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36

 

Festivals--and "The Festival of Festivals"

 

Every year brought its treasure of special festivals and feast days; Zoroaster's birthday, Krishna's birthday, Christmas, and the Parsi New Year, all of which were celebrated according to custom, each bringing its particular dainty to be made and eaten; the traditional rice and dahl; sweets made of coconut, condensed milk and crushed wheat, with nutmeg, cardamom and cloves being used lavishly.

 

Divali, which comes in November, is perhaps the most beautiful of the Hindu festivals. It is the day when houses all over India are lighted by innumerable oil lamps to hail the New Year. Upper and lower verandahs, roofs, steps and window-sills are adorned with rows of tiny lighted earthenware bowls, terra cotta in color. Into each is poured a little oil and in it placed a lightly rolled wick of cotton fiber which burns for hours. Even the poorest dwellings have a few glimmering oil lamps, because it is believed that those who keep a dark house on Divali do not receive the gifts of the goddess of Fortune. A nation-wide display of fireworks is another predominant feature of this festival of lights. Incidentally, Divali also inaugurates the business New Year. All booths and shops are decorated, debts paid or cancelled and new account books are installed with a ceremony.

 

Baba shared with us in all these joyous occasions and would sometimes sit with us while we made preparations, which were many, for we made most of the decorations ourselves—crackers, lanterns, etc., keeping our minds on him throughout, our real pleas­ure and attachment to the work being to please Baba. Sometimes, on some special occasion, Baba would ask all to dress up in fancy dress, and this afforded much amusement and excitement, for we made our own costumes out of whatever the ashram possessed, and were thus kept busy for days ahead. On the day Baba would be ready at the given hour when we would all appear before him, and he would select the winner. What meant most to Baba was to see how much enthusiasm and interest we had taken in these preparations to please him. Baba so often emphasized that to please him was one practical way of showing our love for him, adding

 

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