09 November, 2015

Deepavali Celebration - A festival of lights

Deepavali (in Telugu) or Diwali means an array of lights. I am very fond of this festival as it is awesome to see every household with lighted diyas in different patterns to decorate their houses to welcome Goddess Lakshmi.

 There are a few festivals in Telugu household which are very joyful than others. Vinayaka Chavithi, Ugadhi and Deepavali are some of them. Deepavali is celebrated on a no moon day. We pray Goddess Lakshmi in the evening and arrange the diyas made with clay and light them with seesame oil. We usually prepare flower rangolis and decorate with diyas. Sharing some of my old photos of Diwali.

This festival is actually for 3 days. The first day is called 'Naraka Chaturdhasi', which we celebrate by taking the head bath, wearing a new dress, performing pooja and offering prasadam to God. We celebrate the second day(on No moon day) by lighting diyas and bursting crackers. The third day is called 'Balipadyami'.

Why it's celebrated:
Narakasura used to create unhappiness among people and used to abduct beautiful young women and force them to live with him. 'Naraka Chathurdasi' marks the day when Lord Krishna's beloved wife 'Satyabhama' defeated this evil king 'Narakasura' in a war and came victorious. So, people celebrate the defeat of Narakasura as a win of Good over evil.

There was also a story that people celebrated Diwali as Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravana.

We perform pooja to Goddess Lakshmi on the second day(No Moon day). Businessmen usually start their account books on this day.

Bali was a generous ruler and when all Gods requested Lord Vishnu to test his power, Vishnu incarnated as a dwarf 'Vamana' and asked Bali to give the space that his 3 strides can occupy. Vishnu kept one foot covering complete Earth, another stride covering the Sky and asked Bali where can he place his third stride as there is no space left in this world. King Bali stood on his word and realizing that the dwarf is none other than Lord Vishnu, asked him to keep the foot on his head. Lord Vishnu appreciated Bali's kindness and blessed him that everyone will remember his greatness on 'Bali Padyami'.

Celebrations are not complete without sweets :-) We prepare 'Payasam' and Gulab jamoon on Diwali day and gift sweets, dry fruits to friends and relatives when we visit their place.

Why Crackers:
These days, many want to avoid crackers to reduce air pollution, but this was a tradition started many years ago. Crackers denote celebration, prosperity, and happiness. Ayodhya has celebrated Diwali with crackers on the return of King Ram to the Kingdom after 14 years. Fumes coming out of crackers will kill a lot of mosquitoes and insects too, which might have increased after the rainy season. If we love tradition and want to respect the mother nature, we can burst sparklers, flower pots and ground wheels alone, instead of bombs and others which increase noise and air pollution.

On the eve of Diwali, I wish everyone a healthy, wealthy and prosperous time. Happy Diwali to one and all :-)

Happy to co-host Monday musings with Corinne from Everyday Gyan and WriteTribe.

Until next time,

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