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From North To South: How Diwali Celebrations Differ Across India

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Celebrated with unparalleled zeal and fervor, Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a vibrant and significant festival in India, embracing cultural, religious, and regional diversity. The exuberant celebrations of Diwali span the length and breadth of the country, with each region painting its unique cultural strokes into the festivities. Let’s delve into the colorful tapestry of Diwali celebrations, highlighting the diverse traditions and practices that mark this joyous occasion.

North India: The Heartland of Diwali Festivities

In the northern parts of India, Diwali is a grand carnival of lights, aromas, and merriment. The celebrations commence weeks ahead, resonating with the grandeur of elaborate decorations and vibrant markets. The enthusiasm is palpable, with locals adorning their homes and streets with radiant diyas (earthen lamps), vibrant rangoli (decorative patterns made on the floor), and vibrant embellishments.

The festivities here are incomplete without the fervor of bursting firecrackers, signifying the victory of light over darkness. Families come together, exchanging gifts, preparing delectable sweets like ladoos, barfis, and gujiyas, symbolizing the sweetness and prosperity of life.

East India: Cultural Elegance and Tradition

In the eastern parts, particularly in West Bengal, Diwali coincides with the grand celebration of Kali Puja. The festival is an ode to Goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil, and is observed with profound rituals and devotion. The night sky adorns itself with mesmerizing fireworks as devotees gather in temples, adorned with colorful lights and flowers, to offer prayers.

West India: The Resonance of Tradition and Commerce

The western states, notably Maharashtra and Gujarat, embrace Diwali with a harmonious blend of tradition and commerce. The festivities begin with the traditional cleaning and decorating of homes, welcoming Goddess Lakshmi, the harbinger of wealth and prosperity.

The heartwarming tradition of exchanging gifts and sweets is prevalent, symbolizing the fostering of relationships and goodwill. In Maharashtra, Diwali marks the beginning of the New Year, known as Padwa or Balipratipada.

South India: A Cultural Kaleidoscope

Down south, in states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Diwali takes on a unique hue, reverberating with a mosaic of cultural practices. Here, the focus is on spiritual renewal and the worship of deities. The grandeur lies in the display of ornate dolls and figurines in households, a tradition known as Bommai Kolu in Tamil Nadu and Bombe Habba in Karnataka.

The tradition of bursting firecrackers is comparatively subdued, with a greater emphasis on elaborate feasts comprising a myriad of traditional delicacies. Oil baths, new attire, and the exchange of sweets form the crux of the celebrations, symbolizing purity, prosperity, and togetherness.

The Unifying Essence of Diwali

Despite the regional nuances, the crux of Diwali celebrations remains the same across India – the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and the coming together of families and communities. It’s a time that transcends cultural boundaries, unifying the nation in its diversity and collective exuberance.


The celebrations of Diwali across India form a beautiful tapestry of diverse traditions, customs, and practices, each adding its unique hues to the grand festival. While regional variations exist, the core essence of Diwali—spreading joy, fostering togetherness, and celebrating the victory of light over darkness—resonates throughout the nation.

In a country as diverse as India, these regional intricacies add depth and beauty to the celebration, making Diwali a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the land.

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