Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated with gusto in Karnataka. Diwali is regarded as an ancient festival in Karnataka and has been celebrated for ages and the popularity of the festival is on the rise with each passing year.
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The glitters, the gifts, the joys and the high spiritedness associated with Diwali touches the life of one and all and everybody gets spontaneously involved in celebrating the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness.
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Diwali is also considered to be a festival that ushers in wealth and prosperity.
The celebration of Diwali in Karnataka is integrally associated with a legend of the three steps of land. Emperor Bali had acquired great powers and became a potent threat to the peace of the Universe. Lord Vishnu was implored by the other Gods to do something that would curb Bali's powers.
Lord Vishnu descended on the earth in the guise of a short Brahmin and asked for a curious gift from Bali. He asked for "as much land as three of my footsteps would cover." It is not customary that the king should refuse the Brahman's appeal for charity,
Bali granted what seemed to him a trifling request.
Lord Vishnu now resumed his all-pervasive, omnipresent form and covered the heavens with one foot and the world below with another.
He now asked where was he supposed to place his third step upon which Bali bowed before him and offered his own head for him to place his foot on Diwali in Karnataka.
This submission of Bali to Lord Vishnu is celebrated on the day of the new moon when the month of Ashwin (October-November) makes way for the month of Kartik.
During Diwali, countless lamps are lit and the festive air is rent by the sounds of the firecrackers. New clothes are bought and sweets are exchanged.
Enjoyments reach a crescendo at the night when the sky is illumined by the fire sparks emanating from the crackers. People participate wholeheartedly in celebrating the triumph of light over darkness.
In The Morning: Deepavali celebrations begins early in the morning. The eldest family member applies sesame oil on the heads of all the family members. Then, it's off for a bath, beginning with the youngest in the family. They emerge with new clothes and a look of anticipation at the thought of bursting crackers, which symbolizes the killing of the demon king Narakasur.
Lehiyan: But before that comes Lehiyan, the bitter concoction, to cleanse the system of its festive over-eating! Then to the crackers.
Murukku: A puja is performed for the family deities in the morning. Breakfast consists of murukku , a sweet dish and, of course, idli or dosa .
Wish fulfilment: Some communities believe that when Narakasur was to be killed, Lord Krishna asked him his last wish. Narakasura replied that he wanted to enjoy the last day of his life in a grand manner and Diwali was celebrated. That was the beginning and the practice continued.
In The Evening: In the evening, lamps are lighted and crackers are burst. As most of the cracker manufacturing units are in Tamil Nadu, there is no dearth of fireworks here.
During Thalai Deepavali, the newly weds go to the bride's parental home for revelry. Taking blessings from the elders, they burst the first crackers of the day. Usually a vast range of crackers is bought, with costs running into thousands of rupees. The Diwali Celebrations include a visit to the temple, gifts of clothes and jewelry, gorging on sweets and receiving blessings of elders. The groom's parents, brothers and sisters come down to join in the celebrations.
Southindiatourtravel.com is an international travel site and a repository of useful information on Diwali in Karnataka and on other celebrations in South India and around the globe.
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