Diwali Celebration in North India

Diwali is the festival of lights. On this auspicious day, people from the Hindu and Jain community decorate their houses, worship Goddess Lakshmi, distribute sweets and burst crackers. The five day long Hindu festival starts on the 13th day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashvin. The festival falls usually in mid-October or mid-November according to the English calendar. There are many variations in the celebrations in different parts of India. Diwali in North India is a celebrated event for which preparations begin weeks in advance. 

Legends around Diwali in North India

India is a land of diversity. The reasons for celebrating Deepavali vary from region to region. In North India, the day commemorates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya with his wife Goddess Sita and his brother Lord Lakshmana after 14 years of exile. 14 lamps are lit to welcome his return.

The Festivities

Diwali in North India begins with the festival of Dhanteras. ‘Dhan’ means money and ‘teras’ means 13th day, on which the festival begins. On this day, people purchase new utensils and gold and silver items and honour Lord Dhanvantri and Goddess Lakshmi. The next day is ‘Naraka Chaturdashi’ which is celebrated to honour the victory of Lord Krishna over the evil demon Narakasura. It is a custom to smash fruits like coconut to symbolise the death of Narakasura and cleanse ourselves and our homes from evils and impurities. On this day, it is considered highly auspicious to take a bath before sunrise. Special breakfasts and ‘puja’ in honour of Lord Krishna or Lord Vishnu are held.

The third day is the ‘Lakshmi Poojan’, also known as ‘Badi Diwali’. This is the most important day of celebration of Diwali in North India, when Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings are asked for by everyone. People light ‘diyas’ and decorate their houses with ‘Rangoli’ patterns and small footprints of Lakshmi made of rice powder and kumkum to welcome the Goddess in their homes. People distribute sweets amongst their loved ones, wear new clothes and brilliant displays of fireworks adorn the sky all night long.

The day after Diwali is the day of ‘Govardhan Pooja’ which is of importance to agricultural community. On this occasion, people prepare special meals to honour the Lord Vishnu who has blessed them with abundance. Finally, the last day of Diwali in North India is ‘Bhaiya Dooj’. It is a festival which is essentially similar in essence to Raksha Bandhan, celebrating the bond between a brother and sister.

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