In Tamilnadu, Diwali is celebrated a day before the rest of the country, on the occasion of Naraka Chaturdasi, the day Lord Krishna vanquished the demon Naraka. People visit each other’s place and respect is paid to the elders, similar to Bijoya Dashami among Bengalis. Special sweets, like Badam Halwa, are made on this occasion. It tastes divine. Champa tells us about Diwali celebrations in the South, in the special feature on Diwali, exclusively in Different Truths.
Diwali is celebrated in Tamilnadu, one day ahead of the rest of the country. In North India, Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Ramachandra to his kingdom in Ayodhya but in the South, the festival commemorates the conquering of the Asura (demon), Naraka. It is commonly believed that Sree Krishna had defeated the demon, Naraka on this chaturdasi thithi.
The Diwali celebration here begins with early morning oil bath. The houses are decorated with flowers, betel leaves and sandal paste. Kolam or Rangoli patterns are done near the entrance with lead oxide powder. Like on the Bijoya Dashami day in Bengal, we visit our elders and seek their blessings on this day.
Payesam and coconut sweets are made at all homes and lunch are mostly grand and elaborate but a family affair. Eating out on festival days, like people do in many other parts of the country, is not a fashion in the south. I have seen that a specialty dish, ‘Badam Halwa’, made from almond paste, ghee and milk, being made on this day, as a family tradition among my in-laws. The men of this family believe that no other sweetmeat in the world can ever match the taste of the Diwali day Badam Halwa.
The fancy illuminations of North India are not so common in the southern homes. Here the houses get decorated with oil lamps on the day of Karthigai Deepam, which is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Karthik, according to the Tamil calendar. But Tamilnadu being the hub of fireworks industry, we get to see many innovative fireworks, lighting up the evening sky and crackers are burst throughout the day, to celebrate the end of the Naraka Asura.
The triumph of good over the evil is what this day is all about and all the jubilation and celebrations revolve around that. Today, we might be miles away from each other, still, let us try to light up each others’ lives on this special day with our smiles and love.
Wishing a Happy Diwali to all!
Pix from the Net.
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