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{mosimage}After coming to UAE and missing the Indian festivals despite the presence of Indian diaspora over here, I realised that all our festivals were not for just sake of having some good time or showing off the wealth. For most of us in India, festivals means special programmes in TV, new movies and debates. Thats theday! But every festival has its own deep explanations and valid reasons in the pretext of mythological stories, which in due course of time was overshadowed by the religion and traditions. Since this article is written on the Diwali day, let us start with it.

Diwali - or Deepavali, derived from the phrase "Deepon Ki Aavli" which translates into "Row of lamps" is the celebration of triumph of good over the evil forces. The darkness characterises the evil forces while the light symbolises the good. In the Diwali evening you lit up the homes and streets, the doom spelled by the darkness was driven away by the "diyas" or lamps, not only enlightening the spirits but also bringing decorum to the ambience. No matter how magnanimous the darkness may be, a small lamp is enough to lighten up the place indicating the power of good over the evil. Leave out the debate whether Diwali is to celebrate the death of Narakasura by Lord Krishna or slaying of Ravana by Lord Rama, the essence is "Good ultimately triumphs over the evil".

A festival I hold a great regard for is "Pongal" that is celebrated in my state Tamil Nadu, South India. In my opinion Pongal is the most beautiful and noble celebration that salutes and dignifies all the hardwork that goes in every bit of food we take. Pongal - or boiling rice that is a symbolic representation of bubbling effervesence conveys the beauty, serenity and the gulliblity of peasants. The festival is celebrated for four days - first day being called as "Bhogi Pongal", where the old and waste materials are burnt as effigy, leaving way for new things. It says "Clear old school of thoughts leaving way for new approaches". Second day is "Thai Pongal" - the core of the festival. A day to thank Sun for his contribution in the agriculture. Thats why they make Pongal in open space exposing the rice to Sun and offering him as homage. The hardwork of farmers are thanked this day. Third day is equally noble - "Mattu Pongal" or Cattle Pongal. Since cows and Ox are indespinsible in traditional agricultural practices, the contribution of these creatures are also acknowledged with gratitude. That is their day with them getting decorated and taken for a ride all around the village. The last day is "Kaanum Pongal" - the day where the younger ones meet the elders to get their blessings and wishes and elders grace it with small gifts in form of things or money

Another festival with a similar concept is "Ayudha Pooja" which translates into "Worship of utilities". This function is also a day to pay homage to their profession. People put the utility that is indispensible to their profession while the homemakers put the laddles, knives for prayers. On Saraswathy Pooja day the students idolise their books as Lord Saraswathy and pay their respects and homages.

All these festivals have a common thread - acknowledging the every minutest contribution by these non living things without which nothing is possible in life. I used to say to my non - Hindu friends that don't look these festivals as religious festivals, look at the essence or concept, you'll definitely feel like celebrating by them also.

There are many other festivals like Gokulashtami, Ram Navami and Ganesh Chaturthi that are celebrated as the Birthdays of these Gods, but they didn't appeal me so much. I don't want this article to be a preachy religious stuff, but I just wanted to say that Hinduism is beautiful by its core. I firmly believe there is only one divine force - GOD. The mythological stories written for conveying messages needed many characters, so many forms of GOD in all sexes including third sex - eununch (Ardha Nari Ishwara - Half Woman God, I believe Hinduism is the only religion that shares the platform of divinity with the third sex.) were created for that purpose, which later selfish individuals had taken up according to their convenience. E.g. Lord Rama's story was to convey the messages of how a King should be putting his personal life in back burner, while Lord Krishna's episode conveys the message of having the fullest fun in life at the same time carrying out your duties responsibly.

The various non human forms of God like Varaha (Pig), Narasimha (Lion), Garuda (Eagle), Nandhi (Bull), Ganesh (Elephant), Kalki (Horse), Adhi Seshan (Snake), Crow, Rat and peacock as the officiual carriers of Sani, Ganesh and Muruga are just to symbolise that an element of divinity is there in every living creature. Many of the traditions have a valid scientific reason behind them while some are superstitious, but there was clearly an effort to organise life in a better way. As generations passed by when the religion was carried on further by many individuals, some are manipulative and selfish, its charm and inner meanings got diluted / corrupted.

{mosimage}Now with the advent of money making satellite TVs, who make millions on special programmes, festivals are reduced to movie & cinestar's non-sense interviews. If they say Diwali most of us get the feeling which movie on which TV, who are all the special, which is an irony to the Tamil audiences. Next time when there is a holiday for any festival just get into the essence of the festival for atleast a couple of minutes, you'll understand the richness of Indian culture.

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About myself
Maheshwaran
Author: MaheshwaranWebsite: https://www.maheshwaran.com
I am a SAP Consultant in my late 30s, residing in the happeing IT City - Bangalore. My interests vary from reading to travelling to handicrafts to photography. My latest interest is on Body building. May be this vivid interest keeps me going in my life without getting bored.

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