My dear Mary,
I was glad to read your letter a few days ago, but as I was busy with Diwali celebrations in the family, I could not write to you earlier than this.
Diwali is a religious festival in my country. It is celebrated more for religious purposes than for amusement and excitement. However, quite a few people who celebrate Diwali haven't the faintest: idea of what it is all about. They just go in for entertainment.
This festival is celebrated with lamps, candles, and fireworks. It is an occasion of great beauty, and lamps, candles and crackers are to be seen everywhere. Toy sky rockets are fired and most of the houses are decorated with blinking neon lights.
No one moves about in ordinary clothes. Everyone wears special clothes. Most of the parents are indulgent and join the children in the festivities.
Some firecrackers explode with a pop, while others make the sound of a miniature explosion. The light of the sparklers is pretty intense. At times it is thrown over a radius of five to ten yards. As almost everyone lights sparklers, there is light everywhere and the night is turned into the day.
Neon lights of every colour and shape are to be seen in houses and shops and other places. Children have a very enjoyable time. They light all sorts of fireworks, some of which, when thrown into the sky, explode into hundreds of fragments of bright light as dazzling as the stars.
The elders of the family perform Pujas. The Lakshmi puja is performed on a grand scale. Especially the business community carries out this puja with pomp and show. All the accounts for the year are settled and the new accounts are opened on the New Year. Gifts are given to Brahmins and alms to the poor. Friends and relatives are invited to lunch or dinner, and the exchange of gifts is made.
Please convey my regards to your parents. Hoping to see you soon in our midst, I am,
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