Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Festival of Lights

The main purpose of our trip to India was to reunite with our family and celebrate Deepavali together. Deepavali is a grand festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world and is especially celebrated in an elaborate fashion in India. Usually, a month before Deepavali, there are massive sales everywhere, streets are bustling with people in colorful clothes, vendors are shouting at the top of their voices and sweets and savories are ubiquitous. Bazaars open late into the night and India truly becomes a place that never sleeps.

Deepavali is a festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. There are several legends in Hinduism and Jainism that mark the celebration of this festival and the common factor in all of these is the victory of good over evil. One of the most well known legends is Lord Krishna defeating the evil demon king Narakasura. Narakasura had been a real nuisance to the villagers and they sought help from Lord Krishna. As Narakasura was dying, he apologized to Lord Krishna and asked that everyone should celebrate this day by lighting lamps (embracing light over darkness), wearing colorful new clothes and visiting the temple to seek the Lord's blessings.

On the eve of Deepavali, families gather together, light the lamps and burst fireworks. After a traditional dinner, they retire to bed. The following day, they wake up as early as 4am and the head of the family (usually the eldest person) gives everyone a head oil massage. During this ritual, a prayer song is sung. A shower is then taken and the family prays and wears new clothes. They usually visit a temple and then enjoy traditional meals for lunch. In the early morning and evening, more fireworks are burst and it is the most exciting part of the festival.

This was our very first Deepavali celebration together in India and we had the lovely company of our cousins, uncles and aunt. We got dressed up in colorful clothes to kick off the celebrations!

We had such a fabulous time together and had an time with the huge variety of fireworks! Check out all the fireworks we had!!!! All gone in less than 24 hours!

We all headed to the rooftop terrace of my cousin's house and tried out all kinds of fireworks. What a great moment! It was so thrilling!

So many people in the city were bursting firecrackers too and it was such a beautiful sight. Look at how the Rockfort temple was lit!

We also went out at night to visit the bazaar and my, just look at the crowds!

The following morning we all had our oil baths, wore new clothes and headed off to the rooftop terrace for more fireworks fun.

Just look at the 10,000 wala firecrackers! It was just phenomenal!

My mom, aunt and cousin's wife prepared delicious food for lunch the next day. We just could not stop stuffing ourselves with the great food! More cousins came to visit and we had a good time singing with them.

As we ate so much, we also went out for a walk in the afternoon and enjoyed cool coconut drinks. Look at the streets that are full of used fireworks!

We truly enjoyed ourselves immensely and it was probably the best Deepavali we ever celebrated! It was a very special moment that we will never forget!


Ravipa said...

This was the Deepavali of my childhood dreams. What an experience it was to be with a larger family and celebrate this right at the banks of river Cauvery!

banoo said...

Trichy plays an important role in my life and especially the temple and the Gods! Anytime visiting Trichy is as pleasant as visiting Europe! Especially, this Deepavali of year 2010 November 5 is more memorable as we all enjoyed each and everything with our family!

I suggest the readers to visit Trichy and I am sure that could be your best visit in South.

As usual Preethi had nicely elaborated the days and I was taken back to Trichy.....


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