Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali
The Indian people are rich in culture, beliefs and tradition; and because of its antiquity, various beliefs had been formed. With those set of beliefs, the Indian people have began their love for commemoration forming various kinds of festivals to celebrate or give reverence to what they believe in. Even though a tradition at first instance is one in essence, there will always be times when citizens from different cities may revise or reform it as time goes by.
One of the many celebrations that clearly display India’s varying culture within a nation is the Feast of Lights which is observed all throughout the country. This feast is named Diwali and Deepavali. People usually wonder why Indians name it separately. These two may sound slightly similar, but there are a bunch of differences between them that will be discussed further in this article.
Deepavali and Diwali are just similar festival with the same meaning that have differed on how they are spelled which is one of the most apparent of all their differences. Both are “Feast of Lights” but the right word to use is Deepavali by South India which actually comes from the Sanskrit vocabulary meaning a ‘line of lamps’. However, this Sanskrit word have been modified by the North Indian people with the use of the word Diwali from their language. Also, it is an important thing to note that the South Indian colonized countries such as Malaysia and Singapore use Deepavali which is the etymologically correct term.
DAYS OF FESTIVITIES
This year in 2017, South India’s Deepavali will be celebrated on the 18th of October while North India’s Diwali will be held on the 19th of October. The four-day observation of Deepavali in South India usually holds its kick off celebration on Ashwin Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi. On the other hand, the five-day observation of Diwali in North India starts two days before the actual day of Diwali with the Dhanteras. As it is noticed, Deepavali is usually commemorated one day before the Diwali, but this doesn’t always happen especially on certain years when the Tithi coincides.
HISTORICAL & SPIRITUAL MEANINGS
Deepavali takes pride in a four day celebration with its first day of festival known as the Naraka Chaturdasi Day which is done to mark the triumph of the Divine Krishna finishing off the demon named Naraka. As a sign of victory, people who join this feast take part in the symbolic bathing done early in the morning before the sunrise as the heavenly bodies in the sky are still twinkling bright and shiny.
The second day of the Deepavali celebration is called Lakshmi Puja which is dedicated to the Goddess Lakshmi who came forth from Kshira Sagara which means Ocean of Milk. Lakshmi Pooja is currently executed in the present day.
The third day of the Deepavali celebration is called Kartika Shuddha Padwa or Bali Padyami which is devoted to honor the god Vishnu when he was incarnated as a dwarf called Vamana when he defeated the demon king Bali. This is also in virtue of the coming back of Bali in the planet Earth for his act of worship to the God Almighty and also for his good works to the people. This day also marks day one of the month of Hindu called Kartika.
The fourth and last day of the celebration of the Deepavali is called Yama Dvitiya. The story behind this day happened when the Supreme Being for Death named Yama feasted his sister Yami who placed a propitious tilak symbol on Yama’s forehead for his prosperity. Because of this noble sisterly act, sisters have been praying for their brother’s welfare on this day. To payoff this act of kindness by the sisters, their brothers render them with gifts in return.
Diwali boasts a five day celebration in North India in commemoration of the return of the Lord Ram to Ayodhya after he was exiled. As mentioned in the previous part of this article, Diwali is already observed two days before the actual day of Diwali with the Dhanteras which is actually the name of the celebration’s first day. Dhanteras is done to remember the momentous day when Dhanvantari who is the medical practitioner of the Idols was given birth. The word “Dhan” means wealth just like South India’s Goddess Lakshmi who is revered for good luck and welfare. Because of this, Indian business owners begin their year of accounting on this special day.
The day after the Dhanteras is called Choti Diwali also known as Kali Chaudas which also happens to be the actual day of South India’s Deepavali. This is the second day of North India’s celebration. This day is also called the Small Diwali. This day is dedicated to Daemon Narakasura when the god Krishna killed him.
The third day of Diwali’s celebration is called Diwali & Lakshmi Puja. This is the actual day of Diwali devoted to memorialize the King of Ayodhya, Lord Rama’s faithful return to his hometown after he defeated the dark demigod king of Lanka named Ravana. Lord Rama was exiled in the forest for fourteen long years. North and South India holds the Lakshmi Puja on the same day. The myth behind this fete is similar: the goddess Lakshmi came out of the Kshira Sagara (Ocean of Milk), when devas and asuras were agitated to have the ‘amrit’.
The day after the Diwali is called Govardhan Puja also known as the Annakoot which means mountain of food. This is the fourth day of the celebration dedicated for Krishna when he defeated the god of rain and thunder Indra. Krishna emerged victorious by lifting the hill of Govardhana with his minute finger to rescue the multitude from the dangerous floods. In South India, this very day has been observed as Bali Padyami believed to be the return of King Mahabali to the Earth to pay his mortal subjects a visit.
The fifth and last day of North India’s Diwali celebration is called Bhai Dhooj which is similar to Deepavali’s Yama Dvitiya. In this day of commemoration, sisters request their brothers to visit their humble abode. The sisters will have the chance to pray for the their brothers’ success while putting a symbol of prosperity on their foreheads. In return to this prayer of prosperity, brothers also ought to give material endowments to their beloved sisters.
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Julian Angelo. “Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali.” DifferenceBetween.net. August 21, 2017 .