|Diwali Celebration in Gujarat|
In Gujarat, Diwali is associated mostly with the worship of Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth. It is believed that Lakshmi on this day emerges to bring prosperity to the world. Lakshmi puja in Gujarat lasts for five days, which starts with Dhanteras. The fourth day, or the day of Govardhan Puja is Gujrati's New Year's Day. Lakshmi is believed to visit the homes that are well lit. So, families decorate their houses with light, flowers and paper chains.
The markets of Gujarat liven up almost a whole month in advance for Diwali shoppers; from Jewelery; clothes; sweets; gift articles; shoes; etc to fire crackers; every thing is in demand and plentiful in supply. It's a mad frenzy of shopping everywhere, in the days leading up to the festival.
Gujaratis start celebrations on the night before Diwali by creating designs - usually depicting nature or the gods - from natural powder colors in verandas. These are called "rangoli" and are supposed to welcome Goddess Lakshmi to the house. In a way they are a means of competition and pride amongst their creators. Also, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses.
On Diwali day the clothes worn are usually Jhabba (kurta)-dhotis or Jhabba-legengas for the men, while the women are in saris. A visit to the temple is customary. The day is spent preparing food and sweets. Shops are open, but business comes to a halt on Dhanteras, two days before Diwali, and doesn't resume until Labh Pancham, the fifth day of the new year. For traders and businessmen, this is the time for a vacation. Diwali evening is celebrated by lighting up streets and markets, and bursting crackers.
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