Diwali celebration in Maharashtra is
interestingly different from what is seen in other parts of the country. In
a typical Marathi family Diwali celebrations starts with 'Vasu-baras'
that comes on tithi 'Ashwin krushna dwadashi' as per Marathi calendar.
Vasu-baras is a celebration held in honor of cows - regarded as mother by
Hindus. Following the rituals of the day married women perform 'puja' of
cows having calf. The tradition symbolizes a womans gratitude towards
cow for serving them and their children.
Dhanatrayodashi is a popular name for Dhanteras in Maharashta. Some also
celebrate Dhanvantari Jayanti on this day to honor the great ancient doctor
Dhanvantari. On the day of Dhanatrayodashi 'Yama-Deep-Dan
is held wherein mothers and wives make one divas each for all
living male in the family. The diva, made from the kneaded flour is lit and
offered to Lord Yama in the evening. As they perform the ritual womenfolk
pray to Lord Yama - the Hindu mythological God of Death that their husbands
and sons be blessed with a long life.
Chhoti Diwali is popularly known as Narak-Chaturdashi in Maharashtra. On
this day people celebrate Narakasurs death by Lord Krishna. They get
up early in the morning and massage their bodies with scented oil. And as a
custom they use 'utane' or 'utanah' for bath instead of soap. This special
bath is referred to as 'abhyang-snan'
. It may be noted
is not the same as uptan. Utane is made of
several things having ayurvedic properties like 'chandan' (sandalwood),
'kapoor' (camphor), manjistha, rose, orange skin and haldi (turmeric).
Diwali Celebrations - Lakshmi-Pujan
Lakshmi-pujan is celebrated on the Diwali evening. Believing that Goddess
Lakshmi visits every house in the evening, people perform Lakshmi Puja.
This is essentially a worship of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesh, money,
jewelleries and the broom.
A variety of mouth-watering delicacies including chivda, chakali,
shankar-pale, anarse, kadaboli, karanji, shev, chirote etc are prepared to
mark the festival. Throughout Diwali, Marathi people hang 'Akash-kandil' /
'Akash-dive' and light up 'panti's outside their houses. Tradition of
drawing colourful 'Rangoli's is also followed in Maharashtra as in rest or
Diwali Cha Padva
The third day of Diwali is also celebrated as 'Diwalicha Padva'
by many. This is a celebration of togetherness of husband and wife and love
shared by them. To mark the occasion wife does 'aukshan' of her husband and
husbands present a special gift to their wife.
The last day of Diwali festival is called Bhau Bij. In this sisters do
'aukshan' of their brothers and pray for their long life. Brothers, in their
turn bless their sister and pamper them with loads of Bhau-Bij gifts.
In Maharashtra, end of Diwali celebrations marks the beginning of
Tulsi-Vivah. Under this people organize marriage of sacred tulsi (a basil
plant) in their house. In Maharashtra the tradition is that people start
organizing marriage ceremonies of their sons/daughters only once Tulsi-vivah
starts. Celebration of Diwali ends with Dev-Diwali.
With Inputs from Mr S. V. Limaye