THE MANY VERSIONS OF DIWALI IN INDIA

By Sushmita Srivastav

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From Vasu Baras in Maharashtra to Kauriya Kathi in Odisha, here are different versions of the festival of lights as celebrated in different parts of India.

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Kali puja

Across Eastern India, especially in West Bengal, Diwali is celebrated to welcome Goddess Kali by fasting, lighting up homes, and animal sacrifices.

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Dev Deepawali

Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi celebrates the 'Diwali of Gods'  by offering prayers and diyas to Ganga River and adorning its banks with lamps and rangoli

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Vasu baras

In Maharashtra, Diwali commences with the Vasu Baras ritual that honours cows by bathing, worshipping, and feeding them wheat, gram and sprouts.   

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bandi chhor diwas

Punjab marks the festival as Bandi Chhor Diwas, celebrating the liberation of sixth Sikh guru, Hargobind Singh in 1619 from the prison of Jahangir.

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budhi diwali

Observed 30 days after the festival across Himachal Pradesh, Budhi (old) Diwali is celebrated by performing folk dances, distributing dry fruit, and lighting fires at midnight.

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Narakasura chaturdashi

In Goa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the festival is dedicated to Lord Krishna killing the demon Narakasura, whose mammoth effigies are  burnt at dawn to mark the occasion.

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bestu varas

In Gujarat, the year ends with Diwali and Gujarati New Year is marked by opening new books of accounts, painting the auspicious Swastik on their covers, enjoying  feasts, and dancing to traditional songs all evening.

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Kauriya kathi

In Odisha, people perform the Kauriya Kathi ritual by worshipping their ancestors and burning jute sticks to seek their blessings.

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The traditions and celebrations may vary. But the festival of Diwali certainly brings the entire country together, illuminating  our homes and filling our hearts with joy and a sense of unity. 

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