Diwali celebrates the victory of the good over evil and the restoration of Dharma. The most popular belief is that Lord Ram returned to Ayodhya after 14-year exile and people lit lamps to receive him. But the most important Hindu God that is worshipped during Diwali is not only Lord Ram – there are numerous other Gods that are worshipped during Diwali. In South India, on Deepavali it is Lord Krishna that is worshipped as Lord Krishna is believed to have annihilated demon Narakasura and therefore the celebrations are also known as Narak Chaturdashi.
Numerous Gods in Hindu Pantheon are worshipped during the Diwali period in various regions and by different Hindu communities. Here is a look at some of the popular rituals and worships during Diwali.
Lord Ganesha – All pujas, rituals and celebrations in Hinduism begin with the worship of Lord Ganesh. During the Diwali too all pujas and rituals begin after the worship of Lord Ganesha.
Lord Ram – The most popular reason for observing Diwali is the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14-year exile along with Mata Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman. Lord Ram Temples perform special puja on the day. Diyas are lit on the day in remembrance of the return of Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman to Ayodhya after defeating Ravan and completing the exile period.
Lord Krishna – In South
, it is believed that Lord Krishna killed Demon Narakasura on this day and thus ensuring the victory of the good over evil. Another popular puja associated with Krishna is the Govardhan Puja - Lord Krishna lifting the mount Govardhan to rescue the people of Vrindavan from thunder and rains. Another ritual during the Diwali period associated with Lord Krishna is the Annkut. India
Goddess Lakshmi – Mahalakshmi puja is the most important ritual on Diwali day for majority of Hindu communities. The ritual of worshipping Goddess Lakshmi is performed in homes and by shopkeepers and business community. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for wealth, prosperity, luck and prosperity. She is believed to have appeared on the Diwali day during the Churning of Ocean or samdura manthan.
Goddess Kali – Kali Puja is performed on the day in Bengal and eastern parts of
on Diwali day. Special murtis or idols of Goddess Kali are made and larg public pujas are performed on the day. India
Lord Kubera – Lord Kuber is the Hindu God of wealth and Kubera is worshipped along with Goddess Lakshmi. He is propitiated on the day for wealth and prosperity.
Lord Hanuman – Hanuman Puja is performed the day before Diwali celebrations in
Gujarat. It is believed that Lord Hanuman appeared on this day by some Hindu communities in this region. Hanuman is worshipped for strength and security.
Lord Dhanvantri – Lord Dhanvantri is the God of medicine and is worshipped by medical practitioners. He is believed to have appeared three-days before Diwali during the Samudra Manthan or Churning of the ocean carrying the Amrut or Elixer.
Worship of Ancestors – On the no moon day or Amavasi during Diwali, ancestors are offered homage in many regions. In Orissa there is a popular belief that the lights that are lit on Diwali are to show the path to the spirits of ancestors returning to heaven.
Go Puja – Cow is worshipped in certain parts western
three days before Diwali and this marks the beginning of Diwali festival in these regions. This is known as Vasubaras. India
Lord Yama – Lord Yama and Yami, sister of Lord Yama, are remembered on Bhai Dooj day. Bhaidooj is the last day of Diwali celebrations and is dedicated brother-sister relationship and it is based on a legend involving Lord Yama and Yami. Yamadeepdan is another ritual that is associated with Yama and is observed on the Dhanteras day.
Chitragupta – Chitragupta, who is the keeper of the records of sins and good deeds, is worshipped on Roop Chaudas day in
King Bali – Balipratipada or Bali Padyami during Diwali is the day when King Bali gets an opportunity to rule the world. He got this boon as he was pushed to the underworld on this day by Lord Vishnu in his Vamana Avatar. The one-day rule of King Bali is observed during the last day of Diwali festival and is of great importance in Karnataka and
The list is never complete because there are numerous pujas that are performed by Hindus and as I learn more about them I will add them to the list.