Diwali a festival of lights. Legend has it that Lord Ram returned from his 14 years of exile to Ayodhya and the people of Ayodhya celebrated his home coming with lights and since then the day is celebrated as Diwali.
The year 2020, when finally Ram Lalla is going to get this rightful place in his birthplace Ayodhya, the Diwali would be larger then ever. But with the Covid-19 still impacting daily social life, it couldn’t be what it could have.
When we were kids, our Diwali used to start a week before and end a week after Diwali(with Chhatt). The 2 weeks, with the just the perfect weather to stay out and enjoy the onset of winter.
How I remember my Diwali:
- Starts with house clean, whitewash with limestone mixed with water and some Fevicol.
- Reel-Guns. This used to cost 10 paise per reel. and we had learnt to burst it without the guns, by just rubbing on the floor with our fingers. Sometimes also doing some innovations like tying with some sharp stones and drop it on the floor.
- Sonathi sticks. The light weight sticks which used to grow in our farm we used to pick it. Sometimes it used to work as ciggarates and sometimes to hold the Mirchi Patakha at one end in the center hold of the stick.
- JamRaja(YamRaj). A day before Diwali we used to take a procession with our friends where we used to burn an effigy of YamRaaj(The God of Death). The effigy used to made of hay and some crackers tied inside and some waste cloths to cover it up. The old cycle tyres used to come in handy to keep the fire for a longer time.
- Diwali: We used to spend our crackers(which was very limited) very miserly. If one person is burning others will wait for his crackers to lighten up then burn his. We also used to roam around to collect missed crackers, pull the firepowder from the crackers and keep in a paper, then burn when we used to have some significant amount.
- Gambling used to be another aspect of Diwali, but somehow, i never played it.
- Kali Pooja also happens on Diwali and there used to be a small fair in our village where we would go with friends and get on the TaraMaachi(Mary Go round) for a round.
- Lakshmi Pooja at Diwali night on cousin’s shop used to be another attraction of Diwali. Only sad part of it was, we never got the Pooja Laddu until the next morning.
- After Diwali, 6 days till Chhatt is a sequence of festivals. If Diwali is an occassion for cleaning the house. Chhatt was a community activity to ensure each road is clean till the way to the Pond. Those days are classic examples of how a community if is firm to keep the society clean, can easily do it. It just needs a resolve and committment from each member of society and not just depending on the government.
I have listed only some of the rituals and things we used to do in and around Diwali.
Our ancestors had designed these festivals with lot of thoughts and was also part of natural evolution. So many customs and rituals associated if you carefully observe brings would be amazed at the positivity it brings.
- Houses used to be cleaner. Annual cleaning also ensures that you get rid of all unnecessary baggage you have in house.
- Insects killed with the diyas and other fire related rituals in Diwali.
- Roads and ponds cleaner.
- Brings society closer, with more social and family bonding.