One thing unique about Diwali is that it ensconces everyone into its festive spirit. No body remains untouched by its festivity.
As I mentioned in my last blog, the spirit of Diwali starts building up immediately with the onset of Navratri. Navratri culminates into Dussehra, which signifies victory of good over evil in the form of slaying of Ravana by Lord Rama. Similarly, Diwali celebrations start building up post Dussehra and while it peaks during the very day of festival, a day prior to that has its own significance earning it the colloquial name of Chhoti Diwali.
Chhoti Diwali is like warm up matches that precede start of a cricket test series. As the teams try to acclimatise themselves in the run up to full fledged series, Chhoti Diwali is similarly a trial run to the full fledged celebration the next day. All the activities to be performed on the next day are tested – candles, decorative lights, diyas are lit up to test the lighting effect, laddus, barfis, Gulab jamuns are tasted to test the gastronomic effect and crackers are fired to test the audio effect. It’s also the time for last moment finishing touches to house cleaning. All in all it’s the same excitement that one experiences when 6 runs are required to win in the last over with 9th and 10th batsmen batting – i.e. build up of the crescendo. To put it naughtily, the feeling is almost pre-orgasmic!
Diwali heralds return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after 14 years in exile. When an important guest visits us, the activities to welcome this special guest have to start a day in advance! I hope the importance and excitement around Chhoti Diwali is now appreciated by all my readers.