The happiness is in the air, you can feel it, it is infectious. The evenings are mildly cold and everything is lit up. Your friends who stay out of Jaipur are visiting, the holidays from work and college are close and you have endless reasons to go out every day. Above all this, it is the time for lots of family time! Isn’t this the time of the year that we really wait for?
For people our age, somewhere along this celebrating-it-our-way spirit and despite the family poojas we have forgotten to check what does each of these days mean in the most mythological sense. How many of us know the wheres of the origin of the mythological names, the whys of the rituals associated with each of these? Let’s change that from here and know each of these days a little more ritually!
Dhanteras or Dhanatrayodashi marks the beginning of the three days festival celebrations. And celebrations that don’t need a day go on much longer than just Diwali. Literally speaking, Dhanteras translates to Dhan meaning wealth and Teras meaning 13th day as per Hindu calendar. Since the purchase of metals is considered auspicious on this day, we see utensils, electronic items and silver being purchased for our homes. As we make trips to the market for these purchases, Jaipur is glowing and the brightness is at its peak.
Time we light up our home, in fact every corner of it, with those traditional diyas and aroma candles too for the aesthetics these days. It is Naraka Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas, known to us as Choti Diwali. Kali (dark) Chaudas is celebrated on the 14th day of the dark half of Hindi Āshwin month to worship Mahakali or Shakti as on this day Kali killed the wicked Narakasura. On this day, we try to sprinkle colours in a floral pattern, so as to form a beautiful rangoli at the entrance of the house.
When out of the house, everybody seems to be at the sweet shop or at the jeweller’s. It is surely keeping the confectioners and the jewellers busy as a bee and happy as a clam! For those of us on the consumption end of sweets, it does not get more sugary at any other point in time. If one is counting calories, there are even diet mithais in the market. Get those for yourself or don’t get on that weighing machine.
Now comes the grand welcome of the most important festival in the country, Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights. We have read all about it through the school textbooks; the return of lord Rama after 14 years of exile. To welcome his return, diyas (ghee lamps) are lit in total of fourteen. No matter how many clothes we have, new clothes to wear for the day are one of the best part of the festival.
The Laxmi pooja with the family and the cracker bursting competition with cousins give memories worth cherishing for a long time. Some pictures should be clicked so that we do not rely on our memories completely.
But did we know that Diwali is an official holiday even in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji? So forget your worries, actually leave them to the happy breeze blowing and make the best of the year left.