Difference between Diwali in North India and Deepavali in South India

Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated throughout India but there is a difference in origin, myth and the way in which it is celebrated. In 2016, Diwali is celebrated on October 29 in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In North India, it is observed on October 30, 2016.

North India
South India
Dhanteras (Oct 28) 

Choti Diwali (Oct 29)
Narak Chaturdashi
Deepavali/ (Oct 29)
Naraka Chaturdashi
Diwali / Lakshmi Puja (Oct 30)
Lakshmi Puja (Oct 30)
Govardhan Puja/ Annakut/
Diwali Padwa (Oct 31)/
Gujarati New Year
Kartik Shudda Padayami /
Bali Pratipada (Oct 31)
Bhai Dooj (Nov 1)
Yama Dwitiya (Nov 1)

The word 'Diwali' is most popularly used in North India and South India it is mostly used as 'Deepavali.' The meaning of both the word is the same.

The Deepavali celebration is a four-day festival in South India and commences on Ashwin Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi. The first day of the festival is known as Naraka Chaturdasi and it commemorates the victory of Lord Krishna over demon Naraka. This day is celebrated as Deepvali in South India and it usually falls on a day before the Diwali in North India - except in some years when the tithi overlaps.

Diwali in North India commemorates the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after his exile.

In North India, the Diwali celebration begins two days before the actual Diwali day with the Dhanteras.

The day after Dhanteras is celebrated as Choti Diwali. Usually, the actual Deepavali in South India takes place on this day.

On the Diwali day, Lakshmi puja is held in North India. In South India too Lakshmi puja is held on the same day. The myth is the same – Goddess Lakshmi emerged from Kshira Sagara (Ocean of Milk), when devas and asuras where churning for ‘amrit’.

The day after Diwali in North India is the Govardhan Puja - Annakut, Diwali Padwa is observed on this day. This day in South India is celebrated as Bali Padyami and it is believed that King Mahabali returns to earth on this day to visit his subjects.

The next day is Bhai Dhooj in North India and in South India it is the Yama Dvitiya. On this day sisters invite brothers to their home. This ritual is same in North and South but with a different name and story.

Diwali Complete Information Guide