Surprisingly this week went by faster than I thought it would. Work-wise, it’s still the same. I don’t have enough work to fill the eight hours at work. The day I have something to occupy my time for atleast half the day, I am happy! I’ve realized it’s far more difficult to pretend to be busy and do work than to actually do something….
Tomorrow is Diwali, the festival of lights and probably the most important festival in the Hindu calendar for the year. I’ve been busy preparing sweets and savories and have over-extended myself this year. Hopefully by the end of the day, I actually finish making all that I have planned for…
Beofre the festival, people clean and if possible, renovate and decorate their homes. The festival is celebrated slightly differently in North and South India. What’s common is the creation of beautiful rangolis or patterns made from coloured flour outside homes and decorated with lamps. The lamps are kept lit throughout the night so as to invite Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth into your home. People also wear new clothes across the country on Diwali and burst fire crackers outside.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated as the day Lord Krishna defeated the evil demon Nakasura and is called Naraka Chaturthi. Here, traditionally, especially in Tamil Brahmin homes, if the festival falls on a new moon, everyone wakes up super early and the lady of the house first takes a bath and lights the lamp. Then one by one, family members come and sit in front of the lamp where the lady of the house will put some gingelly oil which has been prepared the previous evening on them. They then have a bath and come and prostate before the Lord, after which they get their new clothes. Before they start the feating which is typical of the festival, they are also given a medicinal legiyam which sort of helps digest all the fried food and sweets which you eat throughout the day.
In North India, the festival is celebrated as the day Lord Rama, from the epic, Ramayana was welcomed back home to Ayodhya in present day Uttar Pradesh along with his wife Goddess Sita and brother Lord Lakshmana after a 14 year exile. Lamps are lit to welcome the trio. Prayers are also said to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in the evening of Diwali.
Certain communities also welcome their new year on the last day of the celebrations.