AN INDIAN FESTIVAL
India is a land of feasts, fair and festivals. Many festivals are celebrated in India every now and then. Children dress up in their best and women make elaborate preparations to celebrate the occasion. People make the best use of these occasions to relax and give themselves a carefree day.
The most important festivals are Dewali, Dusshera, Holi and Raksha Bandhan. Dewali in fact, is the most important of all festivals. The word Dewali is from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepawali’ meaning a row of light. It is celebrated with great pomp and show throughout the country. The houses, shops and streets glitter with multi-coloured lights.
For Dewali the preparations are made long in advance. A couple of months before the Dewali there is a great demand for painter and white washers, because everybody wants to have his house and office whitewashed and painted before the Dewali festival. Dewali is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartik and it comes twenty days after the celebrations of Dusshera. The weather is pleasant at this time neither too hot nor too cold.
Dewali signifies the triumphant return of Lord Rama to his kingdom capital Ayodhya after killing the nefarious king Ravan of Lanka who had kidnapped Sita and humiliated her. Dusshera signifies the killing of Ravan and the end of his evil empire. Dewali is a celebration of Rama’s victory by his own people.
People express their joy for the victory of Rama over Ravana by illuminating their houses and shops. Every house and shop is beautifully decorated. In the evening there is a great hustle and bustle in the illuminated markets. The blaze of lights converts night into day. The electric bulbs and earthen lamps seem to shine brightly like stars. The greatest rush is on the shops of sweets and these are dazzling with multi coloured lights to attract customers. These shopkeepers make the maximum money in these days. Sweets are gifts and exchanged among friends and relatives.
Besides, there is also a great rush in the shops of textiles, utensils and toys. People regard it auspicious to buy new clothes and utensils on the occasion of Dewali. Children are interested in sweets, toys and crackers. The crackers explode throughout the night and every city looks like a war zone. There is a great demand for fireworks and candles. Sometimes fire breaks out and much damage is done to life and property. For the last few years efforts are being made to discourage the children to play with crackers and this has borne good fruit. There are less fire cases as compared to the previous years.
People worship Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, in their houses. They believe goddess Laxmi visits every house at night and showers wealth on the people. People often thieves enter and take away what they find easily. Thieves come more often to take than does the goddess Laxmi to give her devotees. There is another evil associated with it. Some people gamble on this occasion and suffer heavy losses. Thus they ruin themselves. This practice too should be discouraged.