Festival of lights Diwali celebrated with joy in city

Published October 20, 2017
A beautiful rangoli design is being decorated at the Swami Narayan temple off M.A. Jinnah Road on Thursday evening as part of Diwali celebrations.—Fahim Siddiqi / White  Star
A beautiful rangoli design is being decorated at the Swami Narayan temple off M.A. Jinnah Road on Thursday evening as part of Diwali celebrations.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Diwali, the festival of lights, celebrated by Hindu and Sikh communities, involves plenty of excitement which includes offering pooja, preparing sweetmeats, exchanging gifts, decorating homes, donning new clothes, drawing rangoli and letting off fireworks.

The celebration has a religious significance as it is a way of spreading joy on Hindu god Rama’s victorious return to his people after defeating Ravana and completing his 14 years of exile.

It is also believed that the Hindu goddess of wealth Lakshmi was incarnated on the new moon day.

At the Shri Swami Narayan Mandir on Thursday, it was much more than just fireworks and noise.

Boys could be seen playing around the temple with firecrackers and sparklers. They would sneak around every unsuspecting soul to light a cracker and then enjoy watching them scream and jump with fright.

The little girls in pretty dresses, meanwhile, lit little oil lamps lining the rangoli outside their main doors. And the firework fountains, commonly called anaar, were the favourites with little boys as well as girls.

As some of the parents stood around with their kids to supervise them, others left them on their own so that they could greet each other.

Boxes full of sweetmeats were being bought by the kilo. The usual mithai like laddu, gulab jamun and burfi were being sold at Rs500 per kg while the traditional halwa associated with the day was available for a little higher price.

“Walnut halwa with pistachio and almonds is prepared in Hindu homes, especially for Diwali.

“But those who can’t make the halwa can always buy it,” smiled a stall owner in the temple courtyard.

He was packing halwa in shiny green and gold boxes with his Shikarpur shop label pasted on top.

“Our mithai is very special. We are followers of Vishnu, so we don’t use eggs in any of our stuff,” he said with pride. The halwa was available at Rs650 per kg.

Bollywood songs were being played aloud in almost every house and colourful fairy lights decorated most home balconies.

“Festive lights are also a way of showing our happiness,” said Deepak Parsad, who also lived in the vicinity.

“My mother named me Deepak, which literally means lamp, so I am forever spreading happiness, and don’t need electricity,” he laughed.

Two children, Mohit, a student of class four, and Manesh, a student of class six, didn’t seem too happy as they went about lighting firecrackers.

“Yes, lighting firecrackers is our way of venting,” said the younger of the boys.

“We are not getting a school holiday tomorrow (Friday) as we have our exams,” he said.

Their father, who was keeping a watchful eye on them from his door, then called out to them and asked them to behave.

“They are getting too rowdy. They were presented with these firecrackers by my elder cousin earlier this evening and while playing they grew a little out of control when they lit a cracker on a table and it burnt my cousin’s shirt collar,” said the father.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2017

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