October 25, 2016: Diwali- the festival of lights which is celebrated differently in different cultures in and outside India. People from different regions and communities celebrate Diwali in unique ways. Though the common belief is that Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and in order to celebrate and welcome him, people lit diyas, thereby celebrating the festival of lights.
Let us find out how different Diwali in India and abroad is:
Kali Puja, which is also known as Shyama Puja or Mahanisha Puja is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Bengalis celebrate it on the new moon day of the Hindu month Kartik. They worship Goddess Kali for three days and celebrate the occasion by lighting up their houses, bursting crackers, meeting and spending time with family and friends.
Sindhis celebrate Diwali in a different way, with a different name and with somewhat different customs. They wash coins of gold and silver in milk before worshipping the Goddess. After the Puja is over, they tap the coin against their teeth and chant- Lakshmi aayi, danat vaai, (Lakshmi arrived, and poverty went away).
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North India celebrates Bali Pratipada on the third day of Diwali. According to the Hindu mythology, this very day marks one-day return of Bali, the demon king.Lord Vishnu in his fifth avatar Vamana banished Bali to ‘patal loka’ or the other world. But, due to Bali’s unconditional devotion towards Vishnu, Lord Vishnu gave him the permission to visit the world one day, every year.
Odisha, India’s one of the most culturally diverse state celebrates Diwali in a unique way. Kaunriya Kathi is a festival during which the people of Odisha burn the jute sticks so as to invite their ancestors who they consider descend from the heaven on the day of Diwali.
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In the late 19th century, thousands of people from Indian states of Bihar and Odisha were taken to Trinidad as slaves to work in the sugarcane plantations. Later, they gained independence and starting living peacefully with the local population. With them blended the customs and rituals of India too in Trinidad and the government of Trinidad declared it as a national holiday in 1966. Diwali marks the eradication of spiritual darkness. In Trinidad, Diwali is celebrated for nine days.
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In Nepal, the festival is known as Tihar. The celebrate Diwali in a much different way than the Indians. However, during Diwali they also worship Goddess Lakshmi. It is a five days festival in Nepal, and each day is dedicated to some ritual. Feeding rice to the cows on the first day, dogs on the second and so on.
– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram. Twitter: @PinazKazi