By Team Mangalorean – Mangalore
Get ready! Deepavali, the festival of lights has finally arrived and we welcome it with open arms. The festival spread over three to five days is all about appeasing Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in order to usher in prosperity.
You have so many things to do but little time to execute them. It is time get your house painted, buy new clothes, jewellery, gifts, crackers, sweets and also time to clean your house. The festival also provides opportunity to rejuvenate yourself. According to some, it is also the time to clean your heart and mind too.
Asweyuja Bahula Trayodasi marks the beginning of Deepavali. On this day, people pray to Kubera, the lord of wealth. Money is not only important to lead a peaceful life but also a confident life.
During Deepavali, newly weds visit the bride’s parental home for celebrations. The parents-in-law take all care and pamper the son-in-law. The son-in-law too showers his love on his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law with gifts and crackers. Overall, it is a happy occasion for the entire family. It also provides an opportunity to exchange gifts, home-made sweets and burst crackers together.
Interesting rituals and traditions are associated with the festival of lights. The celebrations vary from region to region. People from north of Vindhyas, indulge in gambling during Deepavali. It is accorded social sanction during festival otherwise considered as a vice. Many play cards and some indulge in gambling throughout the Deepavali night. It is believed that those who gamble during the festival would remain prosperous during the whole year. It is also said that those who do not gamble on this day will be born as a donkey in his next janma.
Lighting of earthen lamps and arranging them in and around the house is a longtime practice during the festival. It is believed that darkness signifies ignorance and light is the symbol of knowledge. Lamps are lit to drive away ignorance and also to usher in peace.
In Karnataka, Deepavali is celebrated for three days. Naraka Chathurdashi is celebrated on the first day followed by Lakshmi Puja and Bali Padyami. On the eve of Naraka Chathurdashi, "Neeru Thumbo Habba" is celebrated. The family members clean the entire house and women take care that the utensils are cleansed bright and shining. These utensils will be filled with water. A pooja is performed to utensils used for bathing and women apply "arishina" and "kumkuma" to them.
The entire family enjoys oil bath before sunrise on Naraka Chathurdashi and for the young family members it is time to burst crackers. According to mythology, Lord Krishna destroyed the demon king Narakasurs on Naraka Chathurdashi. The ruler of Pragjothispura, Narakasura terrorised his subjects especially women. Legend has it that Lord Brahma granted a boon to Narakasura that he would die only at the hands of women. Armed with the boon, Narakasura committed many crimes.
It is said that to free the world from Narakasura’s tyranny, Lord Krishna helped his wife Satyabhama to kill him. People celebrate Naraka Chathurdashi by bursting crackers, exchanging sweets made at home with others and lighting lamps.
Lakshmi Puja falls on Amavasya and the day is entirely devoted to worshipping the Goddess of wealth. Lakshmi Kalasha (a coconut is placed on a silver vessel with flowers, water and coins) is installed in the puja room and prayers are offered to invoke the blessings of the deity. Devotional songs are sung in praise of the Goddess. On Bali Padyami day, which falls on new moon day when the month of Ashwin makes way for the month of Karthik, prayers are offered to Bali made out of cow dung. The entire house is decorated on Bali Padyami. In the evening, earthen lamps are lit and will be in and around the house. All the family members burst crackers and that probably marks the end of Deepavali celebrations.