Today is a special day. It was exactly 50 years ago in 1956 that the state of Karnataka was formed as per the Reorganisation of States Act 1956. Every year, November 01 is celebrated as Kannada Rajyotsava. We usually get a holiday and in school we had to go and take part in marches and stuff. It is not really as big a deal as Independence Day and has been reduced to empty protocol but its a nice feeling to celebrate Kannada. The post title above hails Kannada too.
Today is also the second day of Deepavali, the festival of lights. The festival is one of the most important in Hindu tradition. It is largely a festival to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. There are actually a lot of stories, a lot of versions as to why it is celebrated. Like everything Indian, it is too complex to explain, too beautiful to describe.
Basically, Deepavali is a three-day festival. On all days, at dusk, we lit little mud lamps and decorate the house. Sadly, gross plastic lamps and candles are replacing these but they are the most beautiful for their delicate nature. We burst a lot of crackers (I dont. Its been years since I did that. Too noisy, other personal reasons.) as a celebration of life.
We are supposed to wake up at the crack of dawn and take an oil bath. The day is spent in feasting, an integral part of Indian festivals, prayers, card games (This is a tradition only in the northern parts of India, we dont follow it.) and crackers. There is no particular God that we ought to worship though cows, so sacred in India, are worshipped on the day of go-pooje. Deepavali is more of celebrating life than anything spiritual.
The Deepas or lamps are the most important part. I get my name from them. These lamps are not just to bring light in a dark place. On a higher level, these are lamps of knowledge that are lit through education and life (to a large extent) to dispel the darkness of ignorance! Earlier, no house could be without a lamp around a tulsi plant after dusk. Such beautiful traditions have been eaten away by the trappings of modernity.
So, here is wishing you all a very Happy Deepavali. May the lamps of prosperity, love, happiness and health always burn in your lives.