Celebrating Deepabali in Odisha somehow differs to other regions of the country. Here, People give more priority to rituals related to Diwali. The most important ritual is ‘Bada Badua Daka, which is a special ritual to invoke the ancestors’ of the family to descend from their heavenly abode and visit the earth to bless them. As tradition, all the family members gather to celebrate this great ritual in the evening. A Rangoli is being drawn by the women of the family on the ground in front of their house, which looks like a sail boat. The sail boat uses to have seven chambers in North, ten chambers in east and twelve chambers in south direction. East chambers are meant for Gods whereas North chambers are meant for Seers and Rishis and South chambers are meant for forefathers. Chambers are filled with items like cotton, salt, mustard, asparagus root, turmeric and a wild creeper. Prasad is kept in the central chamber and a Diya of Jute stem with cloth wick is lit. Family members hold a bunch of Jute stem in their hands and lit those from the fire of Main Diya placed in central chamber. They further raise the bunch towards the sky chanting the traditional verse: Bada Badua Ho, Andharare Asa, Alua Re Jaa. Mahaprasad Khai, Baisi Pahachare Gada Gagu Thaa. The verse means, ‘Oh! Fore fathers: Come to us in this dark evening, we are lighting your way to heaven. Having Mahaprasad, please attain salvation on the 22 steps of Sri Jagannath Temple of Puri. This is the most important ritual of Diwali observed by the people of Odisha. They call the ancestors’ souls on the day and pray for their souls to find the solace.
Kali Puja is also being celebrated on the day of Diwali. Though it is not as popular as Durga Puja in Odisha, still many parts of Odisha have been celebrating. In some places, huge Kali Puja Pandals are being erected and devotees worship Maa Kali. The idols decorated with gold and silver ornaments are worshiped in Puja Mandaps. Like Durga Puja, Puja Committees use to spend a lot on Kali Puja Pandals of Cuttack. Kali Puja at Bhadrak is a special attraction for the people of the state and devotees from almost all parts of the state throng to Bhadrak to witness Kali Puja. Diwali is treated as the day for Laxmi Puja, people use to renovate decorate their houses and business places. Households draw huge Rangolis with lovely traditional designs to welcome Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. Inside the house, small footprints of Maa Laxmi are drawn also with rice flour and vermilion powder.
But, like other parts of the country, Deepabali is one of the most awaited festivals of the state. Deepabali drifts all in a festive mood even before D’day. Houses, Temples, Markets, offices and almost all buildings of the cities are decorated and lighted days’ before Diwali. As per the tradition, little Diyas are being lighted to light the houses. Clay lamps are usually filled with oil and wick and kept in rows to look good. Now days, most of the people are seen using Diyas only to maintain the tradition whereas using more and more colourful and dazzling electric lights to brighten the ambience.
Also, exchanging gifts and shopping during Deepabali has become a fashion today. Shops, selling sweets, gift items and dry fruits earn a good business during this festival time as most of the people buy dry fruits, sweets and other varieties of gifts and present to their friends, relatives and colleagues to deepen their relationship. Besides exchanging gifts, People usually love to buy items like Gold/Silver ornaments, Television Sets, Refrigerators, Washing Machines, Sofas, Kitchen Wares and many other items. This tradition of shopping and exchanging gifts create a good demand in the markets for varieties of products. Most manufacturers, suppliers and show room owners launch their products or announce schemes to attract the people. Here, the ‘Deepabali’ is not just limited to bursting of crackers and exchange of sweets and gifts, but also accompanied by Kali Puja and the ritualistic ceremony of ‘Badabadua Daka’.