How Deepavali is celebrated across the Northern and Southern part of India

Photo by: Phive’s photos

Singapore is a country where many races from all over the world are living together, the Indian community living here makes up approximately 10 percent of our population. Within this community, there is a mix of individuals, with some coming from the northern part of India, while the majority are from the South.

Many Singaporeans are not aware that North and South Indians celebrate Deepavali differently. By the end of this blog post, you'll be amazed ( just as I was 😲), to discover the unique variations in how this festive season is celebrated across the two regions of India. Not only will we explore the differences, but we'll also uncover the intriguing similarities.

1. Deepavali or Diwali?

This is a very common confusion among many Singaporeans, we are unsure which spelling of the festive season we should use in our Instagram posts or message greetings. So, in a nutshell, Deepavali is commonly used in South India while Diwali is used mainly in North India as well as other parts of the world. However, despite having a different spelling, they both have the same meaning. In case you’re not familiar with the meaning behind this festive season, the name of the festival is derived from two Sanskrit words: “ Deepa “ which translates to “ lamp “ or “ light “, and " avali " means “ row “ or “ series “. In other words, both Deepavali and Diwali translate to a “ row of lights “, signifying the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

Photo by: Pexels

2. Traditional Beliefs and Rituals

In South India, Deepavali is celebrated to honour Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon known as Narakasura. Usually a day before Deepavali, the south Indians will have a festival called Naraka Chaturdasi, which signifies the actual start of Deepavali. During this festival, people will start exchanging sweets, children will wear new clothes and families will visit each other. Before sunrise, they will also start the day off with an oil bath followed by firing off fireworks ( sounds fun! )

In North India, Diwali is celebrated because of Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana ( a multi-headed rakshasa king of the island of Lanka ). People will often light Diyas ( earthen lamps ) to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness. This festival goes on for five days with each day having different rituals and significance.

Photo by: Getty Images

3. Decoration Styles

North Indian homes are often decorated with rangoli, colourful flower decorations and diyas. People will also create complex patterns with rice flour and use vibrant colours to decorate their surroundings.

On the other hand, for South Indian homes, Rangoli is also common, however the decorations are usually simpler and more geometric in terms of design. In some other regions of South India, people use rice flour or coloured powders in front of their homes to draw kolam designs which are similar to rangoli.

Photo by: Studio India

4. Cuisine and Sweets

In North India, a variety of snacks and sweets are usually prepared and shared among family and friends, this includes burfi, ladoos and chaklis. Speaking of Burfi, it is a popular Indian sweet that comes in many flavours and textures, they are usually made using milk, sugar and sometimes with additional ingredients such as nuts and spices.

In South India, snacks and homemade traditional sweets are the highlights during the festival. Some of the special Diwali sweets include murukku, adhirasam and laddu. Among the sweets mentioned here, the most popular one has to be murukku, not only because of its cultural significance in India but also because of its distinctively crispy and crunchy texture and unique shape as well.

In case you're now eagerly anticipating trying out any of the snacks or sweets mentioned in this blog, be sure to check out All Things Delicious’ Deepavali Delight Gift Box! This gift box includes Murukku, the coconut burfi gift pack, cookies and more! This is the perfect gift box to get if you want to try out the snacks and sweets from both regions of India or you can also share this with your friends or family during this festive season! :)

Photo from: Getty Images

5. The Similarities

As mentioned at the start of the blog, Deepavali or Diwali both refer to the same joyous and cheerful festival celebrated by people in India and other parts of the world. Both regions also practise the tradition of exchanging gifts with friends and family as a gesture of goodwill and to strengthen relationships. Though the decorations in a south and north Indian family’s house may differ in terms of style and design, both regions will decorate their house with rangoli, flowers, lights as well as other festive decorations. Lastly, feasting with friends and family is a cherished tradition in both regions of India. Everyone gathers to share meals and savor all the delightful festive treats!"

Photo by: Monkey Business Images


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