The fact that Diwali and Halloween coincide with each other has slowly become the bane of my Mother’s life.
This time of year is an endless struggle between you trying to decorate your house with cobwebs in time for Halloween; whilst your Mom is trying to clean them up in time for Laxmi Devi.
On TikTok, I recently watched a video of a girl cooking Butter Chicken as a staple Diwali Dish for her family. The comments were an eruption of judgement as people questioned whether eating meat on Diwali is even ‘allowed’ whilst others were determined to moral police her actions.
Is meat ‘wrong’ or just ‘wrong’ on Diwali? Surely if you think eating meat is wrong, then it should be wrong all the time. If you eat meat, then you shouldn’t stop on Diwali. I don’t think you can mould your views to fit a part of the religion that doesn’t actually resonate with you. Eat meat, or don’t, the decision has to be yours and not influenced by angry comments on TikTok.
Having said that, do all Indian kids have a weird relationship with meat?
Perhaps a big part of being Indian is being vegetarian, with an occasional lapse of judgement. And your one Gujurati friend who sucks the fun out of everything by telling you which sweets have gelatine in them, alongside anything else that gives you joy.
In the Gita, Krishna said he doesn’t think we should eat meat because we should be thoughtful towards every single living being on the planet. Krishna was voicing an opinion, the decision is left to the reader.
But the fact that Hinduism is left wide open for interpretation is one of the main reasons why it will never be a mainstream religion in prison.
Did you know that Pandits (Priests) from Kashmir have moulded a tradition of eating meat during Diwali because lamb is the only food they have access to during the winter months?
On Diwali, the entire village comes together to eat lamb.
In Bengal, worshippers will offer Maa Kaali garlands of meat. Although, many Hindus have branded this as unacceptable because it involves sacrificing the animal.
It’s fair to say that Diwali celebrations come in all shapes and sizes. For example, in North India Diwali marks Shri Ram returning from Ayodha after winning the Battle against Raavan In Lanka.
Diwali, the festival of light, is believed to fall on the darkest night of the year. Many Hindu’s from Eastern India celebrate Maa Kaali during the festive period because Diwali usually coincides with Amavasya, which means ‘no moonlight.’
Maa Kaali is a powerful Devi. In Hindi, ‘Kaali’ means Auspicious and translates to Time in Sanskrit.
She is a controversial figure adorned with skulls representing the Sanskrit alphabet, and her tongue is used to capture the blood of demons. Maa Kaali represents Shakti and female power.
She is a cosmic energy that fights for justice and destroys evil.
So, whilst I don’t think I have figured out the most Indian thing about me, it is a work in progress.
But who knows? Maybe the most Hindu thing about me could be the power of Maa Kaali that resides in all of us.