|Diwali Celebration in West Bengal|
In West Bengal, Lakshmi puja is celebrated five days after Dussehra, on the full moon day (Purnima). On the following new moon day (Amavasya), coinciding with Diwali, goddess Kali is worshiped. Kali, the more aggressive form or the destructive incarnation of Goddess Durga, has a terrifying look. She destroys all evils. Lamps are lit in her honor, and in return, she promises a renewal of life and justice on earth.
In West Bengal, it is not Lakshmi puja but Kali Puja which makes the festival unique. Kali is generally a goddess to be feared rather than venerated. But, Diwali is also celebrated with great enthusiasm and it is a time for gaiety and feasting. The houses are decorated and lit with diyas. Two or even four plantain leaves decorate the entry to the house or property, with a row of diyas at the doorstep. The entire family gathers around for Lakshmi puja in the evening.
Diwali Festival stretches over three days, but on Amavasya the final day, the celebrations and lights are less. The first two festival days are important, with feasting, drinking, gambling, family gatherings, lights and fire crackers occupying time from dusk to dawn. In West Bengal, the pious festive air and not the material goods, mainly marks the occasion. No new clothes, no new utensils, no new gold. In fact nothing new at all on Diwali day, as all the shops are shut tight except those selling sweets and fire crackers. Gifts are limited to sweets and dry fruits.