Diwali, the festival of lights as it is popularly called, is an important festival celebrated by Hindus, Janis and Buddhists. There are many legends associated with this festival and its origin but, the zeal and enthusiasm with which it is observed is the same. Being a religious festival, there are many rituals and rites associated with Diwali, many of them has been in practice since ages. Lakshmi puja is one such important part of Diwali celebrations, which is done to please Goddess Lakshmi. This important puja will not be complete without aarti. The way in which aarti is done is different in different part of India. The prayers vary; the components of the thali also vary. There are certain similarities between the aartis conducted towards the northern parts of India. However, there is a marked difference between the procedures of North and South India. Read on further to know more about Diwali aarti and to know how it is performed in various parts of India.
Aarti in North India
Aarti is an important part of Lakshmi puja. Unlike other aarti that are accompanied by rhythmic applauses, Diwali aarti should be done in a peaceful atmosphere; the only sound allowed is that of a small bell. Also, do not burst crackers immediately after the puja and aarti. Aarti is usually accompanied by songs. That is applicable in case of Diwali as well; people sing aarti songs and bhajans during aarti. Though the most commonly sung aarti 'Om Jai Jagdish Hare', dedicated to all gods, the most preferred aarti song during Lakshmi puja is 'Om Jai Lakshmi Mata'. Ganesh aarti is also performed.
The procedure is simple, the deity is worshipped with a puja thali (plate ) with things like roli for tilak, akshat, bell, a, small pitcher filled with water, gold or silver coins, lighted lamps and some colorful flowers, incense sticks, camphor, coconut, betel nut, betel leaves, sandalwood paste, candles, seasonal fruits and sweets (as Prasad).
"Jai lakshmi maataa, Maiyaa jaya lakshmi maataa
Tumako nishadina dhyaavata, Hara vishnu vidhaataa
Brahmaanii, rudraanii, kamalaa, Tuuhii hai jaga maataa
Suurya chandramaa dhyaavata, Naarada rishi gaataa
Durgaa ruupa nirantara, Sukha sampati daataa
Jo koi tumako dhyaavata, Riddhi siddhi dhana paataa
Tuuhii hai paataala basantee, Tuuhii shubha daataa
Karma prabhaava prakaashak, Jaganidhi ke traataa
Jisa ghara mein tuma rahatii, Saba sadaguna aataa
Kara na sake soyee kara le, Mana nahin ghabaraataa
Tuma bina yagya na hove, Vastra na koii paataa
Khaana paana kaa vaibhava, Saba tumase hii aataa
Shubha guna mandira sundara, Ksheerodadhi jaataa
Ratana chaturdasha tuma hii, Koii nahiin paataa
Aartii lakshmii jii kii, Jo koii nara gaataa
Ura aananda umanga ati, Paapa utara jaataa"
Aarti In South India
In south India, aarti is much simpler ritual. The procedure includes offering a camphor lamp and/or oil lamp, which is passed to the devotees, who cup their palms down and revere it by hovering their palms over the flame and then touching their eyes either once or thrice. In South India, there is no custom of singing aarti songs. Sometimes, Vedic mantras are uttered during aarti.
Be the customs and rituals differ from north to south and east to west, what makes this festival special is the enthusiasm and religious importance of this festival.