KOCHI: Fireworks, delicious sweets and new clothes, the North Indian community in Kochi is all set to celebrate Diwali with enthusiasm and fervour. The preparations have started at least a week in advance.
“For us, Diwali is all about observing traditions, pujas, ‘diyas’ (lights), gifts, sweets, and crackers. This year too, the festivities are already on,” said Aggarwal, former president, Aggarwal Samaj Kerala.
While Diwali is a one-day festival for Malayalis, it is a five-day long event for the Gujaratis and North Indian Communities. It starts with Dhanteras on Tuesday, the day considered auspicious for the business community.
“The festival marks purity, it cleanses our homes, business, minds and surroundings. The puja will begin in the evening and goes on till midnight,” said Aggarwal.Children are the most enthusiastic as they await new clothes, gifts of sweets, and enjoy with their friends. “My child has already made a plan of what all she would do on the eve of Diwali. She bought a new dress to wear for the occasion and she longs for the night so that she could play with the crackers and fireworks,” said Sanjeetha, a Kochi-based Gujarati, whose daughter is 11 years old. Meanwhile, for Reena Lalan, who belongs to the Gujarati community, this year, the festival will be without firecrackers. “We prefer to have an environment-friendly celebration this year. For the convenience of all the people in our Gujarati community, we will be celebrating Diwali on Saturday, as weekends are best suited for all here in Kerala. The routine pujas and traditions will be observed on Tuesday,” she said.
The festival culminates with Bhai Beej observed on the fifth day when sisters visit the home of brothers to celebrate Diwali. “The brothers pray for the well being of their sisters during the occasion. But, it is not similar to Rakhi day,” said Aggarwal.Dance, delicious traditional foods, sweets are all part of observing our celebration and we will be organising our celebrations at Central Square Mall on Saturday for the convenience of all to gather and celebrate from our community, added Reena.
The festival also marks a great business for sweet vendors. Though the sale of crackers has fallen in the city, the sweet vendors are having a great time this year too. From the irresistible taste of jalebi soaked in thick sugar syrup to Kaju Katli which loaded with all the essential vitamins, minerals and oxidants, there are many varities. The paneer jalebi is made of cottage cheese and fried in pure ghee.An exclusive box of Diwali sweets weighing half a kilo a costs around Rs 350 while a 1 kg box costs over Rs 600.