India is a country of fairs, festivals and celebrations, There is no season in India without its particular festivals and festivities. They make life enjoyable and colourful by breaking the drudgery and monetary or routine life. Dipawali or Diwali is a major Indian festival observed with much enthusiasm, gay abandon and good preparation. It comes every year after rainy season in the Hindu month of Kartika (October - November). During this age-old festival there is festivity everywhere and people enjoy to their hearts’ content. The festivity is all pervasive and all the communities take an active part in the celebration.
During Diwali, days houses, shops and establishments are thoroughly cleaned, white-washed and repaired and then tastefully decorated. All over the cities, towns and villages there are meals and fairs and special shops are set up to sell sweets, fire crackers, lamps, pots and pans, fruits, flowers, toys, gift items etc. People are on a buying spree and purchase a lot of things including sweets, jewelery, new clothes and costly gifts. The bazzars and fairs are overcrowded and the businessman have excellent sales and profits.
It is an occasion of merry-making, exchange of sweets, gifts, greetings, good-wishes and for asking forgiveness from one another. At night earthen lamps are lit, fire-crackers burnt and visits are paid to friends and relatives. The exchange of pleasantries, gifts and sweets etc. give the much needed relief from the tensions, worries and routine of daily life. But gradually the earthen lamps are being replaced by candles and electric lights. This has affected the potter badly and his income has dwindled. The festival reminds us of Lord Rama's triumphant return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana of Lanka. On this day Rama was crowned as king of Ayodhya and celebrations were held on a large scale. And every nook and corner was lighted with lamps at night. During night Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped and her blessings sought. The businessmen close their old accounts and open new books on this auspicious day. The Jains celebrate it because Mahavir, the 24th Tirthankara obtained Nirvana on this day.
The festival is being increasingly used to give expensive gifts by the contractors, businessmen, powerbrokers etc. , to the politicians, bureaucrates, and officers to seek their illegal favour in near future. This is a very corrupt practice being indulged in. Gifts worth crores rupees are showered with a definite purpose of getting undue favours, sanction etc. drinking and gambling are other evils associated with the festival. People indulge in drinking and create scenes. Many people play cards and gamble. The stakes are very high and bids placed amount to lakhs of rupees. Thus, black and illgotten money is freely used which in its turn gives rise to many other evils and vices. Many people get burnt or injured in exploding firecrackers and some of them even lose their life.
Diwali is also an occasion for charity. People get up quite early in the morning and visit temples after bath. And then they give food, money, clothes etc. , to the poor and the needy as alms. According to a legend on this day Bali, the son of Virochana, kept a prisoner in the seventh world by Vasudeva, is related and allowed to go out in the world and visit his subjects and devotees. On the Second day after Diwali is celebrated Yama-duitiya and Yama, the god of death is worshipped alongwith the river Yamuna, his sister. The writing material, like pen, inkpot, account books etc. are also worshipped on this day. Brothers visit their sisters on this occasion and give them gifts and money.
Diwali is also the occasion of rangoli which symbolizes cheer, prosperity, health and wealth. Rangoli are beautiful designs and patterns created on the floor. They are filled with different colours prepared with rice or wheat flour and other materials. Rangoli is called by different names in different regions. For example, it is known as mandna in Rajasthan, aplana in Bengal, rangavali in Maharashtra, rangoli in South India and Santhia in Gujarat.
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