The festival of lights


As you may know that, India is a country full of festivals due to many religions and their very old culture. There are actually very few days with no festivals or any type of cultural celebration. This time of the year we celebrate one the biggest and most delightful festival called ‘Diwali’.

Diwali

Diwali 2013
Diwali 2013 (©Jitendra Mulay)

Diwali, also called Deepavali or the ‘Festival of lights’ is a five-day Hindu festival which starts on Dhanteras, celebrated on the thirteenth lunar day of Krishna paksha of the Hindu calendar month Ashwin and ends on Bhaubeej, celebrated on the second lunar day of Shukla paksha of the Hindu calendar month Kartik.

Diwali 2013
Diwali 2013 (©Jitendra Mulay)

For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

The name ‘Deepavali’ refers to the ‘row of lamps’. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. These lamps are kept on during the night in order to welcome the goddess Lakshmi. All the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends during Diwali.

Diwali 2013
Diwali 2013 (©Jitendra Mulay)

The second day of the festival is called the Naraka Chaturdasi. Amavasya, the third day of Diwali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The fourth day of Diwali is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya, and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes.

Spiritual significance

While Diwali is popularly known as the ‘festival of lights’, the most significant spiritual meaning behind it is ‘the awareness of the inner light’. As said by Hindu philosophy, there’s the belief that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. The celebration of Diwali as the victory of good over bad refers to the light of pure knowledge that drive out all ignorance, the ignorance that masks one’s true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality.

While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region (festive fireworks, worship, lights, sharing of sweets), the essence is the same – to rejoice in the Inner Light or the underlying Reality of all things.

Tainted nature

Pollution

Today the celebration of this enjoyable festival is somewhat changed, kind of tetchy than cheerful. Fireworks are the major problem. They were supposed to be for short time enjoyment however turned into large source of pollution. There is already too much pollution present and still increasing by day to day captivities and such fireworks are now serving as an extra hand for it.

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that causes adverse change. Pollutants, the components of pollution, can be either foreign substances/energies or naturally occurring contaminants. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution.

The major types of pollution are listed below that may cause due to fireworks:

  • Air pollution – The release of chemicals and particulates from fireworks into the atmosphere.
  • Noise pollution – High-intensity noise due to rockets, firecrackers causes noise pollution and affect very badly on ears.
  • Thermal pollution – Temperature change in the atmosphere caused by of fireworks
  • Water pollution – Discharge of wastewater into surface water, release of waste material into clean water.

Among these, air and noise pollution have significant impact on nature. Too much use of rockets and fireworks are causing air and noise pollution. Fireworks which produce smog and fireworks that produce high intensity sound are the main pollutants. The waste material that is produced during this and any other festival season is openly dumped in sea water and causes water pollution which is not good for marine life as well as polar islands. They also causes rise in the temperature of sea water.

Child-labor

Another terrifying consequence is child-labor. The town of Sivakasi in South India has been reported to employ child labor in the production of fireworks. In 2011, Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu was home to over 9,500 firecracker factories and produced almost 100 percent of total fireworks output in India.

Children who participate in work that does affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling can be regarded as child labor. According to UNICEF, a child is said to be  involved in child labor activities if between 5 to 11 years of age, he or she did at least one hour of economic activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work in a week, and in case of children between 12 to 14 years of age, he or she did at least 14 hours of economic activity or at least 42 hours of economic activity and domestic work per week.

Child labor is indeed a terrible thing in a developing country like ours. On one side, degree holders are unemployed and on the other side, child labor is stealing children’s childhood and their right for good education.

Call for modifications

It’s time to bring some modifications in our lifestyle. With the growth of technology and change lifestyle, we somehow are overlooking the real purpose of our festivals. This ‘festival of lights’ itself says that it is to spread the light; the light of pure knowledge, the light of healthy life, the light that takes us to the divine path.

The amount of fireworks used in the celebration of this festival of lights is now greater than before. Our intention should be to illuminate ourselves and our surrounding from darken. For this aim, extra use of fireworks will not work but pure lamps of oil will do it better. Instead of making large noise smog, it’s better to greet each other with love and of course sweet foods.

Before spending money on fireworks, think about the children who are continually losing their childhood just for the sake of your enjoyment of few minutes. Those uneducated kids are handling dangerous powers and chemicals which no parents will even think their child to go near or play with.

In conclusion

Deepavali is intended to spread lights wherever is dark and bring happiness in each other’s life. These days however, moral thoughts are being disregarded and the way of celebration is infected wrong tactics. Overindulgence use of fireworks are causing air, noise and water pollution on a large scale and affecting very badly to humans, animals and overall nature. It’s time to stop all these and think about it again.

What do you think? Comment your opinions, experience or questions/suggestions (if any) below.

Need more help? Write an email to me with detail explanation, I’ll try my best to answer your query.

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One thought on “The festival of lights

  1. Pingback: light. noise. silence. | ripples in the midnight sky...

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