An experience to remember

Ishita Roy

Suravi, organised by School and Mass Education Department GoO at Unit 9 Boy’s High School in Bhubaneswar is an annual event where children from across the state are empowered with different sets of skill sets.

Bakul Foundation had a workshop ‘Best Of Waste’ and it was an instant hit with children joining in to make it a platform for plenty of excitements and fun. The energy of the youngsters with their open and artistic minds, was very inspiring to us volunteers and the onlooking peers of visitors. ‘Best of waste’ workshop was aimed at opening the eyes of youngsters to the plethora of ideas which could be made by utilising waste products or materials which cannot be used again.

The preparation for this event was met with a lot of enthusiasm by the Bakul volunteers, with them giving much of their time on preparing and readying things beforehand for the event. With the help of them, we could get all the necessary preparations done to ensure the success of the event.

On the morning of 14th November, our volunteers met at the ‘Best of Waste’ workshop to set the materials up for children to use. Even before the event had started, we had children coming inside our tent, impatient to start on the crafts. For the first activity we wanted the children to make a sunflower out of plastic spoons. We let the older children make two big sunflowers as installations for people to see and get inspired by them. Our main objective was for people to not throw away things and instead make new things out of them. The activity was met with a fervour and energetic interest by the children.

For the next activity, we had the children make hats out of newspapers. They had a lot of fun making different types of hats, putting them on and getting their pictures clicked by our photographers. They kept us volunteers on our toes by asking for more newspapers to make more hats. Needless to say, we happily obliged.

On the next day, as per the weather prediction, we had heavy rainfall over our city. Though it did dampen our surroundings, it failed to dampen our enthusiasm. The children were equally interested that day as they were on the first day. We had them make wind chimes, pencil stands and mobile stands out of ice cream sticks. This was met with much fun and energy with the children, having received the freedom to paint their aforementioned crafts painted them in according to their imagination. By this time, our stall had a dazzling amount of colour and beauty to it from the objects crafted so meticulously by the children.

On 15th, our last day of Suravi, we had planned to make bags out of T-shirts, paper plate animals and weaving on CDs. The children were very enthusiastic to learn and had a lot of patience as they weaved intricate designs on the CDs, a feat many would’ve given up on. As an arts enthusiast myself, I enjoyed working with the children and helping them at every stage. We had Press come in to interview us on our objectives and aim and I had a great time telling them all about ‘Best of Waste’ and what it is all about. We had a lot of parents and adults come in and look at the many admirable crafts made by the students. Many showed interest in the crafts and asked us to tell them how the children made them.

At the end of the event, the children promised us that they would spread whatever they learned from us, to their school, their friends and their families. The mere image of watching the children take their crafts and walk out with large smiles on their faces, was enough to feel pretty proud of myself for doing something good and useful to the society.
The whole experience was very exhilarating for me and this was an experience I would never forget in my life.



By Harsha M

Set an alarm at 7 am. It’s definitely going to take me more than an hour to get ready, eat, and start off to the venue. As I woke up, I ran the checklist through my mind.
Have I made arrangements for transport? Yes.
Have I kept everything I need in the bag? Yes.
Have I informed the family of my plans? Yes.
After filling my mind’s early morning, anxiety-ridden questionnaire, I got ready and set out to meet the other volunteers at Suravi where we would spend the next three days with kids from all over the state and do our best to keep up with the standards of Bakul’s yearly performance at the children’s festival.

