Greetings from St. Mary’s I.C.S.E School
Deepavali means rows of lights. (Deepa = lights; Avali = rows) Diwali is a synonym with the Sanskrit word “Deepavali”. The illumination which forms the main attraction of this festival with “lights in earthern vessels” is directly associated with its name. The line of deepa gives a fascinating glow- a sacred and solemn luster and that fills the atmosphere with touch of the sublime, giving deep meaning of the feast .This festival is the key factor in providing gaiety and a festival spirit after the monsoon season in our country.
Many myths and stories have been attributed to the advent of the Diwali festival. In many parts of the country, Diwali is celebrated for five days.
These festival days are DHANATRAYODASHI, NARAKACHATURDASHI, LAXMI POOJA DIN, BALIPRATIPADA &
BHAUBEEJ. Each story is significant in its own way and is celebrated with various ceremonial rituals and customs. On Dhanatrayodashi day, it is believed that all those who perform the Deepapooja will be saved from ill- fate or unnatural or untimely death. So on Dhanatrayodashi day, people pray to Yama and offer deepapooja and deepa.
As we celebrate Deepavali this year, let us think of the 40 Central Reserve Police Force who were attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber in the Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. We also recall the flood affected people especially in Maharashtra. Several lost their lives and the damage caused to the crops in northern and western parts of the state due to incessant rains
May this Deepavali enlighten our minds and make us fight against the evils of corruption, and all other inhuman acts which curb the hidden goodness that lies in all humanity. May the light dispel darkness and ignorance, remove prejudice and ill-feeling towards one another and bring bliss to each one of us.
The Dhanateras Day of Diwali is celebrated to offer gratitude towards the Bhagwan Dhanavantari. This signifies a hope for a healthy life free from most diseases and sicknesses. On this day people buy new vessels and preserve some food items in these vessels until the next year. When it is opened on the day of the festival in the following year they believe the food item has turned into “Amruta”.
Narakachaturdashi symbolizes the victory of good over evil. In Maharashtra, early in the morning on this day an oil bath is taken in the belief that an oil bath taken on that day brings good fortune. Even today we find different kinds of evil existing in us and around us. May this Deepavali give us an inspiration to fight against the evil of illiteracy, injustice, corruption, atrocities committed against the girl child and women, etc. The third day of the festival is the ‘Laxmi Pooja’. It is believed that on this night Laxmi is moving around searching for the place where there is happiness and purity and then she enters that house. To invite Laxmi, ladies keep their house neat and clean. On this day the merchant community worships and changes their account books. Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is also worshipped, so that Laxmi abides in that house. Let Goddess Laxmi give us grace so that we may always strive to keep our thoughts and hearts pure and free from all ill-will, ill feelings,malice and hatred. May we become more selfless and generous towards others. The fifth day of the Diwali festival is the last day of the Diwali celebrations. On this day, a brother dines at his sister’s house and pleases her with gifts. It is said that charity begins at home. May there be peace and forgiveness in the family, as better understanding in the family will lead to better understaning and respect in our communities and in the country as a whole. Let this brotherly love not only be confined within the four walls of our tiny families but let it extend to the larger family of Indians and of the world over.
May Deepavali invite us to become more and more concerned about our environment. We need to care for creation and preserve our habitat and resources for future generations to cherish and enjoy. We need to minimize the use of crackers and thereby reduce noise pollution. Instead of using a plastic bag; we should use cotton or jute bags. Indiscriminate uses of plastic bags cause serious environmental hazards particularly at public places, like beaches, gardens and playgrounds. MAY THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS BRING JOY, PEACE AND HARMONY!
ST. MARY’S WISHES YOU A VERY HAPPY AND MEANINGFUL DEEPAVALI.
(DR.) FR. FRANCIS SWAMY, S.J.