Diwali is one of the main celebrations of the Indian people. I am recording this as folklore to examine Sudharams own personal experience surrounding the holiday. The celebration is a festival of lights and literally means happiness. There are several unique customs that occur surrounding this holiday. For example, if you are a business man several things are practiced including closing the financial books for the past year and opening new ones. Also, as a business man you pay respects to a goddess known as Lakshmi who is the goddess of money for more prosperity and fortune in your life. Some practices even rival that of Christmas in the United States, people often cleaned their house and decorated with candles on the outside. Children also receive gifts from their family members. At the end the whole family gets together and eats. There is also a practice known as Pujja where people go to a temple and there is a fireplace known as a Havana, everyone proceeds to close their eyes and chants.
For Sudharam he emphasized the experience with his family. He recalls in particular how his grandmother being the eldest one in the family made the entire meal for his family. She makes a sweet known as Halwa which is made from wheat. She also makes a dish known as aloo-puri, which is a potato like vegetable mixed with gravy. You take the halwa and dip it into the aloo puri. This particular dish is eaten by his family every year.
Sudharam believes that this holiday reflects the true spirit of familial love, especially for him. He truly enjoyed the time he got to spend with his family. The practice of a business man closing his books, as his father did, he believes shows the acceptance of a new year and the probability of bringing in new revenue and new chances to succeed.
Personally I feel the holiday reflects the importance of family in our lives. This holiday is a perfect way to be able to come together and celebrate with your loved ones. I did find the practice of business men opening new books a very odd practice, but feel it could be a sign of turning over a new leaf and beginning the new year off with a clean slate. The fact that this celebration focuses on happiness displays a very optimistic outlook on life from their perspective.
Annotation: Ganeri, Anita. Hindu Festivals Through the Year. Smart Apple Media: 2003.