People across India, Indian diasporas, and other South Asian countries mark Diwali; however, in a country as diverse as India, festivities and honorees have their own regional variations.
The northern states generally worship Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth; and Ganesh, the elephant-headed God of Prosperity. Here, Diwali has been celebrated since ancient times to mark the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after the end of his long exile and victory over the demon Ravana. However, in South India, Diwali commemorates the slaying of the demon Narakasur by Lord Krishna. In Goa, giant effigies of the demon Narakasur are paraded before being burnt. Meanwhile, over to the east in Bengal, they worship the mighty goddess Kali, the Destroyer of Evil.
But the one thing which binds all these celebrations together is the intent to dispel evil and darkness by way of light.
Did you know? Diwali is often considered a Hindu festival, but it’s also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.