The Indian Story of festivals

I am always curious about the fact that who made more festivals in a year than the number of days in India? Like really, I can see a new festival popping up each day. Maybe it is due to the cultural diversity that India has to offer. Anyway I am more than happy for all the festivities, dances, food, clothes and parties!

Some days back India celebrated Dussehra and now we are all preparing for Diwali. Diwali is the “Christmas” of India, only Christmas is celebrated with as much enthusiasm and joy. We are happy people and accept joy from each tradition and culture. Diwali is also followed by many small festivals and by the time we get over with these, Christmas comes and then New Year. This is the best time to be in India.

Festivity is in the air, the weather is awesome and all you can think about is the night of gifts and food and so much fun!

Let me take you back in time. Thousands of years ago. Lord Ram with his brother Lakshman and wife Sita went to live in the forest for 14 years due to his step mother’s orders. Goddess Sita was the most beautiful woman on Earth. They made a small hut for themselves and started living there. One fine day a golden deer came and attracted Sita. She made a wish to have that deer to Ram. Ram went behind that deer and didn’t come back for long. Fearing of some conspiracy, Sita told Lakshman to go and look for Ram. Lakshman  being the obedient one drew a line around the hut and told Sita to remain inside the boundary as it will protect her. She agreed and Lakshman went away in search for his brother. Minutes passed and a saint came to Sita’s abode and asked for some food. Sita obliged by offering food to the saint remaining inside the boundary, the saint couldn’t enter the hut due to magical powers. The saint got angry that he was not being given the respect he deserved. Sita got scared of any curse that the saint could give and stepped outside the boundary.

In seconds the saint gave up his disguise and turned out to be the Rakshasa Ravan (read monstrous). Ravan ruled Lanka (present day Sri Lanka) and he had ten heads and twenty hands. He kidnapped Sita and took her away to Lanka. He did so to claim vengeance on Ram and Lakshman who had cut his sister’s nose when she tried to force the brothers to marry her. A series of events took place and Ram defeated Ravana and burnt up the whole of Lanka. They came back to their Kingdom happily after then.

The day when Lord Ram defeated Ravana is known as Dussehra. It symbolizes the victory of truth and love over evil powers. This day is celebrated with huge enthusiasm in India. An idol of Ravana is prepared with fire crackers, colored papers and wood which is 20-25 feet tall and then burnt. This story is called “Ramayana” and is staged on every Dussehra in different areas of cities and towns. Candles and diyas are lit and there is much light.

The days between Dussehra and Diwali are marked as the journey of Lord Ram with Goddess Sita and Lord Lakshman . The day of Diwali marks the return of the three in their kingdom. It is a huge celebration. There are colored lights in ever house. Hundreds of candles and diyas are lit in each house. Gifts are exchanged. There are discounts everywhere. Crackers are burnt and people visit and greet relatives and friends. Varieties of different food and new clothes are seen. Happiness is everywhere. The whole mood is colorful and everyone is happy. Cards are played and crackers are burnt up all night.

I keep myself away from crackers more out of fear of them than environmental concern although I hate the smoke produced each year due to theses crackers. But I love Diwali!

Are you coming to India this Diwali?


20 thoughts on “The Indian Story of festivals

  1. It looks lovely. I can imagine the wonderment of being a child growing up with all the lights and storytelling. How magical, just like the protagonists in your story. Loved it Tanushree. Thanks for thinking of me and obliging me with a lesson of India. 🙂

  2. Loved the post and the re-telling of this famous story. In Bangladesh I feel we have almost as many festivals! There’s barely a week goes by before we have another day off to celebrate something! I love the Asian subcontinent for this reason – such a rich culture and history with so much to offer!

  3. Thankyou for reading and ‘liking’ my story. I am thrilled to have found your site and your connection with India as I am involved in a long-term writing project, writing a novel that is set in Bombay (Mumbai). There are excerpts from the novel under the ‘My Prose’ tab on my blog. I will now follow your blog to read these wonderful stories and references to Indian culture. Dearbhla

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