CHENNAI: It’s Deepavali in Tamil Nadu on Monday and Diwali in the rest of the states on Tuesday. Intriguing? While the festival basically celebrates the triumph of good over evil, there is a difference on what the day signifies for people of the State and for those in the rest of the country.
In Tamil Nadu, the day is observed as ‘Naraka Chaturdasi’ — the killing of demon king Narakasura by Lord Krishna’s wife Sathyabama,— which falls on October 28 this year. For others, Diwali marks the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of vanavas.
For north Indians, the day after Diwali is Annakut — New Year Day. So,merchants open new account books on Diwali. The Tamil New Year begins at a different time of the year and is in no way linked to Deepavali. So is the case in Kerala (Vishu) and in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (Ugadi).
However, Diwali commemorates Rama vanquishing Ravana. Hence, the festival has come to symbolise the triumph of good over evil also. The people of Ayodhya placed lighted lamps along the path that Rama took on his return and the tradition of lighting ‘diyas’ continues to this day.
There is yet another belief that Rama returned to his kingdom through Tamil Nadu. Hence, Deepavali is celebrated here a day ahead of north India.
Despite the differences, the similarities are galore. Be it Deepavali or Diwali, the festival is an occasion for visiting friends and relatives, exchanging gifts, preparing sweets and sharing them with others, wearing new clothes and bursting crackers.
I found this article quite informative and I guess in Malaysia we follow South India in celebrating Deepavali today.