As the reader might’ve already pieced from the above paragraph, SURAVI is a children’s festival. It is organised by the Government of Odisha and Bakul lays claim on one of the many activity stalls that have been set up for the participating children. Our stall is based on the theme of ‘Best of Waste’ and we volunteers march in with our bright yellow T-shirts with the aim of teaching kids how to use substances which are deemed as waste products and create something useful or beautiful out of them. The substances in question may involve old t-shirts, milk/omfed packets, plastic spoons, tissue papers, newspapers, old CD’s, etc….and of course, the good ol’ ice cream sticks.
As our volunteers assumed the role of art teachers, the children of different ages and schools assumed the role of diligent students. With focused eyes and sharp ears deciphering our hindi, oriya and even broken oriya (where necessary), they turned waste into practicable items of everyday life. Some were so in awe of their own creations that they didn’t want to part with them while some others enjoyed the process so much that they created more and more of those objects until the clock made them leave.
We dealt with six groups of children over the course of three days and they too, respectfully dealt with us. The event ended with lots of newspaper hats, photo stands, sunflowers, wind chimes, key chains, woven discs, utility bags and beautiful installations which by now must be adorning Bakul’s library.

The three days went by faster than any of us thought. I guess constant activity does make time fly by fast. Atleast faster than the mind can think of the said phenomenon. And by the time, the mind has realised it, the event is over. Regardless of it all, this constant state of activity is what defined Suravi for me. It is a very different experience than most experiences but a fun one at that.

Yuva Minicon

The first Yuva MiniCon was held on 25 th February in Bhubaneshwar and the event was an instant hit with more than 100 change-makers joining in to make it a dazzling blend of motivation, fun and enthusiasm. The energetic energy of the youngsters with their open minds was very inspiring.Yumi Bae, UNICEF, Odisha talked about how UNICEF considered itself fortunate to have this chance to interact with young change-makers. She also expressed her desire to work for children’s education and health issues. Vishal Dev, Commissioner cum secretary, W&CD Department, Odisha motivated the young gathering and expressed his desire to interact with them to make Bhubaneswar a more smart city and identify the main issues related with the youth.

16938963_10155199619614994_2431333639508633660_nTanaya Patnaik a fun filled youth icon with her exuberant talk on volunteering spread radiance and fun in the evening. Mitu swain another change maker of Kandigaon shared his experiences on how he with the help of his friends worked to stop open defecation in there village.Chitra Arumugam conducted a very interesting activity which brought out an individual perspective towards volunteering. The evening was ushered in with stories of school going change-makers by Yashveer Singh, Director, Youth Venture, Ashoka that were instant hits with the gathering and sources of inspiration. Last but not the least Dr Shruti Mohapatra shared her success story with all, which was a very interesting experience.

Sabita patnaik thanked her on behalf of Bakul by rendering a poem written for her. The evening ended on a happy note with soulful music by young volunteers and refreshments.

I am a poet and this is my story

By Anshuman Dash

I am a poet and this is my story

An essence of existence;
a silent observer of the night
A shadow that flickers in the dark,
fleetingly imitating life
Ephemeral in presence,
I write my story tonight,
before fading away, silently,
Into a world filled with light

I am a poet and this is my story

I am you, I am them,
and still, I am I
A memory, a thought;
Subconscious of form,
As dreamt by  your mind
I am right,I am wrong;
a dreamer, a lover;
melancholy and forlorn;
damaged and torn
I am hope;  a believer
I am this, I am that;
An ideal, an idol
a reflection of perception,
a by-product of creation
I am invisible.

I am a poet and this is my story

Words are my enemy,
they are my friend,
my strength, my weakness
they help me comprehend
They are my feelings,
they are my thoughts
insignificant, inconsequential
They are all I’ve got
They break me , they make me,
bring it together, bring it all down
They are my voice, my silence,
my strength, when no one’s around

I am a poet and this is my story

I write for sorrow, I write for pain
I write to express, I write to paint,
I write to listen, I write to explain
I write to live with no refrain
I write for you ,I write for me,
I write for the rocks, I write for the trees
I write for the sky, I write for the breeze
I write for this world,
because I want to be free.

I am a poet and this is my story

The Toilet Seat

O Dear, Toilet Seat!

-Anshuman Dash

O dear, toilet seat!

The horrors you must have seen

Day in and day out

You’ve braved the foulest things

Yet your value no one understands

For they don’t see what you have

The big, the bad and the ugly

You’ve taken them all


In sickness and in health

Desert dry or soaking sweat

With open arms, no complaints

You’ve embraced them all

You’ve been used, and abused

For days and days

You’ve been screwed

Yet you’re there, pretending to care

O dear, toilet seat!

