Bhubaneswar: India is a country where festivals are not bound by religions and faiths. The beauty about India and people of this great nation being, all festivals are celebrated amid brotherhood and goodwill.
The festival of light – Diwali or Deepavali is no exception.
While, Diwali is festival of the Hindus who celebrate the return of deities, Rama and Sita, to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile, people from all communities participate with equal vigour and joy.
This festival celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika also signifies the day when Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha.
Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”. For Indians in India and abroad, Diwali celebration is synonymous with firecrackers, earthen lamps called ‘Diyas’ or ‘Deepa’ and lots of sweets and savouries.
However, festivals in 2020 have been dimmed by the footprints of a microscopic entity – SARS-COV-2 or novel Coronavirus which triggered the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.
Be it the Easter in March, Eid in July or Durga Puja in October, festivals this year have been a low key affair. While many among us are dejected about a Diwali without crackers this year, it has been the very nature of human beings to improvise and adapt to situations.
This year, there have been restrictions by the Government on sale and bursting crackers on Diwali, so the people have made up their minds to light up houses, communities and common spaces with candles and Diyas.
It is true that we cannot spot people beelining to purchase their share of fireworks this year, but a quick stroll down the market presents a different picture altogether. COVID-19 has not been successful in casting a shadow on the enthusiasm of people for Diwali.
Happy faces can be seen in most of the markets in Bhubaneswar, some for buying jewellery while others are lining up to purchase sweetmeats. There has been a good amount of sale of candles, decorative lights and earthen lamps in different areas of Bhubaneswar.
This resolve of people for our festivals is a testimony in itself – that COVID-19 might have confined us to our homes, changed our lifestyles, but it failed to dampen the spirit of humanity.
Diwali is a festival which is celebrated to mark the victory of light over darkness. Not only in India, people across the globe believe that there is a ray of bright hope which this festival will accompany for humankind amid distressing times.
As the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison rightly pointed out in his Diwali greeting:
“Yes, we have seen darkness this year, but the light is overcoming that darkness. There is light ahead, and there is hope. Warmest greetings to everyone celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights.”