Chittagong, Nov 11, 2023, Pradip Kumar Dutta
Happy Deepavali/Diwali to all.
It's the festival of Lights. Festival of superiority of light over darkness, education over illiteracy,good over evil,freedom over exploitation,truth over lies.
Want to elaborate the Shmoshan Dipali programme that is observed in southern Bangladesh(mostly all over greater Barishal and adjacent areas). Kaunia Mohashmoshan of Barishal has the most of funfare. This is on the night prior to Diwali,the Bhoot Chaturdashi day.
The Diwali night is observed on the Amavashya of Kartik,the 7th month according to our Bangla calendar. The day before that is the 14th day of that fortnight and named Bhoot Chaturdashi in Bengal or Naraka Chaturdashi in North India.It is believed according to the Hindu mythology that on this night the spirits of the dead in the family comes back to enquire about the welbeing of their descendants. So,everyone tries to honour the souls and pray for their eternal peace and express their love to the deceased by putting their favourite food in their cremation ground.Flowers and lighting their memorial tombstones with candles,diya, and electrical lights is also a widespread practice.This has been done from time immemorial. But about 200years ago in Kaunia Mohashmoshan it started to be observed in a grand ceremonious way. The cremation ground is situated on about 4 acres of land and has approximately 60000 tombstones. All are cleaned,decorated and illuminated in a grand fashion. A Mela is also in place. Tight security is maintained. People whose near and dear ones have been cremated here come with a mixed feeling of emotion,reverence and prayer. Others come for showing solidarity. Some others come for curiosity. It's a huge crowd of a few hundred thousand. A great event indeed.
In Spanish and South American culture too they have a similiar celebration named Dia del Muertos(meaning Day of the Deads). We have come across same in Mexico. Even Halloween resembles this celebration to some extent although it is more of fun and merry making.
In North India and Nepal Diwali is the biggest religious and social celebrations continuing for five days starting with Dhanteras(day bringing fortune) two days before Diwali and continues till Bhai dooz or Bhai teeka(sisters wishing their brothers who in turn blesses and assures sister of all support in need). Bhai teeka is held two days after the Diwali,completing the five day celebrations.
In Bengal,Tripura,Assam and Orissa we have all those celebrations or similar ones.
We start with Dhan Troyodashi and continue celebrations of Bhoot Chaturdashi, Kaalipuja and Deepavali on the Diwali day. The next day is Giri Gobardhan puja and Annakoot utsav on the new moon day and Bhai phonta on the Dwitiya of the fortnight. It is worthwhile to mention here that in North India Lakshmi puja is a must do in all the households on the Diwali day. Moreover,lighting every house,temple and even streets lavishly, is observed everywhere. Kids and even grown ups try to enjoy fire work and fire crackers though it sometimes causes accidents.
A good question may be what is the history or story behind Diwali? Why it is observed as a sacred but joyous day?
Sanatana scriptures records this day as the day when victorious Ramachandra entered Ayodhya,their capital with his victorious army and entourage after demolishing the demon king Ravana three weeks prior to this day. The whole city of Ayodhya was decorated and festive lighting was in place.To commemorate the victorious homecoming of Lord Rama and to emphasize the victory of right over wrong,Diwali has always been celebrated ever since.
Happy Diwali again to all.