In south India, Deepavali is the festival of lights that celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over fierce demon narakasura who had unleashed a reign of terror on earth and troubled the inhabitants….
Deepavali is celebrated in Tamil Nadu in south of Aipasi(Thula Month) on the day of preceding amavasi. The preparations begin a week before with the housewife making various savouries- murukku, thenkuzhal, mixture and ribbon pakoda and sweets like badam halwa, mysorepak, badam cakes etc. are made. The deepavali marundu or lehyam is made on the eve of the festival.
When the brass or copper hot water boiler was used, the day before was marked to decorate it with kumkum dots. Nowadays, the house is washed and decorated with kolams and red oxide kavi. In the puja room, betel leaves and nuts, bananas, flowers, sandal paste and kum kum, crackers and new dresses, smeared with a dot of kumkum at the edges are placed in a plate. On the morning of deepavali, the whole family wakes up before sunrise. Gingely oil is heated and seasoned with peppercorns and jeera and applied on the scalp by the eldest family member. After an oil bath, the family members are given a ball of medicinal lehyam, a sweet and some savoury. Children burst crackers and a heavy breakfast of idli/vadai, puri and potatoes, paneeyaram, pongal and chutney are eaten. Lunch too is a virundu saapaadu. In the evening, little earthen lamps are lit and crackers are burst.
The Thalai Deepavali, the first one for newlyweds, is spent in the bride's parental home. The groom's parents and siblings too join thr celebrations. A visit to the temple, exchange of gifts of cloths and jewelry, eating sewwts and receiveing blessings of elders is the routine.
Deepavali in Andhra Pradesh is spread over five days Dhanatrayodashi or Yamadeepdaan, Narkachaturdashi or Divili Panduga, Kaumudi Mahotsavam, bali padyam or bali pratipada and yamadwitheya. It is a festival that revolves around Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Deepavali begins by visiting temples and offering pujas and in the night neighbourhoods are bright with lamps and crackers. In Hyderabad, there is a tradition of bathing buffaloes on the day Deepavali and of decorating paper figures. The poor and the rich spend large sums of expensive silk saris, jewellery and ornaments and household goods. Sweets are prepared in homes as well as bopught from shops for exchange.
Deepavali celebration in Karnataka begins with Dhanatrayodashi, followed by Narakachaturdashi.
The third day there is a puja to bali followed by Bhathru Dwithiya dedicated to brethren.
A related festival is Gorehabba, celebrated a day after Balipadyami in Gummatapura, a tiny village on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border. Cow dung is splashed on each other before which quaint rituals are followed. Kerela is the only state in India where Diwali is not a major festival. Finally, the celebrations are a rememberance that there is always victory of light over darkness, good over evil and prosperity comes to those who worship the divine.