The festival of lights is celebrated with the worship of deities specially Laxmi and Ganesha who shower their followers with wealth, prosperity and health. For the Bengalis, it is the time to celebrate Kali Puja- the divine mother goddess bestowing good over evil.
- Ganesha Puja:
Traditionally, Lord Ganesha is worshipped before any gods or goddesses. During Diwali, Ganesha shares the same alter with goddess Laxmi on his left. It is believed that worshipping Lord Ganesha brings wisdom and his devotee doesn't face any obstruction on the way of attaining wealth and prosperity. During the puja, people chant Sanskrit slokas to please both deities and offer them home made food. The fragrance of the incense sticks with flowers and diyas create a divine ambience in every household.
- Laxmi Puja:
According to the Hindu mythology, Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, light, beauty and prosperity. She is depicted as the daughter of Bhrigu, a sage who took refuge in the ocean when the gods and goddesses were sent into exile. During the "samudra manthan" (churning of ocean) she was reborn and her beauty enchanted everyone. Later, she was married to Vishnu.
Laxmi puja is also known as "chopada puja". An important tradition is gambling prevalent mostly in the Northern India. As per the legends, it is said that during this day goddess Parvati plays dice with her husband Lord Shiva. And Shiva said that whoever will play dice that is gamble on the eve of Laxmi Puja, he will be showered with prosperity for the entire year.
- Kali Puja:
Goddess Kali is worshipped on this day and in the Eastern Part of India, Diwali is also known as Kali Puja. The goddess is depicted as standing on Lord Shiva's chest with her tongue stuck out. She holds a severed head in one hand and an edge tool on the other hand a garland of skulls hang around her neck. People worship her for the destruction of evil. She is the darker side of Maa Durga, the embodiment of Shakti.
According to the legends, it is said the demon Raktaveeja received a boon that he will remain immortal and with each drop of his blood several other demons like him will be produced. As his brutal power started engulfing the whole universe goddess Durga took Kali avatar. She then killed the demon and started drinking Raktaveeja's blood before it fell on the ground. The killing spree of Kali was so intense that even after killing the demons she continued her thirst for blood killing everything that came on her way. To stop her, Shiva threw himself on her feet which made goddess Kali to regain her conscious.
Since then, people celebrate Kali Puja with crackers, lamps, sacrifices and chanting hymns for her blessings.