Diwali, the festival of lights, is believed to bring good luck and wealth. Every year, people across India decorate their homes with clay lamps (diyas), candles and fairy lights and burst firecrackers to celebrate the festival. There are many legends associated with Diwali. In north India, Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Ram, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman to Ayodhya after victory over the demon king Ravana. To welcome them, it is believed, the people of Ayodhya cleaned their houses and placed diyas to light their path.
The festival is celebrated across Odisha with much gaiety. Sunday POST asked a few well-known Odia personalities about their Diwali celebration plans.
Renowned sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik said, “The sparkling lights of diyas, beautiful decorations and mouthwatering dishes bring a lot of happiness to the family. I love to celebrate the occasion in the traditional way. But I don’t support the bursting of crackers as they not only pollute the environment, they are harmful for animals and pose health hazards. Besides, I consider it sheer waste of money.”
The artist, who always gives social messages through his sand sculptures, adds, “In my family, we don’t observe Dhanteras because that is not our tradition. Many people buy gold or silver believing that it brings prosperity to the family. I would request them to buy saplings on this occasion and help the cause of environment.”
Ace sprinter Dutee Chand said, “This year, Diwali is more special for me as we are going to celebrate it in our new home. For me, the festival is incomplete if I don’t get an opportunity to burst crackers. However, I am not for crackers that generate deafening noises as they pose a threat to the life of animals. But I love to burst crackers that give out sparkling light. Following tradition, my family also practices some rituals to pay homage to our forefathers. I would like to wish all the readers a happy and safe Diwali.”
Young actress Shivani Sangeeta, who topped the popularity charts after the release of her films Sister Sridevi and Prem Kumar, loves to celebrate Diwali. She said, “Diwali is all about decorating the home, lighting diyas and wearing new clothes. It has been a tradition in our home not to burst noisy firecrackers, though we love to burst other types of crackers. I also never miss the special ‘Diwali photo shoot.’”
The actress said that her family does not celebrate Dhanteras as it is not an Odia tradition. However, her mother never misses the opportunity to buy gold ornaments on Diwali, she added. Shivangi wished all the readers and fans a Happy Diwali and requested everyone to be careful while bursting crackers.
Cricketer Biplab Samantray is excited that he will be celebrating Diwali with his family this year. He said, “This Diwali is going to be more special as I will celebrate it for the first time with my wife. I love to burst crackers, I feel the Diwali celebration is incomplete without this. I also love the special dishes cooked at home on the day. In my family, there is no tradition of buying gold during Diwali.”
Actress Riya Nanda has planned to celebrate the festival with her in laws. “It is not just Diwali, all other festivals also bring joy if they are celebrated with the family. Like every year I have planned to enjoy the festival of light with my family. I would also ask people to buy clay lamps and help the artisans of the state.”
Popular Odia actor and film producer Sritam Das this year has planned to decorate his new home with flower and clay lamps (Diyas). “I do not like to burst crackers but have to buy some sparklers for my little daughter. We go by the tradition of the festival and want the next generation to learn about it. The main attraction of Diwali for me is the mouth watering dishes and we are excited to enjoy the day”, said the actor.