Here’s how Diwali is celebrated in the western state of Maharashtra!

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Diwali, the festival of lights, is upon us all! While the festival is celebrated across India, the festivities vary from place to place. And so too is the case with Maharashtra, it has its own unique way of celebrating Diwali.

Preparations begin way before the actual days of the festival, with women of the house preparing various sweets and savories collectively known as faral (loosely translated as snacks) along with shopping for the the five-day long celebrations. Diwali in Maharashtra begins on the 12th day of the second half of the Hindu month Ashwin, and is called Vasu Baras. On this day cows are worshiped to honor the mother-daughter bond.

Diwali celebrations in Maharashtra aren’t very different from those in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Although Diwali starts with Vasu Baras when calves are worshipped, the celebrations really begin with Dhanteras, known in Maharashtra as Dhantrayodashi.

Day 1: Dhanteras

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Dhanteras or Dhantrayodashi is particularly celebrated by traders and businessmen. New purchases of gold, silver, metal and even kitchenware are made on this day to honor Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth .It is believed that spending money on new purchases on this day brings prosperity. On the day of Dhanteras, Yama Deep Dan is also performed, when wives pray to Yama, the Lord of Death for a long and successful life of their husbands. An oil lamp made of flour is lit throughout the evening to pray to Yama and beautiful rangolis are drawn at the entrances of houses.

Day 2: Narak Chaturdashi

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It is also known as Choti Diwali and  marks the killing of the demon Narakasura by Krishna. On this day, people wake up before dawn and have a bath with scented oil and utane, a paste made up of sandalwood, rose, turmeric and camphor following which an aarti is performed by the lady of the house before sunrise. This is the Aabhyanga-Snan.

Day 3: Lakshmi Puja

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The third day of Diwali calls for big celebrations in Maharashtra. When houses are decorated with lights and lamps, rangoli is drawn outside the entrance of every house to welcome Goddess Lakshmi and Kandils and hung almost everywhere to spread light and conquer darkness. Friends and relatives are invited over for Lakshmi Puja in the evening and special delicacies such as Karanji, Chivda, Chakli and Shakar Pare are distributed amongst all. It is believed that bursting of firecrackers on this day wards off evil spirits and and ushers in of the new year.

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Day 4:  Bali Pratipada

Also known as Diwali Cha Padwa, this day celebrates the holy matrimony. The wife prays for the health, prosperity and long life of her husband and applies a tilak on his forehead. In return, the husband showers his wife with numerous gifts.

Day 5: Bhau Beej

Also known at Bhai Dooj, this day is dedicated to the bond between a brother and his sister. It is celebrated on the last day of Diwali when sisters pray for the long and successful lives of their brothers and brothers in turn pamper them with lots of love, gifts and blessings.