Bhubaneswar: It’s not only in Odisha but also the people across the nation, irrespective of caste, creed and community, are celebrating the festival of light- Diwali- with great piety and enthusiasm. The festival is usually known as a celebration of victory of light over darkness, victory of good over evil and victory of wisdom over folly.
It’s not just a good time to enjoy the festival with the onset of winter, but there are some mythological backgrounds for which the festival is celebrated with gaiety.
Victory of Lord Rama
According to the epic Ramayana, it was the new moon day of Kartik when Lord Ram, Devi Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and conquering Lanka. To celebrate the homecoming of their beloved king, the people of Ayodhya burst crackers, lit up their houses with earthen lamps (diyas), and decorated the entire city in grandest manner. Year after year this homecoming of Lord Rama is commemorated on Diwali with lights, fireworks, bursting of crackers and merriment. The festival gets its name Deepawali, or Diwali, from the rows (avali) of lamps (deepa) that the people of Ayodhya lit to welcome their King.
Pandavas Returned on The Day
Great Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’ says, it was the new moon day of Karttik month when Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas in dice game (gambling). The subjects, who loved the Pandavas, celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.
Worshipping Goddess Kali
Kali, also called Shyama Kali, is the first of the 10 avatars (incarnations) of Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva’s consort. According to legend, long ago after the Gods lost in a battle with the demons, Goddess Kali was born as Kal Nashini from the forehead of Goddess Durga. Said to be a personification of female power, Kali was born to save heaven and earth from the growing cruelty of the demons. After killing all the devils, Kali lost her control and started killing anyone who came her way which stopped only when Lord Shiva intervened. The well-known picture of Ma Kali, with her tongue hanging out, actually depicts the moment when she steps on the Lord Shiva and repents.
Goddess Laxmi’s Incarnation
On this very Diwali day, the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, is said to have been incarnated from the depth of the ocean. Hence, she is known as ‘Sindhu Suta’. The Hindu scriptures tell us that both Gods and demons were mortal (Mrita) at one point of time. Seeking a deathless condition (Amarattva), they churned the ocean to fetch nectar (Amrita), the nectar of immortality (an event mentioned in the Hindu scriptures as “Samudra-manthan”), during which a host of divine celestial objects came up. Prime among these was Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the king of the milky ocean, who arose on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month. She was subsequently married to Lord Vishnu on the same darkest night of the year and brilliant lamps were illuminated and placed in rows to mark this holy occasion.
‘Badabadua Daka’-Remembering Ancestors
People mostly in Odisha observe ‘Badabadua Daka’ to pay obeisance to their ancestors on this very day. In the unique ritual, people throng Jagannath temple and burn jute sticks to invite their ancestors to descend from heaven on the day of Diwali and bless them. They also chant a prayer ‘Badabadua Ho Andharare Aasa, Aalua Re Jao (Ancestors, come in darkness and go back along the lighted path). With thousands of bundles of ghee-laced jute sticks being lighted on the day near Singhadwar of the temple. People also observe the event at homes.
Bursting Crackers- A special characteristic of festival
The special characteristic of the festival is bursting crackers apart from lighting earthen lamps. With changing time, revellers take to fancy light to decorate the homes. Young girls also beautify the home with ‘Rangoli’.
Mostly, people have a bee line in front of the cracker shops to buy the bursting items. However, precaution should be taken before the bursting the fireworks failing which the festive mood might turn sour if fire related accident takes place.
There are some Do’s and Don’t’s during bursting crackers.
Burst the crackers at open ground
Allow the children to burst sound-less crackers
Wearing of cotton clothes is must
Asthma patients should keep inhaler
Close the doors and windows of house during cracker bursting.
Wear full dress, spectacle and cap
Do not use high sound-emitting crackers. It has negative impact on environment.
Do not burst on the roads and crowded areas
Do not run away if come in contact with fire from the crackers
Do not touch eyes soon after bursting the fireworks
Do not use the crackers at silence zone such as hospital, educational institutions and courts