Christians in India celebrate their festivals broadly on the pattern adopted
worldwide. However, some influence of local Indian tradition is evident among
Syrian Christians who use elephants, umbrellas and traditional mu
sic as accessories
to their festivities and celebrations. Christmas is a major event in all Indian
Christian households and one can see Catholic Goa come to life at this time
of the year.
The Carnival, preceding lent, is the most important event at Goa. Similar
to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it is an extravagantly colourful occasion. A
carnival parade, full of colour and zest, it is virtually a celebration of
Deepawali or Diwali, the most pan-Indian of all Hindu festivals, is a festival
of lights symbolising the victory of righteousness and the lifting of spiritual
darkness. The word 'Deepawali' literally means rows of diyas (clay lamps).
A family festival, it is celebrated 20 days after Dussehra, on the 13th day
of the dark fortnight of the month of Asvin (October-November)
Continuing the story of Rama, this festival commemorates Lord Rama's return
to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. Twinkling oil
lamps or diyas light up every home and firework displays are common all
across the country. The Goddess Lakshmi (consort of Vishnu), who is the
symbol of wealth and prosperity, is also worshipped on this day.
This festive occasion also marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and
Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, the symbol of auspiciousness and
wisdom, is also worshipped in most Hindu homes on this day.
Another view is that Deepawali is meant to celebrate the destruction of
the arrogant tyrant Bali at the hands of Vishnu when the latter appeared
in his Vamana (dwarf) avatar. The occasion of Deepawali sees the spring-cleaning
and whitewashing of houses; decorative designs or rangolis are painted on
floors and walls. New clothes are bought and family members and relatives
gather together to offer prayers, distribute sweets and to light up their
homes. In West Bengal, the Deepawali festival is celebrated as Kali Puja
and Kali, Shiva's consort, is worshipped on this day.
Fairs and Festivals in India Reservation
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