You’re the hero this world needs

But doesn’t really deserve you see?

I mean, who the hell is Christian Bale?

When you’re the Dark Knight for me

You’ve carried our asses like Atlas

Yet never put up a fight

And what do you get in return, my friend?

Loud farts and semi-digested shit from last night?

I fear,

O Dear!

I really really do

That some day, we’ll al wake up

And you’ll just be through

We’ve all been given choices

Choices we’re too short-sighted to see

Unlike the poor old toilet seat

Who’s never had a chance to be happy

So you see my dear friends

If You think you’ve got problems

Try taking shit every day

And then we’ll see what you say

So the next time you’re feeling low

Or you have had too much to eat

Remember my friend the Toilet seat

Sitting there silently

Who never had his say..

We create Change makers

This is about one of our Volunteer Vishan and things written about him by the prestigious Gandhi Fellowship Facebook Page.

We are proud of our Volunteers. No matter where they go and where they work, they leave footprints for many to follow.


Fellow: Vishan Pattnaik
Department: Engineering Physics
Current Fellowship Location: Churu

Why Vishan joined Fellowship: I was working in a company called ‘Capital One’ in Bangalore before the Fellowship. While the money was good, and the team I worked with was very good, I always felt a little cut off from society. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything for the good of the country. Also, I was never sure of what to do. The Gandhi Fellowship website said “Calling all those who are confused”. This caught my eye, and thus I applied and joined the Fellowship program.
Vishan explains why s/he joined Fellowship :The past one and a half years in the Fellowship have been incredible. From the first day of our induction, till today, each day has had new experiences. I have found so many new and amazing things here. Frisbee – which started out as just a simple sport, has become something I am really passionate about. My team is not just my work group; it is my support group, my peer group, and my friends group. My Program Leader has become someone I look up to and whose judgment I trust. Almost unexpectedly, the kids of my school have had a huge impact on me. Playing with these kids has helped me rediscover my innocence. Their unconditional love, patience and playfulness show me how simple life can be. Each day here feels different; each day is full of new challenges. These challenges don’t tire me, rather they motivate and energize me.

Vishan’s message to his JUNIORs : I joined the Fellowship even though I had a very safe life. It felt like a risk then, and I have not regretted it at all. If you are not happy with a ‘normal’ life, if you want to contribute to society but now sure where to start, or if you’re just looking for a fresh challenge; the Gandhi Fellowship is for you. Learn how to look at yourself, and understand the science of change. I can promise you it will be a life-changing experience.

Keep watching this space for more Fellow Stories. #changeonemillionlives

Courtesy:Gandhi Fellowship 

Santa Turns Green

IMG_4052 (Copy)  This Christmas, the Red and White Santa turned green as he joined hands with Dedi Loku (Tree Man in the Kui language), the green superhero to give tree gifts to people. Instead of the sledge pulled by reindeer, the Santa had a bullock cart which carried the saplings as well.

IMG_4155 (Copy)The Bullock Cart with Santa Claus and Dedi Loku moved from the Bakul Library in Satyanagar behind the Catholic Church to Janpath to shouts of “Gacha Neba Gacha, Santa Deuchi Gacha” by about 30 young college students, all volunteers of Bakul Foundation. The volunteers mobilized and motivated the curious onlookers to plant trees and take the saplings from them. About 300 medicinal plants and trees such as Bakul, Kanchan, Jamun and Amla.

IMG_4212 (Copy)This Tree for Free is an initiative under the My Tree Campaign of Bakul, which aims to create an emotional connect between individuals and trees by promoting individual ownership of trees. The main objective of the My Tree Campaign is to promote gifting and plantation of trees as a cultural practice where it becomes a part of the everyday lives of people.

