Festivals are the symbol of warmth, joy and above all unity. It is religion that makes a man more loving, humane and sociable. Festivals are associated with religion and are a basically celebrated, to commemorate a special occasion. These are pious occasions, for religious ceremonies and merry making. India, a country with unity in diversity cannot neglect the numerous amounts of festivals that our celebrated with utmost zeal and enthusiasm.
Festivals are the occasions which add color to the life of each Indian. The Indian streets are always filled with the flavor of Indian festivals may it be Rakhi, Eid, Durga puja,Holi,Vaisakhi, Christmas,Diwali,etc. The way each festival is celebrated in our country with unity cannot be compared. Talking about Diwali, the most awaited festival of India. The preparation begins as soon as the Navratri starts. Diwali falls each year in the month of October or November when the temperatures start to rise. With the start of the Navratri, the festive vigor enters the atmosphere. The shopkeepers start selling buntings, lights and all other necessary things for various religious purposes. The arrival of the festival called Dusshera marks that there are only 20 days left for Diwali. Dusshera is a sacred Hindu festival which symbolizes the triumph of good over evil as Lord Rama killed Ravana on this day who had abducted his wife, Sita.
Further, the significance of Diwali can be connected to our Indian history, the epic- Ramayana. Diwali is celebrated as Lord Rama returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya after completing 14 years of exile also, defeating the Ravana. People of Ayodhya had illuminated their homes and pathways to welcome their Lord with great enthusiasm. In addition, the Sikhs celebrate Diwali to commemorate the release of their 6th Guru, Sri Hargobind Ji, from the Gwalior jail by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.
Following the traditions, markets are decorated with lights just like a bride to give it a marvelous festive look and they are filled with big rush specially the sweet shops. The children are given holidays to enjoy the festivities of five days: Dhanteras, Choti Deepawali, Deepawali, Govardhan puja, Bhai Duj.This is the reason for calling the months of October and November as festive seasons. People exchange gifts to spread happiness and strengthen their bond. People decorate their houses with colorful rangolis of flowers and colors. The fragrance of fresh flowers gets filled in each room; also the houses are cleaned and whitewashed some days prior to Diwali. Every house is filled with the fragrance of Indian delicacies of Jalebi, Kheel Batasha, shankarpale, gulgule, etc. making it a festival of flavors. People start using the new items which they purchase during the unmatched Diwali sales. It is the time when all the necessities are purchased at affordable rates. The roads as a result are jammed as everyone loves to shop during these days. Everyone wears new, traditional Indian clothes to remain in close bonds with Indian tradition. On this day, we pray for happiness, wealth and health for ourselves as well as for our loved ones from God Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi. The prayers fill the air with positivity. After the sunset, the houses are illuminated with the lights, earthen diyas and wax candles. The surroundings are illuminated by the firecrackers and their sound adds to the vigor.
However, as the awareness about environmental pollution is increasing the people are banning firecrackers; as a result the pollution levels have gone down making the surroundings pollution free to an extent. The concept of eco-friendly Diwali is now being considered by most of the people as they have become considerate towards the environment. People also, pay visit to old-age homes, orphanages and try to spread happiness amongst them. As they believe that every Indian has the rights to celebrate Diwali in the best possible way they can. The NGOs set up stalls of candles, handicrafts and diyas so that the revenue from the sale could help in making difference in someone’s life.
Deepawali, the festival of lights, colors, flavors binds each individual as an Indian. The festival marks happiness, prosperity, health as well as wealth in the lives of everyone. It is a symbol of light over darkness along with good over evil. Each Indian waits for this festival with the motive of forgiving the faults and spreading brotherhood. During this time, India as a country is filled with the festivities, breaking all the walls of discrimination. At the end, India, as a country wins in spreading smiles throughout.
By Arshia Sood, Ludhiana(PUNJAB)