India Trip, Day 31: diwali

November 13 (Tue) - Day 31: diwali

Diwali Day # 3.  It is Badi Diwali/Laxmi Puja - the main day of Diwali today.

Laxmi Pujan

I am in India at this occasion after some 14 years.  Many people plan their vacation in a way so they can celebrate Diwali in India, but as kids we always went only during school break in summers.

Puja Setup: Sasurji knows all the rituals of Diwali and the requirements for the puja, so he decorated the puja area and placed everything where they were supposed to be.  A lot of it was new to me.  For instance, I did not know sugarcane was placed on both sides for this puja.

Puja Items: The whole package of Diwali puja items is available in the market, with small quantities of all necessary items.  So all those small packets were transferred into the small diyas.  I did not know half of those, and I did not also know that each one had a purpose and a certain order.  Sasurji explained some of the things to me.

Prasad (Food):  There is kadhi because dal is never cooked on Diwali (I did not know that last year when I was in Texas and made dal on Diwali).  Ker-Sangri ki sabji is a must.  And kadhai ki puri is made instead of roti or paratha.  After offering prasad (those small amounts of food to God), each one is added back into their main pots and pans, which then means the rest of the meal is blessed too.  All the other fruits and sweets and snacks are also offered to God during puja and then distributed afterward.

Fire Crackers: The Diwali puja lasted for almost 2 hours, and once puja ends, people usually burst a ladi (threaded small fire crackers that burst one after the other) or a loud bomb such as laxmi or king kong.  Even though I am extremely scared of fire crackers, my nanand insisted I light up the "do hazaar ki ladi" since it was my first Diwali with the in-laws, and a Diwali in India after ages.  The do hazaar ki ladi meant there were 2,000 small crackers threaded to each other that took almost 10 minutes to burst one after the after.  It was quite a show, I tell ya, it was better to just close my eyes and walk away than see the pollution created afterward.

I had a good day today.  Except the puja and the IMMENSE number and variety of fire crackers going on the WHOLE FRIGGIN' DAY, everything was just as we did in Bangkok.  We used to do a MUCH smaller scale puja, wore new clothes, weren't allowed to burst loud fire crackers so settled with fuljadi, zameen chakkar and anaar, ate a lot of good food, and went to visit our family friends.

The only difference on Diwali in India I noticed: we could hear each other in Bangkok; the continuous noise of fire crackers in India is deafening.
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