Deepavali ‘the festival of lights’ is always enchanting – an occasion to wear new clothes, eat sweets, burst crackers, be with friends and relatives – a festivity which brings enjoyment…. – the festival was grandly celebrated all over the country today (29th Oct 2016). In the recent years, there has been some attempt to wean away people as some keep saying that ‘enthusiasm towards fireworks is going down; spiralling prices have forced people to buy less of firecrackers; the pollution awareness is swaying public away from crackers and the like……….’. In today’s context, at some places, people get glued to the cinemas and other special programmes the multitudes of TV channels present…. nothing to speak about reluctance to call it Hindu festival, still encashing by showing movies and cine-related programmes calling it ‘holiday – special’ ~ this year, it was Deepa Oli Thirunaal… !!!
In neighbouring Srilanka, National Deepavali Festival was held on Friday evening under the patronage of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The President along with the Prime Minister giving priority to the religious ceremony offered their best wishes to the Hindu people in Sri Lanka, reports the Colombo Page. Wickremesinghe issued a message on the occasion and said that Deepavali is the Festival of Lights that expels darkness when symbolic lights are lit in Hindu homes. The Prime Minister said, "In a world filled with darkness that divides us along ethnic, religious and political affiliations, Deepavali reminds us that we should strive to light the fire of fellowship among all mankind." He added that the festival assures us that there is hope of good triumphing over evil.
Down under, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wished happy “Deepavali” to the Indian community living in Australia, saying the festival is a powerful reminder that our society is greatly enriched by its diversity. Stating that Diwali is one of the most important events of the Hindu calender, observed since ancient time, Turnbull said the occassion was “deeply embedded in traditional culture, when families and friends gather together to light diyas, share gifts, and celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.”
Thiruvallikkeni, the abode of Lord Venkata Krishnan is different – it boasts of the Temple sung by 3 Azhwars ~ innumerable days of festivals; crowds thronging to have darshan of Lord Parthasarathi inside the Temple, and more gathering to have His darshan during the ‘thiruveethi purappadus’. Each year, Deepavali coincides with the 10 day uthsavam of Swami Manavalamamunigal, the Great Acharyar of Srivaishnavism; our beloved Acharyar propogated Thennacharya Sampradhayam. Generally it would be 4th or 5th day of the Uthsavam and this year it was today 29th Oct 2016 – 4th day of Sri Manavala Mamunigal Uthsavam. On this day, Triplicanites eagerly look forward to the evening purappadu of Num Acharyar with Sri Parthasarathi.
In Chennai and in all parts of Tamil Nadu, it is not unusual to have rains during this season. Last year, Chennai reeled under excessive rains. Last year on Deepavali day, when purappadu began, at South Mada Street, there was deluge of fire crackers and colourful fireworks that lit the sky. .. but at adjacent TP Koil St., rain interrupted and there was to be chinna mada veethi purappadu only.
This year the grand purappadu of Swami Manavalamunigal with Sri Parthasarathi Swami beaming His resplendent splendour started around 19.00 hrs – it was the lighting provided by the fireworks of various hues. There were ‘scores of 10000 wallahs, the sky lit with latest fireworks’ - with hundreds walking along having His darshan and enjoying the fireworks. Here are some photos taken during the purappadu
Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
29th Oct 2016.