The 5 days long Hindu festival, Diwali is celebrated by different communities in India.The uniqueness of this festival is it signifies different things to different communities. Inspite of the different significances of diwali , common point is, it is celebrated as the festival of joy and happiness.
Diwali in India
In the northern and the western regions of India,
Diwali is held in honour of the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom
after defeating the demon king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya made
festivals to celebrate the occasion.
On this day, Mahavira is worshipped at midnight and early next
morning in Gujrat. Sacred scriptures are recited and houses
are grandly illuminated.
In south India the legend of King Bali is related to the
origin of Diwali.Lord Vishnu pushed Bali to the underland through
tricks in the disguise of a dwarf. Since then, people in South India
this day, locally called Bali Padyami.
In the eastern states, Diwali is associated with the story
of Narakasura who was killed by Lord Krishna.
The Punjabis call Diwali as Tikka. It's a festival of
sisters. They make a paste with saffron and rice and place an
auspicious mark on their brother's foreheads as a symbolic gesture
to ward off all harm.
In the north, most communities observe the custom of
lighting lamps. However, in the south, the custom of lighting baked
earthen lamps is not so much part of this festival as it is of the
Karthikai celebrations a fortnight later. The lights signify a
welcome to prosperity in the form of Lakshmi, and the fireworks are
supposed to scare away evil spirits.
In Maharashtra, it is the thirteenth day of Ashwin, the
trayodasi, that is observed as a festival commemorating a young
prince whom Yama, the God of Death, had claimed four days after his
marriage. Filled, however, with compassion for the luckless youth,
the legend goes, Yama promised that those who observed the day would
be spared untimely death-and so the lamps that are lit to mark the
festival are placed facing south, unlike on other festive days,
because south is the direction mythologically assigned to Yama.
Bengalis celebrate Diwali as apart of Kali Puja. Kali is
another form of Durga, the divine embodiment of supreme energy. Kali
is the Goddess who takes away darkness. She cuts down all
impurities, consumes all iniquities, and purifies Her devotees with
the sincerity of her love.