Diwali is to Hindus what Christmas is to Christians and Eid is to Muslims. It is also perhaps the only festival celebrated by Hindus of all communities across India and abroad.
Diwali falls in the latter half of the year, usually between mid-October to mid-November. On this day we pray to Goddess Laxmi, the symbol of prosperity, to bless us with wealth and all good things.
While different communities have their own version of the story behind Diwali a common thread runs through each, heralding this Festival of Lights as a victory of good over evil.
I grew up hearing Mom narrate the story of Lord Ram returning home after spending 14 years in exile and killing Ravan. Since the day he returned was Amavasya – the night of the new moon- it was pitch dark, so the villagers lit up his path and the entire village with thousands of oil lamps or Deep as we call them. Ever since that day came to be celebrated as Deepavali or Diwali. Since then we celebrate Diwali each year to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and light Deep or Diyas to dispel darkness, literally and metaphorically.
Diwali is also about food, clothes and celebrations.
As a child I remember Gujias, Sattu ke Laddoo, Mohanthal, Namkeen Puri, Chaklis and Chivda being cooked in humungous quantities a few days before Diwali. Mum was, and still is, very particular about sending out only home made sweets and savouries to near and dear ones. No store bought stuff for her.
So a few days before Diwali saw Mum, my Aunts and the house-helps sit together and start the preparations. Oh what a day it used to be! Laughter, lots of talk, various delicious fragrances wafting in the air and clever hands mixing, shaping and frying away.
As children we could help, and were the official tasters. ‘Is it sweet enough?’ , ‘Is the salt right?’, ‘Is it fried right?’ we had a dozen pairs of expectant eyes zoomed in on us and like the judges of Masterchef. After we delivered our verdict there were sighs of relief all around. Yes, everything tasted perfect, always.
The excitement of shopping for clothes and the impatient wait for Diwali day to arrive so that we could wear our new clothes. The all day celebrations with crackers and sweets surrounded by loved ones. The memories we created in the days of festivities that lasted us an entire year, till Diwali came around again.
As I grow older I seem to think that the spark of Diwali seems to have dimmed. This festival of Lights seems to come and go, almost like any other day. Why is that I wonder? Has life got too busy? Special occasions are no longer a priority or are we getting too jaded?
Let us celebrate to keep the significance of these festivals alive and pass them onto the next generation.Festivals are memory markers. Click To Tweet
They help us trace our footprints left behind, so that we can find our way ahead. For isn’t it important to know where you came from, to know where to go?
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