Manali: Traditional ‘Buddhi Diwali’ (Dark Diwali) festival of Kullu valley in the district began on Sunday evening, and will continue for the next three days.
Across India, Diwali was celebrated on October 23, while in Kullu valley it is set to celebrate its age-old tradition after one month of the Diwali.
During the festival, people dance and sing folklore related to the epic Mahabharata through the night in front of bonfires.
According to Karjan villagers, the mythical reason for the delayed Diwali was that the news of Lord Ram’s victorious return to Ayodhya reached late in these parts, due to which it was celebrated late in few remote villages of the state, including Sirmaur, Kullu and Shimla.
Festivities of the ‘Buddhi Diwali’ starts on the first ‘amavasya’, or new moon of the lunar half, after the regular Diwali.
Joginder Rana, a resident of Karjan village (upper Kullu valley village), said in the district, the festival was celebrated to commemorate the killing of the demons, Dano and Asur, who resided there in form of snakes.
As per tradition, villagers take animals to a nearby temple where the sacrificial ceremony was performed on ‘amavasya’. The severed head was offered to the deities and the meat was taken home for cooking but right after the directions of the high court, villagers had shun the animal sacrifice activity and offered coconut to appease the deity.
“Buddhi Diwali festival is our rich cultural heritage, which reminds our epic culture of Ramayana, besides adopting modernity in the festival,” said another resident Joginder .
“According to the ritual, in day time people dance in long chain according to age and outsiders are not allowed to take part in the dance activity” he added.
In the series of the customary festivals in the district, the fiesta of ‘Buddhi Diwali’ commenced on Sunday night. During this festival, villagers would make Pahadi cuisines along with MOODA (mixture of wheat grains and bhang).
“It is an ancient festival and celebrated with complete traditional fervour. There are no communal difference in caste and creed in this festival,” said Surinder Singh, a resident from the upper valley of Kullu.
Budhi festival is marked by followers of sage Parusharam who is believed to have lived in Himachal Pradesh and did worship Lord Shiva.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.