Diwali or Deepawali, the festival of lights is celebrated
with vigor and enthusiasm all over India. it is celebrated in the
neighbour countries also. Deepavali is a government holiday. All public
and private organizations (small or big) close in the evening and the following
morning. "Deepawali" literally means a series of lights
(from a wick lit with fire). The wicks are made of cotton or cloth dipped
in oil in a small earthen shallow cup).
Deepawali is the festival celebrated in the evening. It is a
festival for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and for all living in India. The
president and the prime minister address Indians in India and abroad and give
them their wishes of prosperity. The message is that Deewali is a day of
victory of good over evil.
What ever the reason behind it be, all people celebrate with
a lot of enthusiasm. Newly married couples visit their in-laws. Children
and adults alike, all fire crackers for hours in the evening after its
dark. People spend of a lot of money on new clothes and on gift
articles. They clean houses and decorate them. People clean their
houses and then perform pooja over their vehicles and almirahs where they
keep money. Businessmen perform special poojas and prayers to Goddess
Lakshmi Devi. Many families cook a lot of sweets and other edibles at
home for their children. Children often celebrate it at their grand
parents' during this day. Many organization distribute sweets to their
employees. Some organizations pay some part of the annual bonus to their
employees on the occasion.
Making of crackers is a big industry with a big
annual turnover. The prices of crackers have soared in the last
decade. Hindus in different regions have different reasons for the
celebration. In the South of India people celebrate Deepawali on the day
of new moon (Amavasya). It is the next day after Naraka Chaturdasi,
when Satyabhama, wife of Lord Krishna (an incarnation of God Vishnu)
killed Narakasura. Narakasura was a daemon who had imprisoned many women
and sages. Narakasura was born to God Vishnu and Goddess Earth during his
Hindus in the North celebrate it as the victory of Rama over
Raavana and for his home coming along with Sita and Lakshmana. Merchants
celebrate it and perform Puja of Goddess of money, Lakshmi, as it is the day
when Lakshmi Devi chose God Vishnu as her husband and married him. Jains
celebrate because their guru and god and Mahavir attained moksha.
Sikhs celebrate because their sixth guru Gurgobing Singh was liberated from
The actual mythological history, set aside, people greet each
other. They enjoy it as an occasion to gather their wit, humour, strength
and lost hope. People burn their sorrow and gloom.
There is an important side effect of Deewali. It
causes some environmental pollution due to emission of hot chemical gases into
the air. On the other hand, a lot of mosquitoes and insects in the
surrounding area get killed due to the pungent smell from the smoke from fire
crackers. There is a movement among learned people who call for peaceful
celebration of the festival with minimum amount of crackers and with a lot of
lights. After all, a festival is meant for bringing joy and prosperity to
the children and adults all alike.