How I celebrate Diwali - Raghav

Diwali is one of the biggest festival of Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India. Especially Diwali is the festival of children. Children are very much delighted to celebrate Diwali. Diwali, a diminutive form of Deepavali, etymologically means a row of lights ('Deep'- light and 'Avali'-a row). Hence it is festival of lights.

Normally the festival is celebrated for three days in Andhra Pradesh. The first day is called as Naraka Chaturdhi. Then comes the actual festival called Deepavali. The next day is called Bali Padyami. Deepavali festival is celebrated by not only Hindus but also other religion people in Andhra pradesh.


On the first day i.e. Naraka Chaturdhi, we wake up before sunrise prepare blood by mixing Kumkum in oil, apply the kumkum on fore head. It is one time in the whole year that children volunteer to leave their beds long before the day begins. Then we apply oil to the head and the total bath. Then we take bath (Abhyangana Snana). After taking bath, each of our family members eat sweets and then wear new clothes. Pray god and light up one cracker in front of god and then the children and elders start firing crackers. Deepavali celebrations starts on this day and continue till the third day. Children will keep on firing dizzling crackers like flower pots, bombs, and other different colourful varieties of fireworks till they get tired. We light up Diyas and candles in front of our houses and do this work for one full month ( Karthika maasa).

During the day time, we make a trip to the local temple (either Shiva Temple, or Local goddess chengalamma temple) and offer our prayers. Even during the day time also, children light up scented sticks(agarbathis), and keep on firing bombs like atom bombs, hydrogen bombs and rockets. etc.

In the afternoon, Special lunch with different varieties of food are made and all family members enjoy a great lunch with mix of sweets, Pulihora, Payasam, Lemon rice, Rasam, Papad, etc.

As far as the crackers are concerned, we pay monthly instalments to the person who collects the money and goes to Shivakasi for purchase crackers for all those who paid money. The total amount of monthly instalments becomes a huge amount after a year, and the children wait for the crackers to arrive at least one week before the actual festival.

Children compete among themselves about who will wake up first and light the first cracker. The child who lights up the first cracker will fire a bomb so that every one wakes up due to the sound it generates.

The night sky gets illuminated with fire crackers is an expression of obeisence to the heavenly for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and fame. Chiildren and elders fire crackers and enjoy the evening times.

The second day is the Deepavali Day. This day also we take oil bath similar to the day before. Waking up at 3.00 AM taking bath, after that we wear new clothes, pray god and then start firing the crackers. On Deepavali day the number of crackers fired by chidren will be more. Normally the chidren in our house keep all the crackers for today. Lots of crackers are fired today. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects, found in plenty after the rains.

Lakshmi pooja is celebrated on Deepavali day. We pray to goddess Lakshmi to give us health an wealth. Once the breakfast is completed at around 8.30 or 9.00 AM, children will once again start bursting the crackers. Parents invite their daughters and Sons-in-law on Deepavali day and offer them with new clothes. This is the tradition in Andhra Pradesh. People involved in business perform Lakshmi Pooja in their shops. As usual in the evenings also Children fire the crackers and enjoy.

The third day is called as Bali Padyami. Bali Padyami is dedicated to Bali who was the lord of the underworld. In one of Lord Vishnu’s incarnations namely Vamana, he is believed to have crushed Bali to death. On Bali's request this day is dedicated to him. People burst crackers and celebrate in the name of Bali on this day in Andhra Pradesh. On Balipadyami farmers decorate their cattle, and worship them. This puja is known as Gowramma Puja.


Holidays are given to school children for all these three days in andhra pradesh state. New movies are released in Andhra Pradesh during Deepavali festival. We do not watch the new movies immediately. We will wait for the reviews after some one sees the movie. If a movie is found to be good, then we will watch the movie may be after a week or so.

The festival of lights - Diwali is undoubtedly the most widely celebrated festival in India and is full of messages depicting various aspects of human life, relationships and time honored traditions.

I hope other members will also share their views about Diwali Festival.

Raghav


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