Uttar Pradesh is a state located in northern India. It is bordered by Rajasthan to the west, Haryana and Delhi to the northwest, Uttarakhand and the country of Nepal to the north, Bihar to the east, Jharkhand to the southeast, and Madhya Pradesh to the southwest.
Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh and Kanpur is the economic and industrial capital of Uttar Pradesh while Allahabad acts as the administrative center as it headquarters Uttar Pradesh Police force and homes the state’s High Court among various other state government offices.
Other major cities of Uttar Pradesh are – Ghaziabad, Agra, Varanasi, Meerut, Bareilly, Aligarh, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur, Noida, Firozabad, Jhansi, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, Raebareli, Greater Noida, etc.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the most ancient cradle of Indian culture and hence the Hindu Festival of Diwali is celebrated with great vigor over here.
Diwali Celebrations in Uttar Pradesh :
Ayodhya, located in Uttar Pradesh is the birth place of Lord Rama and hence in Uttar Pradesh, Diwali mainly celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
Here in Uttar Pradesh and in other parts of North India, during Navratri people perform Ramlila and from that time around the festive mood for Diwali starts. During Diwali people here celebrate homecoming of Rama with firecrackers and the lighting of earthen lamps
Just like other parts of the country, Diwali is a five day festival in Uttar Pradesh also which starts on Dhanteras and ends of Bhaidooj.
The rituals performed here during Diwali are almost the same as in the rest of the country. Like in other parts of the country people here perform puja of goddess Lakshmi on Dhanteras Day and then perform Lakshmi Ganesh Puja on Diwali Day.
Just like in other parts of the country, people of Uttar Pradesh celebrate Diwali by drawing colourful Rangoli’s outside their homes to welcome goddess of wealth – Lakshmi, wear new clothes, eat lots of sweets, exchange gifts, wear new clothes, decorate their homes with lights and diya’s, spent time with friends and family members, etc.
In Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India, people celebrate the fourth Day (Day after Diwali) as Govardhan Puja or Annakoot where in large number of dishes are prepared by people and offered to Lord Krishna which is later consumed by the people as Bhog.
Bhai Dooj the last day of Diwali holds significance in Uttar Pradesh. On this day, sisters pray for their brothers to have long and happy lives by performing the Tika ceremony (i.e., making a tikka on their brother’s forehead with kumkum and rice) and brothers give gifts to their sisters.
Diwali celebrations are grand in Varanasi where people set afloat diyas in the River Ganges with great devotion. Statues and figures of Hindu deities are taken on procession along the streets. The procession is accompanied with firecrackers, music and dancing. The whole city looks spectacular with lightings, gaiety and laughter.
A fortnight after Diwali, on Kartik Poornima, Dev Deepavali, ‘the Diwali of Gods’ is also celebrated in a grand manner in Varanasi wherein the steps of all the ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges River, from Ravidas Ghat at the southern end to Rajghat, are lit with more than a million earthen lamps (diyas) in honour of Ganga, the Ganges and its presiding goddess. It is believed that gods descend on earth to bathe in the Ganges on this day.