This article ventures into the connection between Diwali, Kalipuja and Halloween. Kali Puja is related to Diwali in Bengal and known for worshiping the souls. Check out how the very similar ancient customs travel over the world breaking all political and religious boundaries.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B00128FLCG” display=”inlinepost”]Halloween is a worldwide festival celebrated on the last day of October. The festival has connections to the ancient Celtic festival Samhain, which marked the end of ‘summer’ and harvest season. It was also believed in the Celtic culture that the dead come to the earth on Oct 31st. Halloween, inspired by this festival if the deceased, is celebrated in the Western countries. The celebrations associated with Halloween today are mainly trick-r-tricking, wearing Halloween costumes, carving pumpkins, organizing and taking haunted and ghostly tours. The main colors associated with Halloween are orange, which is also the fall color and goes quite with the changing of colors in the trees. It is a festival of the autumn. Right before of the advent of the long winter when everything turns bleak and gray, Halloween is probably the last occasion when everything dazzles in the the bright color. It is a perfect celebration with colorful corns, scarecrows, brooms and pumpkins, food and horror movies.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the most important festivals in India and is mainly observed by the Hindus. Also known as Deepavali or Deepabali, Diwali marks the homecoming of Rama, the king of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile in the forest where he defeated Ravana. The king was greeted back by the people of Ayodhya with lights. The word ‘Deepavali’ gets its form from the conjunction of the two terms ‘deep’ (lamps) and ‘avali’ (lines or rows). This festival of lights also signifies the illumination of our inner souls as well as the celebration of the destruction of the evil. But the Jains, Buddists, Sikhs, who all have different significance for the festival. Lord Mahavira whom the Jains worship attained nirvana on this day. In Sikhism, Diwali is important as Guru Har Govind Ji returned from the imprisonment of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Diwali is also popularly observed in Nepal. Diwali is celebrated across the globe in USA, UK, Australia, Canada and many other countries.
In Bengal, Diwali is connected to Kalipuja, which takes place on the new moon that follows three weeks from the starting of Durga Puja. Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the autumn, and Kali Puja probably is the second biggest. The eve of Kalipuja, known as the ‘Bhoot-Chaturdashi’ (Bhoot: ghosts or souls; Chaturdashi: 14 th day) is the night when the souls of the deceased is believed to visit the earth and 14 candles are lighted in memories of the deceased soul. Kalipuja is also the night of worshiping the deadly-beautiful and powerful goddess Kali. It is believed to be the night when the ghosts and spirits are at loose. It is the most important new moon of the year to the believers of dark magic and necromancy. Kalipuja is celebrated in the autumn, and in the last new moon of the Bengali month ‘Ashwin’ or the first one of the Bengali month ‘Kartick’. And interestingly it is right around the autumn harvest. Kalipuja, though has connection to the dangerous and the dark. is also the time of fireworks and crackers.
In different religions and ancient customs, the same allegories repeat. Though, Halloween is a western concept, and the Kalipuja a totally Indian celebration there are some basic similarities, irrespective of their diversities. Both of them are evolved long time in the past, and shown the living’s eternal interest in the life after death. And interestingly, both are celebrated in autumn, when the air starts to turn crisp, the nights start getting longer, the crops harvested, the fields fallow and full of mist. And also whether in the east, or in the west, the celebrations undoubtedly bring humans minds closer which is always the primary goal of any festival.
Article by: Shrabanti Basu
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