Monday January 21, 2019

How different faiths, states celebrate Diwali

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Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated with great fervor around the world for a number of reasons not only by Hindus but also by the people of different faiths. For instance, in the northern and the western regions of India, Diwali is held in honor of the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom ‘Ayodhya’ after defeating the demon king Ravana. People burst crackers, light diyas, decorate their houses, distribute sweets and hold special prayers to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh.

However, as I mentioned above, people in different parts of the country mark this day for their own reasons. Here’s a look at how and why they celebrate Diwali.

  • Jains

For Jains, Diwali has a special significance as the day commemorates the anniversary of Lord Mahavir‘s attainment of moksha, or freedom from the cycle of reincarnation, in 527 B.C.E. Lord Mahavir was the 24th and last Thirtankar of Jainism and revitalized the religion as it is today. Jains believe that the earth and the heavens were illuminated with lamps to mark the occasion of Lord Mahavir’s enlightenment.

On Diwali, Jains like Hindus light camps to symbolize keeping the light of Lord Mahavir’s knowledge alive and distribute sweets in celebration of his contributions. Besides, Diwali is also observed by fasting, singing hymns and chanting mantras to honor Lord Mahavir. The next day after Diwali is marked by the Jain New Year.

  • Sikhs

Sikhs celebrate Diwali by bursting firecrackers, displaying candles in front of the doors and on windows, and decorating their homes and building with lights. The festival holds a special significance for them as on this day in 1619 Guru Hargobind, along with 52 kings, was released by Emperor Jahangir. After his release, Sikhs lit the Golden Temple, and the tradition has continued into modern days. Moreover, it was on Diwali in 1577 the foundation stone of The Golden Temple was laid.

  • Buddhists

For Buddhists, Diwali marks a day when, around 265 BC, Emperor Ashoka renounced his throne and adopted the path of peace. He decided to convert to Buddhism after going through a lot of bloodshed and killings. Buddhists observe this day as ‘Ashok Vijaydashmi’ by chanting mantras to remember Lord Buddha and, also, Emperor Ashoka.

Moreover, like Hindus, Diwali stands as a symbol of the triumph of good over evil as Emperor Ashoka gave up his violent ways and chose the path of peace and nonviolence on this day.

Diwali is celebrated for different reasons in other parts of India as well:

  • Karnataka

For Kannadigas, the first and third days of Diwali hold special significance as ‘Ashwija Krishna Chaturdashi’ is celebrated to mark the denouement of a demon named Narakasura. It is believed that after having killed Narakasura, Lord Krishna took oil bath to rid himself from the blood of the demon. People observe this day by taking oil bath on Naraka Chaturdashi.

On the other hand, the third day of Diwali is known as Bali Padyami when women sketch colorful rangoli at the doorsteps of their homes and build miniature forts of cow dung.

  • Odisha

People in Odisha celebrate Diwali to pay respect to their ancestors, seers and gods. The following hymn is an important part of their rituals.

Badabadua ho andhaara e asa Aluaa e Jaao Baaisi pahacha e Gadagadau thaao (Oh our ancestors, seers and gods you came on the dark night of Mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannatha!)

Besides, Tarpan is offered to Goddess Lakshmi and Kali puja is performed in various towns.

  • West Bengal and Assam

Pooja to Goddess Kali, lights, and fireworks mark the day in West Bengal whereas the Mithila region of Bihar and Assam perform Lakshmi and Ganesh pooja along with offerings to Goddess Kali.

  • Andhra Pradesh

A musical narration of the story of Lord Hari or Harikatha is organized in many places in the state. It is believed that Lord Krishna’s consort Satyabhama killed demon Narakasura. Therefore, special clay idols of Satyabhama are kept and offered prayers. Rest of the celebrations are similar to other southern states with people flaunting new clothes and jewelry.

Next Story

Benefits Meant for the People Should Reach Them On Time: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In a month, development projects worth more than Rs 20,000 crore have been either inaugurated or initiated in Odisha, said Modi

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"We ensured everyone gets what they deserve" PM Modi

Pime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked previous governments at the Centre for ruling the country like their “Sultanates”, neglecting its rich heritage.

“Past governments ruled like Sultans and neglected our rich heritage. They ignored our glorious civilisation and failed to pay attention to their preservation,” said Modi while addressing a public meeting in Balangir town in Odisha.

“This criminal error will always stick to the parties, who the country gave the opportunity to run governments for decades. Surprisingly, they have not taken lessons from this,” he added.

He also attacked the state government under Naveen Patnaik and said the benefits meant for the people should reach them on time and must not be used as an election tool.

PM Modi
Benefits Meant for the People Should Reach Them On Time: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

 

This was Modi’s third visit to the state in the past three weeks and showed the importance that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was attaching to the state ahead of the general and assembly elections.

The Prime Minister said his government was committed to conserving and preserving the country’s rich cultural heritage.

He said his government has been constantly making efforts to bring back the idols stolen from the temples in India.

He also attacked the parties for opposing the International Yoga Day and the construction of the Statue of Unity.

“Some parties were against organising the International Yoga Day. These are the people who did not promote yoga. These people neither understand India nor tourism,” he added.

“They raised questions on erecting the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. But, after becoming the world’s tallest statue, it has generated jobs for people residing around the structure.

Narendra Modi, India, election
Elaborate preparations for PM’s election rally. VOA

“They were also against changing the names of islands in Andaman and Nicobar islands,” said Modi.

He said the central government has cancelled around six crore fake ration cards, gas connections, scholarships with wrong names, grabbing pension under wrong names over the last four years.

“We plugged these leakages, saving crores of rupees. All ration cards have been digitised and around 80 per cent of them have been linked with Aadhaar,” said the Prime Minister.

“The middlemen used to loot the money meant for poor. We have stopped this. We ensured everyone gets what they deserve,” he added.

The Prime Minister said there are people, who are angry because he has put a stop to their loot and corruption.

india
PM believes in Constant Development and Promoting tourism.

Highlighting the developmental works being carried out by the Centre in the state, he attacked the Odisha government for failing to utilise the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund in the mineral bearing areas.

“Odisha has Rs 4,000 crore in its DMF Fund which has remained unutilised so far. What has happened to the government? It is in deep slumber. The government of Odisha should ensure that the benefits reach the tribal people.

“Do not wait for the elections. Ease the problems of people, elections will keep coming,” said Modi.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Claims BJP Was Not in Politics For “Divide and Rule”

He said the central government has allocated over Rs 20,000 crore for the development of Railways in Odisha in the last four years alone, which is five times more than the allocation by the previous government.

In a month, development projects worth more than Rs 20,000 crore have been either inaugurated or initiated in Odisha, said Modi. (IANS)