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This is Prabhat Nath from Odisha. Currently I live in Hyderabad (India) and work as a Software Developer.
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Friday, October 20, 2006
Diwali - The festival of India

Diwali (also called Deepavali) is one of the biggest festival of Hindus. This is also Known as the “Festival of Lights” it symbolises the victory of good over evil. To mark this day people light diyas and candles all around their house. During the evening Lakshmi Puja is performed to seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. People also exchange Diwali Gifts with all their dear ones and burst fire crackers in the night to express their happiness.

The reason for celebrating Diwali or Deepawali (lines of earthen lamps) is the return of Lord Ram, after killing Ravan (Demon) during his exile for 14 years. The day of killing Ravan is celebrated as Dushera (19~21 days before Diwali). Celebrations focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional diyas.

Diwali is celebrated over Five Days in most of North India. All the days except Diwali are named using the designation in the Indian calendar.

Day 1: Dhanteras
Dhanteras marks the first day of five-days-long Diwali Festival. Dhanteras Festival, also known as Dhantrayodashi or Dhanwantari Triodasi, falls on the auspicious thirteenth lunar day of Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik (October/November). In the word Dhanteras, "Dhan" stands for wealth. On Dhanteras Goddess Laxmi is worshiped to provide prosperity and well being. Hence Dhan Teras holds a lot more significance for the business community.

Day 2: Choti Diwali / Narak Chaturdasi
The day before Diwali is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali / Narak Chaturdasi or 'small Diwali'. It is Diwali on a smaller scale, with fewer lights lit and fewer crackers burst. The morning after Choti Diwali, the women of the house make beautiful, colored rangoli in the doorway and courtyard. Tiny footprints made out of rice paste are a special feature of the rangolis made for Diwali.

Day 3: Lakshmi Puja on Diwali
The third day of the festival of Diwali is the most important day of Lakshmi-puja and is entirely devoted to the propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi. On this very day sun enters his second course and passes Libra which is represented by the balance or scale. Hence, this design of Libra is believed to have suggested the balancing of account books and their closing. Despite the fact that this day falls on an amavasya day it is regarded as the most auspicious.

Day 4: Govardhan Puja
Govardhan-Puja is performed in the North on this day. Govardhan is a small hillock in Braj, near Mathura and on this day of Diwali people of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar build cowdung, hillocks, decorate them with flowers and then worship them. This festival is in commemoration of the lifting of Mount Govardhan by Krishna.

Day 5: Bhai Dooj / Bhaiya Dooj
The fifth day of Deepavali or Diwali is celebrated as Bhaiya Dooj, popularly know as Bhai Dooj. The name itself denotes the day of the festival i.e it falls on Dooj, the second day after the new moon. On this day sisters perform puja for their brothers safety and well being. Brothers in return give gifts to their sisters as a token of love.

Diwali Celebration in Orissa

"Bada badua ho, andhaara re aasa, aluwa re jaa. Baaisi pahaacha re gada gadau tha."

English: "O forefathers, come to us in this dark evening, we light your way to heaven. May you attain salvation on the 22 steps of the Jagannath temple of Puri."

There's not much different about Diwali Festival Celebrations in Orissa. Rows of oil lamps, candles and lanterns adorn the thresholds of all houses. Crackers are burst, sweetmeals are relished and distributed. It could be akin to Diwali Festival anywhere else in India, save for one small ritual. It is a ritual that calls upon the spirits of the family's forefathers. Jute stems are burnt to light up the dark path that the spirits of the ancestors take back to heaven.

All the members of the household gather together just after dusk. A rangoli of a sailboat is made on the ground. The boat has seven chambers. Over the drawing of each different chamber several items are kept - cotton, mustard, salt, asparagus root, turmeric and a wild creeper. Over the central chamber are the offerings meant for prasad. Perched over the prasad is a jute stem with a cloth wick tied around the edge. It is lit at the beginning of the puja. All members of the family hold a bundle of jute stems in their hands. Lighting their respective bundles from the flame on the rangoli, they raise them skywards chanting:

"Bada badua ho,
andhaara re aasa,
aluwa re jaa.
Baaisi pahaacha re gada gadau tha."

Beside the rangoli, a mortar and pestle and a plough are also kept and worshiped. After the puja and offerings, the family celebrates Diwali festival by bursting crackers. As in other regions, most people prefer to celebrate it in their own homes, though family gatherings are also common. For Diwali houses are brightly lit, with the doors and windows kept open as Lakshmi is supposed to visit every home, and you can't afford to leave it dark and abandoned.
!!! Wish you all a Happy Deepavali !!!

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posted by Name: Prabhat Nath @ 9:30 PM  
1 Comments:
  • At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Prabhat said…

    Hi, This is Prabhat! I have posted this topic in my 1st Blog Rediff iLand: http://prabhatnath.rediffiland.com.

     
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