The campaign, which started in 2009, has many components through which the idea of gifting trees is promoted. There is a campaign on social media in which hundreds of people have profile pictures with trees. Environmental Film Festivals and workshops have been organized in schools, colleges and apartments  to create awareness, and most importantly, to suggest how individually, each one of us can contribute to address the problem of climate change.IMG_4151 (Copy)

Tree for Free is an attempt to break the inertia that people have in planting trees. It comes from a realization that many want to plant trees but they keep procrastinating. Hence, this makes it easier by taking the saplings to the people. Many people in the city have not known the joy of planting a tree and seeing it grow. This initiative facilitates that and over 8500 saplings have been distributed so far to individuals, who have planted them. Many people have come back asking for more saplings after the excitement of seeing their tree grow.

IMG_4144 (Copy)The My Tree Campaign has received international recognition now, as it is being featured in an Exhibition from November 2014 to June 2015 in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, widely considered the Mecca for contemporary art and architecture. The curators of the exhibition interestingly identified the campaign as one of the very creative and impactful endeavours to address environmental challenges in urban areas in the world.

Photographs: Debi & Soumyajeet

Moments cherished forever; Many wishes came true being with Bakul

Sulagna Sivprava

Helping the underprivileged, seeing someone smile and many more was in my wish list. There were few things which I always wanted to do, right from my childhood, but neither did I have the right platform nor the opportunity.

Once in a while I did but the experience was never satisfying. There was this urge to do more, to spend more time, to do it more frequently. And today if I’m satisfied in that aspect of my life I certainly owe it to Bakul.

I got introduced to Bakul through a friend and since then though not a regular volunteer but as and when I got free time form my academic schedule I did whatever i could. I participated in few events and did few other regular chores.

In reality the pleasure and happiness you get from helping someone in need or making someone smile is more than the happiness you actually give. Bakul has given me that happiness and joy. Given me many cherishable moments, moments which I had always longed for. My experience and journey has been a very, very memorable one. My best wishes with Bakul and i am a proud Bakulite.

Sulagna during IDOS Event

Sulagna at Jiban Jyoti Ashram in May 2013 on International Day of Service

Swachh Bhubaneswar: A Post Diwali Gift by Bakulites

When, social media is flooded with posts and updates on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a couple of young volunteers in the temple city of Bhubaneswar, made their hands dirty by cleaning up the roads and streets post Diwali. Lets see what they say after serving a post Diwali Gift..


10411764_10152885833419994_9097669896628918763_n“It was the next day of Diwali, when leftovers of crackers and other stuffs had made the streets dirty and unhealthy. We found garbage every corner of road. We the Bakulites planned to be together to start the Swachh Bhubaneswar campaign.

By the time  reached morning in BAKUL where I saw only 4 volunteers. We were very few but we decide to start cleaning roads as soon as possible. Suddenly we found 8 more volunteers which was a mere encouragement. So we made 2 groups of 6 members each and started the work.

Our Team B was cleaning the area near SBI Colony in Sataynagar. We cleaned the adjacent road to SBI colony along with its premises.

As we know the chemical leftovers of crackers are harmful, we took precautions in collecting them. It was so untidy and full of garbage and wastes  in that area, it took some time to finish it up.

But out team effort made it happen and within a span of 2 hours we completed cleaning that area. The local municipality, BMC has sent its garbage disposal vans which collected the garbage we had cleaned for dumping.

The best part of this act was our coordination, as we complemented each in our work. When i was sweeping the roads, Aarkaja was collecting it and putting all garbage at one place. However, Deepsha was multi-tasking by cleaning and in the same time clicking photos and obviously for facebook. Chandan bhai, was a guide and that worked in properly managing the work and Aarya and Sasmita was a great help in again cleaning and collecting garbage.

Later the neighborhood treated us with water and soft drink which was definitely a relaxation yet satisfying. The cleanliness drive was definitely a learning experience for us and an eye opener for others as well. the neighbors were quite inspired with our post diwali gift, and we wish next year they will adopt this idea of cleaning.

