Budi Diwali is an important festival celebrated in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and is the main feature of Jyotiparva festival. Budhi Diwali is celebrated exactly 15 days after Diwali.
When is it celebrated?
There are slight variations in the days in which Budi Diwali is celebrated across the regions of Uttarakhand. In Garhwal region, Budi Diwali is celebrated on the first Amavasya (new moon) after Diwali is known as the Kartik Krishna Amavasya. Kartik Krishna Amavasya falls around one month after Diwali.
Several areas of the Garhwal region like Rawai-Jaunpur, Budakedar, Dharasu, Dunda, Uttarkashi, Barkot, and Semmukhim. In Jaunsar-Bawar region too, the festival of lights, regionally known as “Diyai” is celebrated a month after Diwali on Margashirsha Amavasya. Budi Diwali begins with the beginning of Kartik Krishna Amavasya.
For several decades, in Kumaon region, Budhi Diwali was celebrated on the full moon day of Kartik month in Gananath and Pithnath.
How is it celebrated?
The Garhwal region celebrates Budi Diwali by burning the twigs of Deodar trees and rotating it like fireworks/fuljhadi crackers. In Jaunsar-Bawar region, kids collect and tie grasses and plants and light them up while singing and dancing in folk songs. The ladies plant seeds 7, 9, and 11 days prior to Budi Diwali and beat rice to make ‘chiura’. The main night of Budi Diwali is celebrated on the night of the New Moon (Amavasya) and is known as ‘Diyai ka baraaj’. On this day, the sown plant which is known as ‘Dibsa’ is placed and offered in a flaming torch. Along with Dibsa, chiura and plants are offered in the flames.
People gather around (pandav chauri) and sing and dance in their traditional songs. They collect the walnut seeds offered and happily take them home as prasad. Another interesting take on the festival states that the tribal Tharu people of Udhamsingh Nagar do not celebrate Diwali as it is considered inauspicious. On this day, the Tharu people pray and remember their ancestors and give their offerings.