Deepawali celebrations in Gujarat: Deepawali is one of the most significant and major festivals in the Indian Subcontinent. The festival is very secular and sees participation of people from almost all the communities. The festival also has state to state variation and indulges people almost in fortnightly rituals prior to the principal festival. The festival’s colorful rituals and the deep symbolism associated enchant the masses. The concept of lighting the house with colorful diyas in itself gives such a beautiful feel and with it go the legends that are awe inspiring and articulate the fact of victory of good over evil. No wonder Deepawali or Diwali is a much awaited festival in India and across the world.
The Hindu Lunar calendar suggests the commencement of Diwali in the month of Ashvin and ends in the month of Kartika. Aaso (Ashvin) as it is called in Gujarat is the blessed month of Diwali. The Gujaratis light Diyas for all the eleven days of Aaso even earlier than the day of Dhanteras to a few days preceding the principal festival and even beyond it. This they do to ward off evil and other negative forces from their lives.
The eleventh day of Aaso is called Agyaras and Gujaratis make dry fruit desserts and invite friends and relatives for get togethers. Vagh Baras is the twelfth day of Aaso and the Gujaratis worship cow and the calf. It is customary to clear of any debts on this day. In some villages like Dhodia in Gujarat, men color themselves in stripes representing tiger and others in white representing cattle and skits are performed as though tiger is chasing the cattle away. At the end of it all the villagers gather and indulge in savoring scrumptious feasts.
The 13th Aaso is the famous Dhanteras. The day is considered very auspicious and Gujaratis indulge in purchasing Gold. Gold purchased on this day is said to increase manifold by the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi. It is on this day we find Gold being purchased in India at an exponential rate.
The 14th Aaso is called Kaali Chaudash in Gujarat. Goddess Kali and Hanuman are invoked on this day in order to gain protection against evil. Tantrics go to cemeteries to gain tantric powers.
15th Aaso is Diwali and marks the end of the Hindu Year. The financial year of Hindus also comes to an end on the day of Diwali and we see accountants rounding off the ledgers. The Diwali day is the one that is embossed in grandeur and splendor. People of Gujarat arise early, take shower and adorn themselves in finest dresses. Culinary innovations are seen on their peak. Besides savoring some finest delicacies people visit the nearby temples and offer victuals. In the evenings Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped in almost every Hindu household and later diyas (clay lamps) adorn the homes.
Children indulge in spectacular display of fireworks that fill their front yards and skies with colorful sparkles. It is customary for Gujarati men to wear Jhabba Legengas or Dhotis during the eve of Diwali. Women drape themselves in finest silk saris.
The Diwali celebrations go beyond the principal festival in Gujarat. The 15th day of Kartak month (also called Kartika) typically the full moon day is celebrated as Dev Diwali. People indulge in luncheons and other familial gatherings and there is once again display of fireworks to mark the end of new-year greetings.
If you happen to be a Gujarati, we request you to share with us the Diwali nuances. It would be more than wonderful to hear from you. Please put your joys and experiences just beneath this article. We eagerly await that!
Important Date: This year i.e. 2011, Diwali will be celebrated on Wednesday, 26th October.
This is our team wishing all the Gujaratis a very happy Diwali!!