During this time, women decorate their homes with rice paintings and sand mandalas; the men light clay lamps in the hopes of showing their ancestors the pathway to heaven. The children shoot off fireworks in the streets. Dawali is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. It is a special time, a perfect time for family gatherings, foods, and celebrations when everyone greets their familiy members and friends, forgetting and forgiving the wrongdoings which have been done during the year. Individuals take an oil bath, prepare sweet meats, and pray to Kali to destroy their ignorance as well as to grant their wishes. The night sky is lit with fireworks to chase away the evil spirits.
This Kali festival is also Mother's Day in India, a time when Indian women are presented with gifts of new clothing and jewelry and are also treated with a great reverence. Temples dedicated to Kali are freshly painted and glow with glittering lights at night, and offerings of cooked rice and curd are brought in pots for Kali. A "puja" (worship of a consecrated idol) ritual is performed in the evening when the clay lamps are lit A "puja "is believed to harness cosmic energy or spiritual goals. This rutual involves the use of all the five senses: sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. It can be quite an exciting experience with its colorful flowers and fruits, incense sticks and other fragrances, the sounds of conch shells, sacred hymns and songs.
"If one offers me a simple leaf, fruit, or flower with love and devotion, I will accept it."--Bhagvad Gita"
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