Difference Between Diwali and Deepavali (with Table)

The festivals a community celebrates, be it a religious community, a community sharing a common land, or a community of any other kind tells us their history and their way of living. It tells us what the people believe in, and how their society is built on these beliefs.

India is a land of rich cultural integrity and thus, it is no surprise to find such a high number of festivals and occasions happening all across the country, all through the year. One of the most prominent festivals of this country, which is not only celebrated here but all across the world is Diwali or Deepavali. It is a common doubt, as to why do these have such different dates, yet their method of celebration is quite the same.

The difference between Diwali and Deepavali is that Diwali is the five-day festival celebrated in mostly the north Indian states, whereas Deepavali is the four-day festival celebrated mostly in the south Indian states.

Comparison Table Between Diwali and Deepavali

Parameters of ComparisonDiwaliDeepavali
States Celebrated Mostly the North Indian States.Mostly the South Indian States.
Mythological SignificanceMarks the return of Lord Rama after his exile.Celebrates Krishna defeating Naraka.
EtymologyIs a derivation of the word Deepavali.Is from a Sanskrit word, meaning ‘Line of Lamps’
DurationIs a 5-day celebration.Is usually a 4-day celebration.
DateFalls on Ashvina Amavasya.Falls on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi.

What is Diwali?

Diwali is the festival of lights, that has great significance in most of the north Indian states. This occasion marks the return of Lord Rama from his exile. This is a part of the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama had been sent to exile when he was still a prince, from his father’s kingdom in Ayodhya. After the completion of fourteen years, he returned with his wife Sita, and brother Laxman. All the villages and the capital city in the kingdom had lit diyas (small clay lamps) to celebrate the good ruler’s return.

The five days of this festival are Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Diwali and Lakshmi Puja, Govardhan Puja, and Bhai Dooj.

Dhanteras celebrates the birth of Lord Dhanvantari. Lord Dhanvantari is regarded as the physician of gods. On this day, the goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and is prayed to for wealth and prosperity. 

The day of Choti Diwali holds significance because Lord Krishna slew the demon Narakasura on this day. Choti Diwali is the day when Deepavali starts.

The main occasion, Diwali is the third day in this series of festivals. This commemorates Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana. Also, on this day, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea of milk, and so Lakshmi Puja is also performed on this day.

The fourth day is which mythologically celebrates the event where Lord Krishna had saved the people from floods. Lord Indra had rained heavy rains to flood everywhere, but Lord Krishna had protected all his people by lifting the mountain Govardhana on his little finger.

The fifth and final day, Bhai Dooj is celebrated, an occasion between brothers and sisters, where sisters pray for the well being of their brothers. The brother presents his sister with gifts. 

This is the main essence of Diwali and all the festivals that take place during this period.

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What is Deepavali?

Deepavali is also the festival of lights, just like Diwali. However, it has a few differences as compared to Diwali. Deepavali starts on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi. Mythologically, this marks the event where Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the Dwapara Yuga, defeats the demon Narakasura. He was a demon king.

Similar to Diwali, there are a bunch of festivals around the period Deepavali is celebrated. They are Deepavali, Lakshmi Puja, Kartika Suddha Padwa, and Yama Dvitiya.

Deepavali, as mentioned before, is the festival which signifies the occasion of Lord Krishna defeating the demon king Narakasura. On this day, people take a bath early in the morning, when the first rays of the sun are appearing, and there are still stars in the sky.

The second day is Lakshmi Puja. Same as in Diwali, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the kheer sagar (sea of milk) on this day. She is worshipped for wealth and prosperity.

The Karthika Suddha Padwa is also known as Bali Padyami. This signifies the appearance of Lord Vishnu incarnating in Earth as a Vamana (dwarf) and defeating the demon king Bali. 

The fourth day, Yama Dvitiya, is the day when Yama (God of Death) had feasted with his sister, and she had put a tilak on his forehead for his well being. So, similarly, sisters put a tilak on their brothers’ forehead to pray for their well being.

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Main Differences Between Diwali and Deepavali

  1. The main difference between Diwali and Deepavali is that Diwali is celebrated mostly in the North Indian states, whereas Deepavali is celebrated in the Southern ones.
  2. Diwali is the festival which celebrates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom Ayodhya. Deepavali signifies the time when Lord Krishna defeated the demon king Ravana.
  3. Diwali is a shortened version of the word Deepavali, which is a Sanskrit word. 
  4. Diwali is celebrated for five days, while Deepavali is celebrated for four days.
  5. Diwali starts on Ashvina Amavasya. Deepavali starts on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi.

Conclusion

Both of these festivals have a lot in common and carry a lot of significance for everyone, not only in the country but all over the world.

This shows the cultural unity that the people of this country hold and preserve. These festivals are important for us, as they help us realize the value of tradition and family. It also gives us a break from the monotony of daily life and enjoys ourselves.

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2803032
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2854452/