India is a country with a diversified culture where people coming from different ethnic backgrounds come together to celebrate their Cultures and Religions. Deepavali or Diwali is one of the largest Indian Festivals celebrated across the country with supreme pomp and zeal. It is also known as the “Festival of Lights”. It is a time for families to come together, hold reunions, adorn their homes with lights, pray to Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity.
While the Northern States of India fondly cite the Festival as Diwali, it is popularly known as Deepavali (‘deep’ meaning lights/lamps, ‘vali’ meaning array) in the South Indian states and other Asian nations like Singapore, Malaysia, etc. However, it is celebrated with similar vigour. The Hindu Festival of Deepavali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, from a fourteen-year exile and after triumphing over the Demon King Ravana. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, truth over falsehoods, and purity over adulteration. It is celebrated on the first night of the new moon (supposedly the darkest night) Hindu calendar month of Karthik.
In Rural Karnataka, the celebration is accompanied by several interesting rituals apart from just worshipping Goddess Lakshmi, like cultural programmes and competitions, etc. In the urban parts of Karnataka, Deepavali revolves around worshipping both Goddess Lakshmi as well as Lord Vishnu. While Goddess Lakshmi is adored for wealth and prosperity, Lord Vishnu is worshipped for his triumphant victory over Bali. People deck up their homes with lights or lamps, floral arrangements, rangoli, and more to celebrate the festival. People also commemorate by donating to the less fortunate and underprivileged.
Deepavali 2020 may not be as zealous as Deepavali 2019 keeping the COVID-19 situation in mind. To keep the virus from spreading further and a spurt of another Coronavirus wave in the state, the Government has banned the bursting of harmful firecrackers as a surge in air pollution can be drastic for the pandemic situation. However, the authorities will be allowing a simple and sober Diwali Celebration by using only green or eco-friendly crackers. Let us all celebrate the festival of lights in a more simplistic yet meaningful and devotional way and pray to the Goddess of prosperity to walk us from the darkness unto light. Wishing everyone a very Happy Deepavali.