I would like to urge that cleanliness of our surrounding is not always something that we will wait for the government to do. our society is as important as our house and our duty is to make it clean. The roads we use, the parks we sit, the neighbourhood we live, is for us and its our duty to clean it.

I again urge everyone to Clean your surroundings, Plant enough trees and make less pollution because it’s our environment that matters. If environment is fit we will be fit forever.


10458344_10152885832054994_1593852007713568381_nIt was indeed a different experience. I could perceive different shades of personalities in our team. The A Team was considted of Ashlesha Nayak, Siddhant Nayak, Amrita Bal, Abarna Sindhu, Raiman Naik, Samant, Subash Bhai and myself.

We started at about 11:30am in the morning. While cleaning the roads, someone from the neighbourhood saw us cleaning the mess, offered us bottle of water, refilled twice and smiled.

A bunch of aunties were impressed but asked whether we were doing this to impress Narendra Modi which was obviously hilarious. and a young guy also complimented them and the uncle asked us in satire “KAL V AAOGE ? We believe that People everywhere are cynical, and making them believe and involving them in the process is the challenge what we should take up.

We cleaned the mess as much as we can but real impact or at least a dent may happen only if we involve the people of the neighborhood or they take up this issue of cleaning voluntarily no matter any politician urge them to do.

Team Bakul on Post Diwali Clean Up Drive

Team Bakul on Post Diwali Clean Up Drive

Diwali: Some things to Ponder

Lokesh, a 16 years old talented singer of Bilaspur, Madhyapradesh lost his hearing power because of a sudden explosion during Diwali leaving his dreams half way. Munni, lost her right palm while playing with the leftovers of Diwali. She had made beautiful clay models and decorated her small hut in a railway siding slum in Nagpur. Kamalesh Singh of Delhi, an honest auto driver, lost his house in a slum fire cause by crackers post Diwali. He was having a family of 8 members who later, preferred the railway platform.


Photo: Ananta Prasad

True Stories like this will never end, if you start writing about people who are victims of carelessness of few people celebrating Diwali. Here, we are trying to urge the fellow people not to be the reason of somebody’s pain by celebrating Diwali with crackers.

When everyone is mad with the Diwali fever, starting from Social Media updates to grabbing the Diwali discounts to buying the Crackers and family get together, the other side of Diwali is being washed away and many remains victims of it.

Karuna Mehta an environmental activist says, “Firecrackers should be banned as they cause a number of health hazards. People come down with all sorts of respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Air and noise pollution are also the side effects of firecrackers that are responsible for various injuries. The smog that is created on Diwali is responsible for a number of accidents due to reduced visibility.”


Photo : Ananta Prasad

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-profit organization, awareness should be created for the masses. People need to understand that bursting firecrackers is not trendy anymore. It is important for the government to organize anti-firecracker campaigns and discourage people from bursting firecrackers. Parents as well as children should be educated on the harmful effects of firecrackers and environmental laws should be implemented strictly.

Observing that the ‘Right to Sleep’ is a fundamental right, the government of India has banned firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am, on Diwali. The effect of this ban has been very positive and the sale of firecrackers has considerably gone down.

The Central Pollution Board of India has banned firecrackers with a decibel level of more than 125 at a distance of 4 meters from the bursting point. There has also been a considerable effort to do away with the infamous 1000 chain bombs.

Let each one of us take a pledge this Diwali to say NO to firecrackers and invest in a safer and greener future. Diwali is the festival of lights and we must enlighten our lives with the sparkle of joy and goodwill, forget past grievances and look ahead towards a brighter and happier future.

Lets Pledge for a safe and happy Diwali.. Lets Join Hands and clean our reoads post Diwali.

Join us at bakul Foundation, 16, Satya Nagar, Bhuabneswa on 24th October at 10am. For RSVP call 9937052417.

Lets bring Happiness on Diwali !!!


Team Bakul

Story Compiled by Ananta, Volunteer


See though their Eyes !!! 


