It's not only for the enthusiasm and exuberance that Diwali is known for, but also for prayers, pujas and ritual baths. Diwali, the vibrant festival observed all over India with utmost devotion and joy, celebrates the victory of good over evil and knowledge over darkness. There are many legends associated with this festival but, the most common legends are the return of Rama to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile and the victory of Krishna over Narakasura. In eastern India, the festival is celebrated to honour the victory of goddess kali over Bakasura. Extending over five days, the main highlight of Diwali is its customs and traditions that include worshipping cattle, Lakshmi puja, lighting lamps, exchanging gifts, bursting crackers and decorating the house with rangoli. Read on to know more about Diwali traditions and customs.
Traditions Of Diwali
On the auspicious day of Diwali, prayers are offered to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, who is believed to visit all households and shower her blessings on devotees. A Puja dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi is performed on the Diwali evening in all households.
Lighting Diyas Or Lamps
Lighting diyas or oil/ghee lamps is an important tradition. Once the Lakshmi puja is over, people decorate their home with lighted lamps. Lighting lamps symbolises getting rid of darkness from the world. It is believed that people of Ayodhya decorated the whole town with diyas or lamps to celebrate Lord Rama's return after fourteen years of exile and this marks the beginning of this tradition. People also believe that as Diwali falls on a no-moon night, lamps help Goddess Lakshmi to reach their households. Hence, people leave the diyas to burn all through the night.
Worshipping Of Cattle
In some villages, farmers worship cattle as they are the primary source of wealth and hence, considered to be equal to God. In south India, cows are worshipped on this day as they are regarded as the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi.
Diwali is regarded as an auspicious occasion to give and receive gifts, which make shopping part and parcel of this festival. People indulge in shopping, buying clothes or other accessories for other family members based on their shopping. Diwali is also considered auspicious to buy gold.
Conceived as a Sanskrit word, 'rangoli' refers to expressing art and creatively using colour. During Diwali, people clean the houses and decorate the courtyards, walls and entrances with hangings, torans and colourful rangolis, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.
Diwali celebration is not complete without fireworks and crackers. It is believed that busting crackers will keep evil spirits away from home.
Diwali customs and traditions differ in different parts of India. Hope this article familiarised you with various customs existing in different parts of India.