17-10-2017 12:00 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
A few lesser known facts of celebrating the festival
Diwali - the festival of lights is celebrated all over the country.In North Indian traditions of Diwali, it is celebrated to honour the victory of Lord Rama over King Ravana and his return back home after an exile of 14 years. In South Indian traditions of Diwali, it marks the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura. In the eastern states, especially in West Bengal, on this day the furious Goddess Kali defeated the demon Bakasura.
Diwali is around the corner and one can sense the excitement of decorating the house, preparing sweets, bursting crackers and meeting friends and relatives. There is more to the festival as people have been following age-old traditions during the festival.
One such tradition is the Narakchaturdashi and crushing of the Karit fruit. This tradition is prevalent in certain parts of Maharashtra. The crushing of Karit fruit is a symbol of killing Narkasur( the embodiment of evil) and removing ignorance. On this day, people wake up early and take a holy bath before sunrise. There is a folklore that anyone who wakes up late on this day travels to hell.
A fast is observed on ‘Rama Ekadashi’ a day prior to Diwali, but for many, this day marks the beginning of the festival. People follow the tradition of lighting an oil lamp which burns till the last day of Diwali.The festival is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi who is also referred to as Deepalakshmi. The day is marked by praying to the Goddess and fasting. During the fast, people consume only fruits. The scientific idea behind this is to prepare the body for the feast that is to follow on the remaining days.
Since ancient times, the traditions that promote socialization has also been followed. Balipratipada and Bhaubeej (Bhaidooj) are some such traditions. While one day is dedicated to the relation of husband and wife (Balipratipada or Padva), Bhaubeej strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters. This day translates to family visits and get togethers. It is that time of the festival when hearts fill up with joy on meeting loved ones.
In UP. traditionally young boys enact the characters of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Shatrughan and Bharat. These boys are trained by the liladhari, the leader of the troupe. These are zestfully celebrated with song, dance, and merriment.
In Gujarat, beautiful designs - usually depicting nature or the gods - from natural powder colors are made in verandas. These are called "rangoli" and are supposed to welcome Goddess Lakshmi to the house. In a way, they are a means of competition and pride amongst their creators. Also, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses.
In Rajasthan, even the streets and marketplaces are lit up during Diwali casting a spell of enchantment, luster and joy over the city like a warm blanket. As if that is not enough, there are even competitions held for the best-decorated marketplaces, adding to the enthusiasm of the festival.
Although different traditions are followed in different parts of the country, one just cannot escape the joy, enthusiasm and warmth that this festival of light radiates.