India is home to the world’s largest festival of lights and colors and as the days pass, the excitement of Diwali grows closer. We all celebrate Diwali with the lighting of candles and diyas, as well as full-fledged home decorations and Diwali rituals.
We share love and affection, but will you throw stones at someone on Diwali if I urge you to? Will you toss firecrackers at someone if I order you to? Well, no! However, in some parts of India, people throw stones and firecrackers at each other on Diwali to honor these ancient Diwali rituals.
Well, let’s explore these unique and old-age Diwali rituals that have been part of these Indian states. These rituals listed below will surely blow your mind.
What are Diwali Rituals?
Each festival has its own set of traditions and rituals that add to the celebratory atmosphere. From searching for worship rites to adorning our homes and dressing up in new outfits. These minor details have a significant impact on that particular festive day. Diwali is the largest celebration of the year, and the excitement and frenzy to follow the customs grows. So, in brief! Diwali rituals are traditions and practices that have been practised for centuries and have become an inseparable part of it.
Not Ram These people Celebrates the return of Guru Nanak to Punjab
Punjab is illuminated with diyas and candles on the occasion of Diwali. They celebrate the return of their spiritual Guru Hargobind who was held captive by the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir in the fort at Gwalior. It is said that Guru Hargobind was released along with 52 kings and he reached Amritsar on the last Amavasya of Karthik month.
Since the 18th century, Diwali has been celebrated in Amritsar. All the roaming warrior bands of Sikhs would gather on Amritsar, confronting every hazard, to celebrate Diwali as it became a customary ritual during the 18th century.
Diwali in Punjab marks the beginning of winter and it is considered the time when the farmers start farming and sow the first batch of seeds. Cattle and cows are decorated and worshipped. Along with Diwali, the Bandi Chor Diwas is also celebrated as the day of liberation. On this day, the Golden Temple is lit up and people offer prayers throughout the day. Sikh’s Diwali rituals include the Nagar Kirtan and Akandh Path followed by the extravagant show of fireworks and the modest meal (Langar).
Kali Puja in East India
Diwali is hailed as “Kali Puja” in West Bengal and Eastern India. In West Bengal, People welcome the arrival of Maa Kali, another form of Goddess Durga. On the day of Diwali, Bengalis do Kali Pujan for three days and also observe the fast. On the night of Diwali, people lit up the localities with diyas and burst crackers and meet their friends and relatives.
In some parts of Eastern India, there is a ritual of sacrificing the animal to appease the goddess. People sacrifice fish, hibiscus flowers, and other items to Goddess Kali on this day. In West Bengal, There is one special puja that is performed by Agambagish who are the most devoted priests and tantriks who worship Maa kali by meditating in mortuaries, sitting in a circle surrounded by human skulls smeared with blood. This Diwali ritual can be witnessed in rural West Bengal such as in the districts of Howrah, Midnapur and Hoogly.
Hurling Firecrackers at each other in Gujarat
On the occasion of Diwali, Gujarat follows many Diwali rituals and one of them is showering firecrackers at each other in the district of Panchmahal. People flinging the fireworks at each other is an age-old unique Diwali ritual of Vejalpur village in Panchmahal.
In some households in Gujarat, people light up the ghee diya all night and later in the morning, they produce Kajal from the leftovers of diyas. Then the ladies apply that kajal in their eyes. This ritual is considered to be an auspicious Diwali ritual that brings prosperity.
The tribal people of Gujarat’s Narmada and Baruch districts consider Diwali as a sign of good health. They celebrate Diwali for 15 days and they follow the ritual of burning a herbal wood. It is thought that the smoke produced by the burning of medicinal wood keeps them well. This is one of their distinctive Diwali rituals, which also embodies the idea that “hard work generates prosperity, and hard labour necessitates good health.”
Pathar Mela in Himachal Pradesh
Diwali is not a festival of light everywhere and Pathar ka Mela of Himachal Pradesh is one of the strange Diwali rituals. This stone-pelting ceremony also called Pathar ka Mela is celebrated every year after Diwali in Dhami. This is a devotional ceremony that believes that getting struck during the festival is lucky.
Two groups of villagers gather to hurl stones at each other, and the blood collected from those who sustain injuries is used to apply tilak to the idol of Goddess Kali at a neighbouring temple. Human sacrifice was popularly believed to have been offered to the Goddess Kali at Dhami. However, the local princely state’s queen was outraged by the practice and had it discontinued. Stone pelting was created as an alternative to human sacrifice at the time and has been performed ever since.
Celebrating Lord Krishna in Goa
Goa’s Diwali celebration is one of the unique celebrations. Instead of worshipping goddess Lakshmi, the people of Goa follow the Diwali ritual of burning the effigy of Narakasur. In Goa, Diwali is also known as the “Narkasur Chaturdashi” as per the mythology, Narkasur was the king of Goa. He was arrogant, evil, and possessed supernatural talents. Lord Krishna beheaded Narkasur early in the morning, shortly before daybreak.
Local people create the effigy of Narkasur from discarded papers, grass and other materials. That effigy then gets loaded with firecrackers and is paraded around the streets of Goa. Then this effigy is burned down by the men on the eve of Diwali. This ritual signifies the start of the celebration of light and the end of evil and darkness.
Coming to an end, these Diwali rituals are unique and peculiar and have been followed for ages. The list of these unique Diwali rituals doesn’t end here as there are other states like Chattisgarh where the marriage ceremony of crops is celebrated and in Maharashtra, where lord Yamraj is worshipped on the occasion.
Feature Image- Canva
If you loved reading about these unique Diwali rituals then do read In-depth Guide To Easily Grow Winter Veggies This November For A Perfect Kitchen Garden
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