Amidst the hype over Deepavali, Hyderabad brings out the true essence of the festival of lights, finds Uma Pranathi Narayan
Deepavali goes beyond the cliché of being just the festival of lights. It stands for tradition, celebration and grandeur. On one side it is the representation of strength and victory and on the other it brings about nostalgia, especially memories of childhood. The true meaning of its festivity lies in being with family, friends, relatives and friendly neighbours.
The reasons for celebrating this festival are many, and could mean different things to people of different faiths, but the symbolism is is one — the eternal triumph of good over evil.
The anatomy of the festival is simple. You prepare your home by reducing clutter, sprucing up homes to look festive. Traditions believe that this is the way to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, thereby ushering in prosperity and auspicious tidings. This also depicts the discarding and shedding of negativity. Some communities also believe in buying something new; it can be anything- a new utensil or piece of new jewellery. This marks a fresh start.
Thresholds and doors are beautified in the mornings with marigold, and in evenings with golden glow of diyas (oiled earthen lamps). Elaborate rangoli is especially made with flowers in the shape of diyas.
“I remember celebrating Deepavali in the cellar of my apartment. All my neighbours and children gather together to burn crackers, mothers making sure children are safe, fathers playing the brave ones and youngsters chitchatting. We loved sharing our crackers with our watchman’s children and all of us celebrated as one big family,” says Vaishnavi, a student.
The aim of Deepavali is to lighten up Amavasya (New moon day), the darkest night of the month . The ‘diya wali diwali’ aims to illuminate the night with the brightness of the sun rather than the moon.
To give a different perspective scholar Lokpathi Pattnaik says, “It is a victory of Dharma over Adharma. It symbolises the victory of good over evil but in practise, its true significance is defeated. With concerns over using child labour in firecracker factories, harmful chemicals and noise polluting the environment, improper disposal of waste, security of animals and birds, health concerns of the old and weak all these are ignored in loud celebrations. This is the festival of giving and sharing. Rather than burning crackers and making merry for a short while, you can do your bit for the less privileged and do justice to the idea of brightening up a life.”