Diwali is one of the most important festivals of Gujarat. While the rest of the country observes Diwali for two to five days, in Gujarat the celebrations can go up to nearly a week. Every other state has holidays either on the main day of Diwali or maybe a day after or before Diwali, but in Gujarat, it is five days of holidays with extensive festivities and celebrations.

The calendar for Diwali 2017 celebrations in Gujarat is as follows:

First Day of Diwali Celebrations in Gujarat:

Diwali in Gujarat begins with Agyaras, two days before Dhanteras. This falls on the 11th day of Aso Vad month of the Gujarati calendar or the month of Ashwin. People keeps fasts on this day and elaborate foods are prepared – Gujarati specialties for the purpose of distribution and gifting on the Gujarati New Year. 

Second Day of Diwali Celebrations in Gujarat:

The next day or the 12th day of the Aso Vad is celebrated as Vagh Baras or Vad Baras in Gujarat. On this day, cows and cattle is worshipped, especially in the interiors and rural areas. Vagh means the payment of financial debts. Therefore, this day is dedicated to closing ones debts and clearing accounts and ledgers. People do not make any new financial transactions or make any entry in the new ledger books from this day until the day Labh Pancham is observed two days after Diwali.

Vagh also means tiger in Gujarati. In some villages and areas of Gujarat this day is for fun and frivolity. Some men colour themselves to look like tigers, with stripes while others colour themselves with white paint representing cattle. The men colored like tigers then chase the men looking like cattle, following this, everyone gathers at one common place to feast and enjoy together.

Third Day of Diwali Celebrations in Gujarat:

On the next day, Gujarat like the rest of India, observes Dhanteras. This festival is celebrated in honor of Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth. Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped extensively on each day of the festival. On Dhanteras, most household buy precious metals and stones like gold, silver and diamonds. It’s a popular belief amongst Gujaratis that the if you spend on this day, it makes Lakshmi happy and in turn you are blessed with prosperity and wealth all through the year.

Fourth Day of Diwali Celebrations in Gujarat:

The day after Dhanteras and a day before Diwali is celebrated as Kali Chaudas in Gujarat. As the name suggests it falls on the fourteenth day of the Aso Vad. This festival is celebrated to honor Goddess Maha Kali or Shakti, who killed the evil king Raktavija, who had got a boon of immortality for some deed that pleased Brahma. This day signifies the destruction of all evil and everything that lead to or brings evil, like lethargy and other traits. It is celebrated as the end of all evil and beginning afresh. Lord Hanuman is worshipped on this day for protection against evil spirits and negative energy.

Fifth Day of Diwali Celebration in Gujarat:

Lakshmi Puja is the main and the most important day of Diwali festivities. It falls on the new moon day or Amavasya, on Aso Vad 15, the last day of the dark fortnight in the month of Ashwin. This is the last day of the year according to the Hindu the Gujarati calendar. People decorate their houses with lights and lamps. They draw rangoli and padukas at doorsteps and entrances of their houses to welcome goddess Lakshmi, who is said to visit households and establishments on this day and bring prosperity and success with her into the family. There is Lakshmi Puja in the evening, where the whole family gathers and comes together for the processions. After worshipping and offering prashad (holy offering) to the gods and goddesses, the offerings are distributed amongst the members of the households. Once the Puja is over, people, especially children burst numerous firecrackers and the sky is illuminated with them. They say that the sound and noise of the firecracker ward off the evil spirits from entering homes and bringing bad luck.

Diwali in Ahmadabad

Sixth Day of Diwali Celebrations in Gujarat:

The day after Diwali is when Gujarat celebrated its New Years, on Govardhan Puja. This day is known as Bestu Varas. This is celebrated o the first day of the new month of Kartik in the New Year, also known as Kartak Sud Ekam in Gujarat. The day begins with welcoming of the new years with the burst of firecrackers at 4 am in the morning. Hindus believe that a new day begins at 4 am or at dawn as opposed to the western belief that a day changes at 12 am midnight. There is custom observed by the young boys in the villages of Gujarat. They collect salt from the evaporated ponds and distribute it to people, calling it ‘sabras’ which means, everyone should taste, as it will bring luck in the New Year.

People visit and wish each other “Nutunvarsh Abhinandan” meaning Happy New Year in Gujarati. Houses are decorated with fresh flowers, wall hangings and rangolis for the New Year. Sweets and snacks are distributed.

Gujarat also observes this day as Bali Pratipada. It is celebrated in honor of the boon granted by Lord Vishnu in his Vaman Avatar to King Mahabali to visit his kingdom each year on this day to see that his people are happy, well fed and satisfied. This was granted as a blessing to Mahabali for his generosity at granting Vaman his wishes to three paces of land. When the Vaman took form of Lord Vishnu and covered the sky and the land with two paces, Mahabali offered his head as the third step asthere was no place left. This made Vishnu happy and granted Mahabali his wish to visit earth every year on this day, before he finally pushed him underground and made him the ruler of the netherworld or ‘patala’.

Seventh Day of Diwali Celebrations in Gujarat:

The second day of the Gujarati New Year is celebrated as Bhai Bij. This is a day for brothers and sisters. In Gujarat they believe that a brother figure stands for Krishna, who killed Narkasura and saved the people from his mirth. Sisters worship and perform prayers and aarti for the health, long life and welfare of their brothers. Sisters invites their brothers home for puja and then prepare delicious meals for them on this occasion. In return the brothers present their sisters with gifts, warmth and blessings. Bhai Bij enhances and strengthens the love between a brother and a sister.

Labh Pancham, on the fifth day of the New Year is when Gujarati business-men, shopkeepers and traders start new business ventures and purchase things for their respective shops, trades and companies. It is considered an auspicious day for new investments and business proceedings. New ledger books get there first entry and traders start them by writing “Shubh” meaning auspicious and “Labh” meaning profits at the beginning of the accounts books. Several people go shopping on this day as it’s a sign of good luck.

In Gujarat the 15th day of the Kartik month, Karthik Poornima, is celebrated as Dev Deepavali/Diwali. It is believed that after killing the demon King Bali, Lord Vishnu returned to his heavenly abode on this day. The demigods and goddesses welcomed him with great enthusiasm, celebrations and festivities. With this day comes the end of the festivities of Diwali in Gujarat.
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