Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

The festival of lights, Diwali is being celebrated with pomp, gaiety, and traditional fervour across Odisha on Sunday. It’s that time of the year when streets and houses are decorated with shining diyas, twinkling fairy lights, glowing lamps, and colourful rangoli while firecrackers light up the night sky.

As per the Hindu calendar, Diwali or Deepawali falls on the 15th day of the month of Kartik. People in the state pay tributes to their ancestors on Diwali and the popular ritual is known as ‘Paya Shradha’. As ‘Amabasya Tithi’ is continuing for two days starting today this year, people are in confusion when to offer ‘Paya Shradha’ to the ancestors.

However, as per cultural experts, ‘Paya Shradha’ could be offered, and ‘diyas’ could be lightened after the afternoon as both ‘Chaturdashi’ and ‘Amabasya’ Tithis are continuing today. Moreover, as ‘Amabasya’ is falling on ‘Udayaparva’ tomorrow, Diwali and traditional ‘Sagara Bije’ rituals will be celebrated in Puri Srimandir on Monday.

The popular festival in Western India is mostly associated with business and trade where new ventures, the buying of properties, the opening of offices, and shops, and special occasions like marriages are considered auspicious. 

A few days before Diwali, the markets were crowded with Diwali shoppers. Rangoli making and painting footprints to welcome Goddess Laxmi are also integral parts of Diwali celebrations.

Diwali’s history can be traced back to ancient India, with several legends associated with it many believe that Diwali is the celebration that marks Goddess Lakshmi’s wedding with Lord Vishnu while others mark it to be a celebration of Lakshmi’s birth, as it is believed that she was born on the new moon day of Kartik.