People living in the remote and far flung areas of Himachal Pradesh are celebrating belated festival of lights that is ‘Budhi Diwali’, which falls today. According to local taboo it follows a month after festival of lights.
The festival famous as ‘Budhi or Andheri Diwali (dark festival of lights)’ falls every year on first ‘amavasya’ (moonless night in Hindu calendar) that is just one month after Diwali.
It is celebrated in Ani and Nirmand areas of Kullu district, Shillai, Sangrah and Rajgarh of Sirmaur and Chopal of Shimla district. In Kullu district, it is celebrated to commemorate the killing of demons Dano and Asur, who resided there in the form of snakes.
On this day people sing folk songs and please their deities scarifying or slaughtering animals with religious fervor and gaiety along with beating of drums and blowing of trumpets.
People states that there were mythological legend or reason behind this festival. They said that since the news of well being and return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after conquering Ravana was late in these land locked regions, therefore, they used to celebrate Diwali belated that to rest of the world.
This old taboo and superstitions in the economical backward parts of state heavily cost on poor and economically weaker sections as they are being forced to compete with well to do on the name of religion, myth and traditions.
‘Budhi Diwali’ is being celebrated after giving a party to the entire public in which every house atleast contribute one goat. But as all houses today could not afford contribution of animal for joint celebration, it forces them to lend money or animal from others.
But this time all the employees of Giri Paar area have decided to come forward for this cause as they would donate one day salary to organize an awareness camp at Jailbhoj area of Shillai tehsil to change the costly tradition and custom of the people after reforming and making amendments in the costly expenditure.
The local people calling their relatives and friends to celebrate the festival in which lakhs of rupees are spent on sacrificing goats and sheep while the residents are unable to make such costly expenditures under the present circumstances.
The press secretary of the Hatti Kalyan Samiti, employees association Sant Ram Sharma is launching a drive from November 5 to educate and make the residents of 125 panchayats of Giri Paar area aware to change the old superstitions which cost heavily on the pockets of poor.
President of the Hatti Employees Welfare Committee Gian Singh Chauhan said that they visited Sataun, Kaffota, and Timbbi villages and distributed the draft that there is not compulsory dictates to contribute in the party after taking debts or loan.
He said that it would reduce the financial burden from the brains of the local public and made them free from any loan being taken during festival on very costly interest from the local people.
The festival also has a brighter side, the locals clean their houses, purchase utensils, bangles and clothes and cook special dishes. However, the animal protection groups and religious leaders have demanded that the illegal practice of animal sacrifice should be stopped.