Aarkaja, Volunteer

I’m not against the celebration as such. We all look forward to festival days. Like holi means festival color and Diwali means sky full of light. It is not a crime to burst a cracker but we need to understand the effect of our action.

Honestly speaking I enjoyed bursting crackers it has its own charm too but certain things that I realised lately altered my definition on Diwali. Two years back I got a new fish tank and filled it with colorful fishes. It was lovely. I live in the top floor of my building yes I get the best view of the surroundings but it has drawbacks too. On Diwali day we all went upstairs to enjoy ourselves. I almost forgot about my shiny friend in my fish tank. When I returned back what I saw is my fish tank filed with 12 dead fishes. It was heartbreaking.

I didn’t realise that being in the top floor the sound was maximum in my house and as a result the delicate creatures stuffed. The very next year I stopped cracker busting. By that time I got a new Pet Puppy. During the Diwali I never knew it would frighten her so much. She was shaking and yelling in a corner. It was another effect a felt. I took precautions for my fishes but didn’t know it would affect my Pet Puppy so much too.

My friend’s sister who is suffering from down syndrome and is mentally challenged suffers a lot due to the sound. She cries and screams throughout the evening. I was shocked, not because I didn’t know this but because I never thought this through. I near thought my enjoyment for few hours will be someone’s nightmare. I’m not saying to stop celebrating the festivals just think it through. Have a stroll in the streets  post Diwali day and see the heavy pollution which is hazardous.

For me enjoying Diwali is with family by eating tasty foods, Cooking new stuffs or planning a family time together as it is always great fun. The very definition of the festival of lights says bringing light but not sending someone into dark.

Kuch Mitha Ho Jaye …


Partha, Volunteer

My childhood Diwali experience was full of disgrace for not having enough crackers to burn but later, my parents made me realize the unnecessary wastage of money and pollution. Though being demanding I could realize it off late and now I spread the message of safe diwali.

I must say not only pollution rather birds like pigeons also die because of their soft heart who can’t bear heavy sounds. Simply speaking the conventional Diwali we are celebrating now creates sound, air , noise pollution, affects animals birds, wastage of money and finally it creates garbage.

I do help my mother lightning diya and like seeing her face through lights, what can be a better celebration other than this. Yes i do eat loads of sweet and my Diwali goes with lots of sweetness within.

Diwali in my Style 🙂


Anannya, Volunteer

Four years ago during this time of the year I took an informed choice; not to fire crackers. Of course my buddies found it ridiculous. Well, my decision stemmed from the fact that every year the planet’s temp is rising. The atmosphere is getting polluted day by day with poisonous gasses. Bronchitis, Nausea, Lungs Cancer are few diseases that are the result of polluted air we take in.

The fire works making industry employs poor children whose life is at stake. Secondly, are we planting enough trees to counteract the amount of pollution we create every year. Obviously No. With this in mind I decided to celebrate Diwali in my own way. Rangolis, floating candles, flower patterns, pastries, gulab jamuns are things I greet my Diwali with. I believe we do not need to preach people, just educate them. At the end of the day it’s a simple choice that the individual makes.

Diwali means indian pollution day


Manyapu Vivek 

Until 2008, I loved fire and I loved to burn all types of crackers, specially the dangerous ones. My father got learnt all skills from my grandfather about making of almost all types of crackers. We all used to spend our Dussehra holidays in my native i.e. Srikakulam, A.P. and from there, daddy bought the required materials for cracker making. After returning home we all sit together and help daddy in making crackers.

But one day I asked amma (Mom), why we actually celebrate Diwali. She narrated the mythological story of Ramchandra’s victory over Ravan and Satyabhama killing Narakasur which ultimately means victory of lights over darkness. Daddy replied, it’s for our enjoyment only. Then I thought, what a kind of species we humans are, just for our sake of enjoyment we are killing other innocent plants and animals, and ultimately kicking our Mother Nature into death.

