Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the "festival of light", and shows the victory of light over darkness. Usually there is a lot of cleaning, and then decoration and lights and fireworks and celebrating and exchanging gifts. There is also a lot of shopping for gifts involved, which strangely makes me think that it is similar to christmas, but it isn't, aside from "the business".

Each state in India is celebrating it differently, and also at slightly different times/ days, so here's a little excerpt about Diwali in Tamil Nadu:

"Known as Deepavali (தீபாவளி) in Tamil Nadu (தீப + ஒளி = தீப ஒளி meaning lamp lights), it commemorates the death of Narakasuraat the hands of Lord Sri Krishna. It is believed that Narakasura, a malevolent demon, tortured common people and they prayed to lord Krishna to defeat him. The people then celebrated Narakasura's defeat with sparklers, lights and firecrackers. This celebration has continued down the generations as Deepavali. In Tamil Nadu, Diwali falls on the 14th day preceding the amavasya (new moon) in the solar month ofAippasi.The day begins with an early morning oil bath, wearing new clothes, bursting of firecrackers, visiting Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu and Shiva temples. The exchange of sweets between neighbours, visiting relations, and preparing Deepavali special sweets are traditions of the day.
Typical Deepavali celebrations begin with waking up early in the morning, before sun rise, followed by an oil-bath. The bathing tradition involves extensive massaging of warm til-oil containing pepper corns and betel leaves. New clothes are typically worn as a part of celebrations. After the bath, a home-made medicine known as "Deepavali Lehiyam" is consumed, which is supposed to aid in soothing digestive problems that may ensue due to feasting that occurs later in the day. Sparklers, firecrackers and lights are used extensively, much like the rest of the world where Deepavali is celebrated. Though the rest of the country celebrates Diwali traditionally on an amavasya day, Tamil Nadu will celebrate it on the preceding day, Naraka Chaturdashi. In Tamil Nadu, Diwali is calculated when chaturdashi prevails during sunrise, precisely at 4am-6am. If chaturdashi prevails after 6am it is not considered. For example, if chaturdashi tithi begins at 2:30 pm the preceding day and ends at 1pm next day, the next day will be celebrated as Diwali. Contrary to the rest of the nation, diyas are not lit on the night of diwali. Lamps are lit on the night of Karthikai Deepam, in the Tamil solar month of Karthikai." ->Wikipedia
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Anyway, I am pretty much settled in Chennai and finally got around to arrange and decorate my room (own desk, yay!), and it's hard to believe that I am here since 4 months already. Life keeps me busy, but still, at least I try to keep everyone posted...


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