India: Diwali Festival celebrated in style (See photos) - NewzEmpire


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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

India: Diwali Festival celebrated in style (See photos)

(CNN) — Diwali is one of the most important Hindu festivals in India, but the colorful customs and meanings associated with it can vary depending on where you travel in the country.

In the north, Diwali is often a raucous affair, marked by a cacophony of firecrackers on the streets and a flourish of ceremonial gambling in the home.

The wealthier urban dwellers splurge on gold, jewelry, clothes and expensive gifts such as electronics, which they buy for themselves and their loved ones.
In the quiet villages, such as those dotted around the vast state of Maharashtra in the west of India, the Festival of Lights celebration is generally a simpler affair, defined by humble offerings and wholesome feasts.

Few, if any, firecrackers are burst and many follow their own particular tribal traditions. Most villagers try to buy new clothes, but few can afford gold, jewelry or elaborate gifts.
The annual dates of Diwali are as fluid as types of revelry you'll find. It's generally celebrated for five days, with the biggest day being the third one.

In 2018, northern India marks that day on Wednesday, November 7. However, it falls on Tuesday, November 6, in southern India, where it's called Deepavali.
Here's a look at some of the most popular ways to celebrate.

Common traditions
Some Diwali rituals are common across most of the subcontinent.
In both city and countryside, small oil lamps made of clay (diyas) are placed at the thresholds of homes, shops and offices throughout the five-day affair to celebrate the legend of the return of the Hindu god, Lord Rama, to his kingdom after 14 years in exile. According to mythology, his people lit diyas to welcome his return.

Hindus in cities and villages also believe that during Diwali the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, will visit their homes if they are lit, clean and beautifully decorated.
Windows and doors are left open to let the goddess in, and homes are cleaned from top to bottom.
Brightly colored rangolis are drawn using fingers on the ground at the entrances to homes and offices. These geometric designs are usually symbols of nature. Their purpose is to welcome guests and to encourage Lakshmi inside.

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