations of Bengal - the Durga Puja. The Diwali is not only performed as a celebration but it means the day of the auspicious Kali Puja - the worshipping of the Mother form of spiritual power. Bengali people light up their houses with rows of earthen lamps or diyas or small candles and even electronic chain lights. Alike people of rest of India, the puja is celebrated with much funfair but with a unique Bengali touch and special regional flavour of its own.
The Kali puja is celebrated in households by installing earthen pots or mangal ghots in the name of the mother goddess with spots of vermillion. Sacred plaintain trees, two or four, are erected at the entrance on mud or silt brought from Ganga river side and earthen lamps are put above these with help of bamboo poles.
In the evening, family members, both young and old, children with their friends, parents and grandparents come down to the street to burst sound crackers and lit up light emitting crackers. The silence of the dark night breaks from the hiss of rockets and booms of crackers. The darkest night of the year starts glowing with the colours of light when hoards of Bengalis join in the grand display of joy. Many localities hold firework competitions.
Bengalis have got this age old tradition of making fireworks in house and gift each other. We at GiftsAcrossIndia.com offers a variety of Gifts to send to India for Bengalis and Non-bengalis both who understands the significance of the Kali Puja and want to be felt back home on this day. Light emitting fireworks like tubris, fuljhuris, rong-mashals, chakra or charki bajis and udan tubris are some of the hot favourites that the Bengali people specialize in making in their own household. There are a lot many families who have got this amateur tradition of making fire crackers which they practice for ages and their knowledge has got such precision and expertise that it may even make professionals feel ashamed.
In the no moon night called the ghor amavashya tithi many Bengalis do not take rice which is their otherwise staple food and have wheat flour rotis or parathas or luchis. Meat is a must and it is a compulsory prasada or divine food offered to the mother goddess. Another such indispensable puja item is some kind of hard drink or karan sudha. Kali puja starts in the midnight and with the end of the puja, people often get intoxicated for fun, drinking the offered karan sudha. Many indulge in gambling. Firecrackers burst till the early hours of next morning making the air thick and heavy with the aroma of phosphorus and sulphur. The next day is again an interesting one when the locality sharbojonin puja pandals start distributing bhoger khichuri (specially prepared over-boiled rice mixed with pulses and pieces of potatoes and offered to God) house to house accompanied by the sound of dhaks (special Bengali drums beaten at the pujas).
The next day is Bhai Phonta, the Bengali version of Bhai dooj when sisters put phonta or tika on brothers’ forehead with chandan (sandal), ghee (clarified butter) and kajal (soot) wishing their long lives. This is a tradition, the Bengalis believe started when Yamuna first gave bhai phonta to her brother Yama wishing his long life. There is a tradition of exchanging gifts between the siblings on this day, the last day of the festive season that started on the day of Mahalaya and which undoubtedly ends therefore in a grand way.