I also heard from my father that, many people in the streets compete with each other in burning the crackers. My blood boiled high. Our Mother Earth is dying and people are celebrating without any care. I even asked few of my friends not to burn crackers, but the replied making a joke of me that how we can stop burning, it comes once in a year only, and it’s a tradition.

I was feeling helpless but I determinately stopped celebrating Diwali from 28th October, 2008 and started calling this day as Indian Pollution Day. I made up my mind to never burn crackers even in functions/marriages. I like to see movies using earphones that day to get rid of the noise. The boy, who once loved fire and crackers so much, now hates them to the extremes.

Manmade Disaster !!!


Ananta Prasad, Volunteer:

When i was in graduation, there was a kid (dwarf) staying in my neighbour house who had this phobia for heavy sounds. One marriage procession was going with lots of crackers having heavy noise and next day that kid was hospitalised. This was the other reason which kept me away from celebrating Diwali with crackers since my childhood.

When i think of my experience with Diwali, i remember, it was 7th November 1999 and i was in Jagatsinghpur which was completely devastated due to Super Cyclone. For the first time i had seen no happiness for a festival like Diwali. Children were crying not for crackers but for the basic needs which were completely washed away in the man-eating cyclone. I was returning from Jagatsinghpur to Puri crossing Cuttack and Bhubaneswar and had experienced the sudden change of emotions and people celebrating and burning crackers all through the roads and on high way. That was one of the reasons i left celebrating Diwali without crackers.

Last year when the whole country was celebrating Diwali the festival of lights, many houses were in dark in Berhampur due to Cyclone Phailin. I have faced so much of darkness of people now, the festival of lights which is more of symbolic seems meaningless.

But the most annoying thing that i have realised always seeing the leftovers of Diwali post the festival and which is harmful. Diwali in many places and in major cities have caused massive fire in slums and villages so for me the massive use of crackers and that to without any precaution is just a manmade disaster.

Interesting Facts & Trivia About Diwali

  • Diwali is the largest and most famous holiday celebrated in India. It marks the Hindu New Year.
  • In Northern India, with the diminishing use of Sanskrit, the word ‘Deepavali’ got contracted to Diwali.
  • Diwali is generally associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
  • Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days beginning in late Ashwin and ending in early Kartik.
  • In South India, Diwali is referred to as ‘Deepavali’ while Narakasura Vadha is the main celebration day.
  • In Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama after a 14 year exile according to North Indian traditions but down south, the death of the evil Narakasura at the hands of Lord Krishna is the main reason behind celebrating Diwali.
  • In Malaysia, Diwali is celebrated as ‘Hari Diwali’ in the month of Aswayuja. It is a national public holiday in Malaysia.
  • Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and is referred to as ‘Tihar’ or ‘Swanti’. On the fourth day, the Hindu God of death, Yama is worshipped for a longer life of the people.
  • Diwali is celebrated as ‘Kali Puja’ in West Bengal by worshipping Goddess Kali.
  • Diwali is one of the oldest rituals for Kashmiri Pundits. There is mention of Diwali celebrations in the Nilmat Puran, and is referred to as ‘Sukhssuptika’ which literally means ‘to sleep with happiness’.
  • Diwali celebrations in Orissa have a unique traditional practice of calling upon the spirits of their dead ancestors. They burn jute stems to shed light on the dark path of the spirits on their way to heaven.
  • Gambling during Diwali is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.
  • Diwali marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter. Farmers thank the deities for the harvest they had and pray for a prosperous harvesting season in the upcoming year.
  • Diwali is also a significant festival for the Sikhs since 1577 as the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali.
  • The business community celebrates Diwali by opening new accounting books. Diwali marks the beginning of the new financial year; hence, traders and businessman start it by offering prayers to Lord Ganesha.
  • Lord Mahavira attained his Moksha or Nirvana on the day of Diwali, and so the Jain community in India celebrates the next day of Diwali as New Year’s Day.
  • “Shubh Deepavali” is a customary greeting associated with Diwali, which literally means “Have an auspicious Diwali”.