The term diwali literally means a row of lamps and this festival signifies the victory of good over evil. A popular festival of fireworks,lights and sweets, Diwali celebrations span many days in most parts of India. However in Kerala, Diwali celebrations are low key affairs, mostly confined to South Kerala and to the North Indian community that has made Kerala their home.
Kochi too is celebrating Diwali in all its religious fervour and finery. It is a time to strengthen the bonds of friendship and brotherhood for many. Exchanging sweets, lighting crackers, making colorful rangolis and illuminating their homes and work places with oil lamps are some of the popular rituals that are associated with this festival. Kochi has a sizable population of Gujaratis, Jains and Sikhs mostly concentrated in Mattancherry, who will be celebrating Diwali in all its zest.People take an early morning oil bath, wear new dresses, exchange special sweets and visit temples on this day. The fireworks and light shows signify the removal of the spiritual darkness from their hearts of people.
Diwali is also an occasion of paying tribute to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha. This 5 day long Hindu festival is celebrated throughout the world with great zeal. Dhanteras, the day before Diwali is considered auspicious for purchasing gold and new home appliances and many a time, the shoppers offer exciting discount offers and deals to lure the customers. From silver utensils to gold pendents, home gadgets and furniture , people seem to have no dearth of shopping ideas for this day! A Bhopal business man hit the headlines when he brought home an automatic teller machine (ATM)to celebrate Diwali in true style this year!
However, for an ordinary Malayalee, Diwali might still mean lots of exotic sweets, gifts and a bottle of liquor ( no festival in Kerala can be complete without this) if not anything else!