KARNATAKA: We Indians look forward to celebrate festivals. Deepavali, the festival of lights is just round the corner and it is that time of the year again to usher in prosperity by appeasing Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.
Family members plan things in advance as the festival approaches. With companies offering discounts and bargains, splurging money on shopping is the main agenda. The festival gives you a chance not only to clean your house but also your heart and soul. It is also time to get your house painted, buy new clothes, jewellery, gifts, sweets and crackers.
Asweyuja Bahula Trayodasi marks the beginning of Deepavali. On this day, people pray to Kubera, the Lord of wealth.
The festival is special for the newly weds as well. During Deepavali, they visit the bride’s parental home for celebrations.
The parents-in-law take all care and pamper the sons-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 the festival otherwise considered as 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 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 a 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 the 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 Narakasura, on Naraka Chathurdashi. The ruler of Pragjothishpura, Naraksura terrorised his subjects especially women. Legend has it that Lord Brahma granted a boon to Narakasura that he would die only in 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.
Laksmi 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. Together, all the family members burst crackers and that probably marks the end of Deepavali celebrations.