Last evening we celebrated Deepavali-the festival of Lights. See my previous blog (titled ‘new beginnings’) on this to know more. Deepavali is the celebration of light over darkness and new beginnings in life. It is also the celebration of our inner light, our atman, the infinite and pure. In India, we wear new clothes and share sweets with our families and neighbors on this occasion. There is a lot of fireworks, which decides how much fun the day will be-because people tend to go overboard on this-and start thinking Deepavali is about fireworks. Which is not true, but what can one say..? Sometimes, we forget the real meaning of the day in the associated chaos.
The best thing about being here in the US, is that we get to celebrate Deepavali sans the fireworks. Yesterday evening, on the dawn of the new moon, Abhi and I celebrated this festival in our own special way. This year is very special, because this time, my Mama has given me the honor, as the daughter-in-law of the family, to pray for the well-being of all of my family on behalf of my ancestors. And for this special occasion, we got a wonderful parcel with new clothes and accessories for both of us. and best of all, sweets! :). And every piece in the parcel was lovingly chosen for us. Abhi and I lit the lamps last evening, prayed and fed each other sweets. It was really nice to set aside time to do this.
I had prepared the altar earlier in the evening, and tied beautiful beaded thooran (decorative hangings) on the door of our meditation room. I also had a chance to meditate on this auspicious day. It was a feeling of abundance that filled me-when I opened my eyes and saw all the fruits laid out in front of me, all the blessings people had sent for me. all the love we have at hand, but sometimes forget. Thats why there are rituals-to remind us of the importance of family and friends.
I also realized how much of a role perception plays in this. I could think-what does it matter that Deepavali is here-its not like we get a holiday. and we certainly don’t get to be with our families. And yet, there couldn’t be a more incorrect statement. Yesterday, I felt close to my family, even if physically we were apart. And I felt connected to my friends and an urge to share the message of this auspicious day with them-which I did, and it made me very happy. I was glad to have the time and space to honor the festival. and a loving partner to do this with.
Check out our pictures at Abhi’s site (link on the right).
We did forget to actually offer the sweets to the God, in the middle of all the lights and ceremony. But we offered it to each other, which is more or less equivalent :).
Hope you get to celebrate this week in a special way!
Much love, S.