India is a country of festivals and festivities. Our forefathers made sure that we have occasions to come together and celebrate. I do not think any other country in the world can match India‘s number and variety of occasions to celebrate. Go to any part of India and you find a fair sprinkling of these occasions across the whole year.
Deepavali is a festival that is celebrated in some form or the other in almost every part of the country. The nomenclature may differ but the festive spirit remains the same. The food made may be different but the excitement of cooking and sharing it remains the same.
The two communities-the Hindus and the Sikhs both celebrate Deepavali with much gusto. However, they celebrate this occasion for different reasons. While the Hindus celebrate the occasion of Rama’s returning to Ayodhya, after a long period of exile of 14 years during which he experienced terrible struggle and ultimately vanquished evil, the Sikhs celebrate the return to Amritsar of their sixth Master, Guru Hargobind. It is said that Guru Hargobind insisted on Moghul ruler to free the 52 princes of small hill states in Himachal or else he would also stay put with them in the prison at Gwalior. The Moghul emperor who had great regard for the Guru agreed to free them. Thus, Guru Hargobind, too, vanquished evil and came home victorious. See the parallel moral of the two stories.
Here in the US, we see Diwali being celebrated with great enthusiasm in almost every big city. Dallas can boast of the largest Diwali mela where normally 50,000 visitors gather to witness the festivities which include episodes from Ramayana and an entertainment program with the participation of famous singers from India, besides the fireworks.
New York, similarly, has a number of organizations which celebrate Diwali in a big way. We recently witnessed at least two such big events. Both drew large crowds and won applause of visitors. One was the AIA organized Diwali at South Street Seaport. And, the other was Diwali at Times Square organized by Neeta Bhasin of ASB Communications.
I would like to congratulate all our readers on this festive occasion and wish the festive spirit is shared. It is by sharing joys that we multiply them. The two words-sharing and caring are magic mantras for happiness, steps ahead of joyousness. These festive occasions provide us an opportunity to show how caring we are. By sharing, we show our care. And in caring for others lies all true happiness. Let us celebrate Deepavali together in a shared manner and enjoy the festive mood that the occasion brings.
Let festive spirit prevail. Happy Diwali.