Here’s how Diwali is celebrated in Gujarat!

Diwali in Gujarat begins in the second lunar fortnight of the Hindu month Ashvin and according to the Gujarati calendar, is also known as the month of Aso. What makes Diwali in Gujarat unique is that the state announces an official five-day holiday to bring in the festivities with a bang.

Day 1: Agyaras

Is observed two days prior to Dhanteras on the 11th day of Aso when people start preparing for Diwali by cleaning houses, keeping fasts, inviting relatives and friends over and preparing various delicacies. Diwali clothes and puja materials are shopped on this day as well.

Day 2: Vaak Baras

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Also known as Govatsa Dwadashi or Guru Dwadashi is celebrated on the 12th day of Aso Vad. On this day cows are worshiped and all financial accounts and debts for the year are closed and cleared respectively. Vaak, the goddess who personifies oral communication and speech, is also worshiped on this day for good luck and wealth. In some villages, the day is associated with tigers. Men colour themselves in stripes representing tigers and in plain white representing cattle. In a game of sorts, the ‘tigers’ chase the ‘cattle’ following which the two groups join the rest of the village for a feast.

Day 3: Dhanteras

Celebrated on the 13th day of Aso, in the honor of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is extensively observed in Gujarat. Families buy gold, silver and precious metals in ordered to to welcome wealth and happiness. A common belief among Gujaratis (and indeed several other communities in India) is that if money is spent on this day it will bring prosperity and good luck to their families.

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Day 4: Kaali Chaudash

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As the name itself suggests, Kaali Chaudash is observed on the 14th day of Aso Vad and is dedicated to Shakti or Maha Kaali. According to legends, this day signifies the vanquishing of all evil spirits and forces. It is also known as Narak Chaturdashi and is considered as the day when Kali killed the evil demon Raktavija. Hanuman, the lord of strength is also worshiped on Kali Chaudash to keep negativity away.

Day 5: Lakshmi Puja

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This is probably the most fun and colorful day of the festival, celebrated on a full moon day of Aso Vad. It is on this day that people wake up before dawn, have a bath and visit the temple. Houses are decorated with lanterns, garlands, rangoli and lamps and sweets and savory snacks are distributed. After the sun goes down, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is worshiped and a spectacular display of fireworks (believed to ward off bad luck and evil spirits) begins.