The festivals a community celebrates, be it a religious community, a community sharing a common land, or a community of any other kind, tell us their history and 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; thus, it is no surprise to find such many festivals and occasions happening throughout the country throughout 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 these have such different dates, yet their method of celebration is quite the same.
- Diwali and Deepavali are two names for the same Hindu festival, celebrated to mark the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
- Deepavali, originating from the Sanskrit words “deepa” (light) and “avali” (row), indicates the central practice of lighting lamps and candles during the festival.
- Although the festival’s name varies regionally, Diwali and Deepavali are celebrated with similar customs, such as cleaning homes, exchanging gifts, and feasting festive food.
Diwali vs. Deepavali
The difference between Diwali and Deepavali is that Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated mostly in the north Indian states. In contrast, Deepavali is the four-day festival celebrated mostly in the south Indian states.
|Parameters of Comparison||Diwali||Deepavali|
|States Celebrated||Mostly the North Indian States.||Mostly the South Indian States.|
|Mythological Significance||Marks the return of Lord Rama after his exile.||Celebrates Krishna defeating Naraka.|
|Etymology||It is a derivation of the word Deepavali.||It is from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Line of Lamps.’|
|Duration||It is a 5-day celebration.||It is a 4-day celebration.|
|Date||Falls on Ashvina Amavasya.||Falls on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi.|
What is Diwali?
Diwali is the festival of lights, significant in most north Indian states. This occasion marks the return of Lord Rama from his exile.
This is part of the epic Ramayana, where Lord Rama was sent to exile from his father’s kingdom in Ayodhya when he was still a prince. 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, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea of milk on this day, so Lakshmi Puja is also performed on this day.
The fourth day mythologically celebrates the event where Lord Krishna 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 during this period.
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 that 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 appear, and there are still stars in the sky.
The second day is Lakshmi Puja. Same as on 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 on Earth as a Vamana (dwarf) and defeating the demon king Bali.
The fourth day, Yama Dvitiya, is when Yama (God of Death) feasted with his sister, and she 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.
Main Differences Between Diwali and Deepavali
- 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.
- Diwali is the festival that celebrates the return of Lord Rama to his kingdom Ayodhya. Deepavali signifies the time when Lord Krishna defeated the demon king Ravana.
- Diwali is a shortened version of the word Deepavali, a Sanskrit word.
- Diwali is celebrated for five days, while Deepavali is celebrated for four days.
- Diwali starts on Ashvina Amavasya. Deepavali starts on Ashvina Krishna Chaturdasi.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.