Barwani, MP, Oct 27: Tribals in western Madhya Pradesh's Jhabau district celebrate Diwali, the festival of light, continuously for three months in their unique style.
There is a tradition in Barela tribe not to celebrate Diwali in case of death in the village. Under such circumstances, they celebrate the festival in the later months.
''This is not necessary that all the villagers celebrate the festival on the same day,'' Dr Nikunj, who has written several books on tribal life, told the sources here, adding that the tribals celebrate the festival as per their convenience.
Each tribal family celebrates Diwali for three days. On the first day, the house is cleaned and painted with cowdung, especially the Otala 'porch' of the house. Deepaks or 'Kawade' -- earthen lamps -- are also made from cowdung.
On the second day, cooked rice and pulses is offered to the guests, 'dhols (barrel drums)' played at night and crackers burst followed by dance and drinking party.
Tribals stop playing the 'dhol' after Holi and the practice is resumed during Diwali. A bottle of liquor is offered and a cock sacrificed to the music instrument before playing it.
Cattle is worshipped on the third day. Tribals wash their horns and paint them with geru (red soil) and milk. 'Bajra (millet)' with silver jewellery on it is offered too in order to appease the 'Goddess of wealth' Lakshami.
Male tribals touch the feet of bullocks after cladding in their turban and chant 'Khand Khand Kurrav'. The bullocks are made to run in the village and no work is taken from them.
''The festival concludes for the Barela tribals betweeb one and three months after Diwali concludes, according to the Hindu calendar,'' Government Post Graduate College Assistant Professor Sumer Singh Solanki said.
Village chiefs from 10-15 villages hold a meeting and decide the day for the festival.
''Other tribes such as Bheel, Tadavi and Bhilala also celebrate Diwali but not with as much significance as Barelas do,'' he added.
Diwali falls on 'Amavasya' -- the 15th day of the dark fortnight of 'Ashwin'-- and is also called as Deepavali, meaning a line of lamps. Being the festival of lights, Deepavali in India is a holy tradition and symbolises 'the victory of light over darkness', darkness refers to ignorance and light to knowledge.
It is a major Hindu festival honouring 'Maa Lakshmi' -- 'the Goddess of wealth'. Celebrated joyously all over the country, it is a festival of wealth and prosperity.
The magnificent five-day long jubilation of Diwali is marked by multi-colored rangoli designs, special pooja ceremonies, lines of lamps, floral decorations, fireworks, exchange of sweets and gifts that lend grandeur to the occasion.