One of the most joyful and beautiful festivals to be celebrated in India is Diwali, the festival of lights. The very word Diwali conjures up the image of winking lights and flickering diyas. Not to forget the gorgeous array of sparkling colors emitted by the firecrackers that seems to awaken the night sky. The tradition of lighting earthen Diyas best signifies the festival of lights-Diwali . You can find these earthen Diyas In all the homes on this day. The one thing that is always on high demand is beautifully carved Diyas during the Diwali celebration. Every year I buy my Diyas from the local artisans who bring it to the Exhibition and this year its no exception. You can have a look at these beauties.
Odisha is known as the land of festivals and as there is a proverb that “Bara Masare Tera Paraba” which means there are thirteen festivals celebrated in 12 months in Odisha…. With the advent of Winter, comes the festival of lights…….DIPAVALI or DIWALI. While Diwali is celebrated with much fanfare in different parts of India by lighting lamps and bursting crackers, traditionally in Odisha, it has been a day of invoking ancestors and performing the unique ritual performed with the ‘kaunria kathi’. In Odisha people call it “PAYASHRADHA” or “DWIPA DANA AMABASYA’ .
People in Odisha celebrate Diwali a little differently……Diwali, the festival of lights has its own charm and style. People in Odisha believed that the ancestors reside in heaven abode . People burns the stems of jute known as kaunria Kathi to invite the ancestors to descend from the spiritual sky and bestow blessings upon them . It is marked by calling the spirit of ancestor by lighting a lamp inside an earthen pot tied to a pole erected in front of the house. These poles act as a support to hold the pot. Within the earthen pot a lamp is placed to light up the dark. Once the spirits are called, jute stems are burnt to show light in the dark path. This light is believed to show the way to the spirits, when they traverse back to heaven in darkness.
In the evening members of the family gather after dusk. A rangoli pattern taking the shape of a sailboat is drawn on the ground. The sailboat has seven chambers and in each of the chamber several items are kept like cotton, mustard, salt, asparagus root, turmeric and a wild creeper.There is a central chamber in which Prasad is placed . On top of the prasad a beautiful jute stem with a cloth wick is placed which serves as the main diya.
The diya is lit at the beginning of the puja. Each of the members gathered there and holds a bundle of jute stems in their hands. They light their respective bundles from the main flame on the rangoli and raise it towards the sky with the following chants.
“Bada badua ho …..Ganga Jaa, Gaya Jaa, kasi jaa, Brindaban Jaa,
Jaha deithila ta Pai jaa,
Andhaara re Aasa, Aluwa re Jaa.
Baaisi pahaacha re gada gadau tha.”
which means “oh our ancestors, seers and gods you came on the dark night of Mahalaya, and now it is time for you to depart for heaven, so we are showing light, may you attain peace in abode of Jagannath & May you attain salvation on the chanting the above verse.
After the Puja, all the family members sit together to enjoy the stupendous meal prepared by the family.The meal majorly consist of vegetarian items prepared by the womenfolks of the family. it is a time of bonding, enjoying with family and in some families also perform the Laxmi Puja on the occasion of Dipavali.
Khira Gaintha ( Rice ball dumplings in flavored milk)