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Diwali is one of the most widely celebrated festivals in India. The article will tell you all about the celebrations of Diwali in the major states of the northern part of India.

Diwali in North India

Diwali, known as "the festival of lights" is celebrated with grandeur all over India. However, there are regional differences in the celebrations and rituals. In north India, this festival arrives at Dussehra, which usually falls between mid-October and mid-December. Families come together to take part in the traditional rituals at their homes. Lighting diyas, performing pujs, 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, 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. Read through the article to have a clear understanding of the Diwali traditions followed in north India.

Mythology
In the northern part of India, Diwali is related with Lord Rama and his triumph over Ravana. 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. The legend begins with Lord Rama being sent to exile for fourteen years, during which the evil Ravana abducts his wife, the chaste Sita. Lord Rama, along with his brother Laxman and beloved devotee Lord Hanuman, fought the legendary battle against Ravana and rescued Sita. Following this, Lord Ram heads back to Ayodhya, where he received a grant welcome. Since then, the festival is infallibly observed.

North Indian Traditions
In North India, special pujas dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi are performed as an important tradition. The houses of the people are cleaned and decorated with candles, clay lamps, flowers and rangolis. All of these are done to invite Goddess Lakhsmi, whose blessings are believed to bring wealth, prosperity and peace in the families. The festival starts with "Dhanteras", which is two days before the actual Diwali. On this day, people purchase gold, silver or copper utensils as it is considered auspicious. 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. The afternoons are spent in decorating the houses and the evenings are marked by pujas dedicated to Goddess Lakhsmi, with Lord Ganesha alongside. The exchange of gifts and sweets takes place between relatives, neighbors and friends and together they burst crackers. In most of the north Indian states, "ram lilas" (dramatic interpretation of the story of Lord Rama) are held on street corners.

Diwali is declared as a national holiday every year. It is celebrated on Kartik Amavasya which falls on "Krishna Paksha" or dark fortnight. The lamps lit on Diwali thus signify the glory of light over darkness.