Vasu-Baras, the Maratha New Year is an occasion for big celebrations, especially for married women in Maharashtra. Cows and calves are worshipped on this day to honor the bond and love between a mother and her child.
First Day of Diwali Celebrations in Maharashtra:The day after Vasu-Baras is celebrated as Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi. Particularly the working class and businesspersons in Maharashtra celebrate this day widely. As Dhanteras is a festival for wealth and prosperity, shopping for precious metals like gold, silver, and utensils is a ritual followed extensively on this day. It is believed that if you spend on this day, it pleases the Lord of Wealth and brings success into the family.
Second Day of Diwali Celebrations in Maharashtra:The second day of Diwali is celebrated as Naraka Chaturdashi in Maharashtra. People wake up at dawn and have an elaborate bath, with perfumed oils and utane (paste made of Ayurvedic ingredients like sandalwood, turmeric and camphor). After the bath, the woman of the family – wife or mother, perform aarti of the man. This whole procedure is called Abhyanga-Snan.
Third Day of Diwali Celebration in Maharashtra:On the main day or the third day of Diwali is a big occasion in Maharashtra. This is day when the celebration and festivities are in full swing. It begins with cleaning the houses and setting it up for the Lakshmi Puja in the evening. Rangoli and paduka are drawn outside the entrances and doorsteps to honor and welcome Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. During Diwali, most Marathi’s hang Akash- Kandil outside their houses.
Puja is performed in the evening and the houses are lit up with diyas, lights and candles in every house. Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Ganesha, brooms and jewelry is worshiped as a part of the prayer proceedings. After the Puja, firecrackers are burst to ward off evil spirits and a variety of sweets and food is distributed amongst family and friends. Special preparations are made for this day, and the Diwali snacks and sweets include Shakar-pare, Karanji, chivda and other such delicacies. Many traders do not give out money or spend any money on this day believing Lakshmi – a symbol of wealth, should not go out, but come in.
Fourth Day of Diwali Celebrations in Maharashtra:The day preceding Diwali, is celebrated as Diwali cha Padwa or Bali Pratipada. This is a special day for husbands and wives. The wife does the Puja and the aarti of the husband for health, prosperity and a long life and then applies tilak on her husband’s forehead. In return, the husbands shower their wives with gifts. In recent times, communities and societies organize cultural events called Diwali Padwa in the mornings where married couples can perform the ceremony..
Fifth Day of Diwali Celebrations in Maharashtra:The fifth and the last day of Diwali is celebrated as Bhau-beej or Bhai Dooj. This a day dedicated to the bond between brthers and sisters. On this day brothers and sisters visit each other. The sisters pray for the health and happiness of their brothers and then perform an aarti. This is followed by the sisters applying tilak on their brothers foreheads as a mark of safety and protection. In turn, brothers give gifts and money to their sisters as a thanks for their prayers. Bhau-bij, like Diwali sees extensive preparations of specials foods and snacks. Basundi poori or Kheemi puri are the specialties of this festival in Maharashtra.
With Bhau-bij, Diwali celebration come to an end, however, the next day after Diwali is celebrated as Tulsi- Vivah in Maharashtra. On this day, the Tulsi (considered a holy plant for Hindus) or basil plant is married to the idol of Lord Vishnu or Krishna in an extensive ceremony. This is celebrated to mark the end of monsoons and the beginning of the marriage season for Hindus.