Quite a bit late in the day to be writing about Deepaavali, (I prefer this spelling, as it makes pronouncing it in the right way easier). Late in the day in the sense that the festival had been celebrated Yesterday! But a dear friend in Facebook asked me to write about it, and I like to put such chances to Good use! 🙂
I am not really qualified to write about this, as this is more of a festival of Our Hindu brethren. There is Much to Appreciate about the festival of Deepaavali. I share what I have learnt about it.
When I was in the North (of India), during my Youth, I learnt from my (Hindu) friends that the day was a Commemoration of Ram’s Return from the Forests.
As a background, the Prince had been sent there by the Queen Kaikeyi, one of the three wives of king Dashrath, Ram’s father. She had wanted her own son, Bharat, to be king, instead of Ram, who was the eldest. She was able to get this done on the strength of having saved Dashrath once from death. So she had asked that Ram be sent to the forests for 14 years.
It is Noteworthy that she regretted this decision, and that Bharat absolutely refused to ascend the throne. He had kept Ram’s slippers on the royal seat, and ruled in Ram’s name.
King Dashrath died, heartbroken, in six days after Ram’s departure. Here, again, is to be noted that Ram’s wife Sita, totally unused to a life in the jungle, accompanied him there anyway, as did Ram’s brother Lakshman, unasked. The whole kingdom of Ayodhya also went into mourning.
All this changed when Ram’s 14 years term in the jungle were over and he returned to his kingdom.
That was when they had lighted up the very kingdom with Lights to Welcome him and to mark his return, the return of Joy and Righteousness, and to celebrate his victory over Ravana.
Deepaavali means a String of lights.
Image from the Internet
I find that the festival is celebrated in various parts of India ascribing very deities. But what is Common is that it is seen as the Victory of Righteousness over evil.
It is also sad to see that, particularly in Tamil Nadu, which worships the goddess ‘Mari,’ and where the people have not much knowledge of Ram or things like that, Deepaavali is almost limited to eating Idlis and Meat for breakfast on that day, and Bursting Firecrackers and festivities, and as a very new born ‘Tradition.’ Very few people here know what the traditions represent.
It is More Sad that Religious leaders have failed to make People understand the meanings and Values behind Traditions.
Over the last few decades, the catholic church in India, particularly in the North, has been celebrating Deepaavali as the Feast of Christ, the Light of the World, which is also how I celebrate it.
We ALL look forward to the Victory of Righteousness over evil. Here’s to that day coming Soon! 🙂