Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Madrasis worship Ravana!

A friend recently said that when he was very young, he was told that the 'Madrasis' worship Ravana during Diwali! He believed it. In fact, quick as children are to associate one thing with another, he went on to think that's why men from Madras had such big moustaches! Well, he did become much the wiser since then, but we definitely had a hearty laugh when he recounted this.

Let me be a spoilsport and dispel this interesting thought from the minds of others who might also have been fed this misinformation when young...

Diwali is an interesting festival -- one of the grandest events all over India, but if a foreigner asks five Indians why they celebrate the festival he/she will probably get five different answers!

While some communities burst fire-crackers to praise Lord Krishna’s victory over Narakasura, others light lamps to brighten Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana; some worship Goddess Kali’s conquest of Raktavija while others celebrate the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi; to some it marks the fateful encounter between Lord Vishnu as Vaamana and King Mahabali, to others it signifies the attainment of nirvana by Mahavir Bhagwan, the founding of the Golden Temple or the return of Guru Hargobind Sahib; some celebrate the return of the Pandavas from their 12-year exile while others consider it a harvest festival; for some the beginning of a new year, to others it is the day for playing cards and dice games thanks to the example set by Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva… basically, we all have reasons to celebrate.

And less than 10 days to go... hope preparations are on in full-swing?

PS: Oh, when I started listing the mythological/cultural/religious reasons associated with Diwali, and as the list grew bigger and bigger... I wondered if there could, perhaps, really exist some community that worships Ravana on Diwali day!! Highly possible, considering we're literally a land of many... if you know of any such tradition, do leave a comment educating us.