The Tradition Of Sending Greetings On Diwali

A review of the manner in which we share greetings with our near and dear ones on social festivals, helps us document the manner in which our society and its culture is changing. Changes in the manner people have been sharing their greetings with their friends and relatives on the festival of Diwali provides an indication of the changing Indian society.  
The Tradition of Sending Greetings on Diwali
Source - Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AGreeting_cards_for_Shubh_Diwali_India_2012.jpg)

Next to the New Year, Diwali is the most important occasion to send and receive greeting, if you are in India. This tradition of sending greetings on Diwali has taken deep root within the social culture and has become a tradition for the businesses as well. Earlier most people used to send Greetings cards. However, this glorious tradition of greeting in absentia is gradually beginning to change with SMS, e-mails, virtual cards and now whatsapp messages getting preference.

 

Personal Greeting on Diwali

Traditionally, since ancient times, meeting our near and dear ones, particularly in the neighborhood, was a tradition followed in all

social festivals, biggest of which was Diwali, at least, in North India. After decorating one’s house with lights, and completing the devotional prayers, people come out to visit neighbors, and maybe, move around the locality to see the glory of lights in the dark night. It is usual, even now, to prepare or buy sweets for visitors coming for Diwali greetings. It is usual for workers to come and greet their seniors. Domestic servants, maids, local service providers, post-men all come to say ‘Happy Diwali’, and must be greeted with sweets and presents.

Greetings in Absentia

How a days, people are often too busy to be able to make personal visits., especially with people often living far away from their close family members and friends. When you are not able to meet a dear one in person, a nice card with a handwritten message is the second best alternative. It shows that you remember and that you do care. Traditionally, Diwali is the time when you would be expected to do that.

This tradition of sending cards is today one of the most important ways in which people express their feelings to those whom they cannot meet. People send cards to their parents, children, siblings, close relatives, even distant relatives, friends and others to whom they wish to communicate their affection. While telecommunication is becoming affordable now a days, cards still have their own aura. The fact that someone took the pains to buy a card, write a personal message and post is to always a nice thing to know.

The Tradition of Diwali Cards

During the weeks prior to Diwali, one can find a flood of cards in the market, with various designs, pictures and messages along with the words, "Happy Diwali" or "Happy Deepawali". The most common designs and pictures are those depicting Diwali lights, 'deepak' or earthen lamps, and firecrackers, representing the festival of lights. One can find all kind of cards, from as cheap as a Rupee to as expensive as Rs.100 (around 2 US$). Inside the card would be scribed a message of goodwill or a poem on Diwali. Religious symbols like 'Om' or 'Swastika' which denote divinity are also very commonly used to design these cards, as


are the images of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi, who are worshipped on the occasion of Diwali.

Sending cards to all your well-wishers is also a task in itself. Some restrict it to very close relatives and intimate friends. Others send it to all their relatives and friends, sometimes requiring hundreds of cards. Such people often prefer to get their own Diwali cards printed with their name, address and message printed on the card. Those having the luxury of assistants or secretaries can take their help in this project, while others try to involve their spouse and kids to help them.

Liasioning Opportunity for Businesses

For businesses and enterprises, cards are an economic way to occupy attention and renew relations with associates. It is not uncommon to find yourself receiving many cards from businesses and corporations. In this ocean of cards, very often it is difficult to reciprocate, especially since by the time you get the card, there is hardly any time left to respond back with a greeting.

Traditionally, Diwali is a time for family reunions. During the earlier days, those who are unable to join their family would express their feelings and disappointment through a letter. However, with the advent of telephone, letters are gradually losing their popularity. Ever since the sixties and seventies, Diwali cards became a popular option of conveying that you care as also a means to remain in touch. The practice reached its zenith in the nineties reaching even the villages and rural families. However, in the new millennium, as cost of telecommunication fell, so has the practice of Diwali cards.

Changing Times

These days, a lot of people, particularly those belonging to the younger generation, prefer to send Diwali greetings using the electronic media. Perhaps the most common is SMS, which can be broadcast to a large number of people with one click. There are, of course, other ways, some of which offer a chance of more personalized greetings. Another common way is to send electronic greeting cards through e-mails. There are numerous websites that allow this facility, and they are all popular. Recently, whatsapp messages, addressed to a close group of friends, is another very popular way of extending Diwali greetings.

Yet, Diwali card will not become extinct. In fact, today, sending a card with a message in your handwriting means something special. So, even while the quantity wanes, the significance and relevance of Diwali cards is still not lost.



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