The festival of lights- Deepawali – was celebrated yesterday. While lamps are lit during most festivals, Deepawali is, perhaps, the only festival that is dedicated to the lighting of lamps.
Human beings don’t like darkness. Darkness means uncertainty and danger, and inspires fear. Acts that the society does not approve of mostly take place in darkness. Light, on the other hand, inspires hope. It means certainty and safety. It shows us direction and gives us confidence. Perhaps, this is the reason why Deepawali is a very popular festival. It is no longer confined to a particular community.
For some years, at least in cities, Deepawali has not been the festival that its name suggests. “Deep” or lamp with a wick is a rarity.There was a time when Deepawali meant rows of lit earthen lamps.The flames of the lamps used to flicker in the wind.Constant care had to be taken to stop them from getting extinguished. Wicks had to be adjusted or changed and oil had to be filled and refilled.
Electrical bulbs have now taken the place of earthen lamps.The bulbs do not require much care. Wind cannot extinguish them. Once you switch them on, they continue to give light in a pre-determined manner.The amount and colour of the light they emit is controlled. Whether and how much they will flicker is decided in advance. They do not require close and constant involvement and supervision.
Although they do not have the same impact as earthen lamps, electrical bulbs do give light. Light is what we love. So, as long as Deepawali remains the festival of lights, we will continue to enjoy it.