Pumpeii : An ode to the past

Pumpeii : An ode to the past

The ritual plate includes Sindoor (Vermillion), Haldi (Turmeric), Beetle leaf, ground rice, water and Prashad.

Diwali is the festival of lights and traditions and a multitude of fun. Speaking of long-standing traditions, a very prominent part of Diwali for the people of Odisha is the Pumpeii.

Pumpeii is celebrated on the eve of Diwali with a pious atmosphere. The ritual must be performed before any firecrackers are lit. The first Phuljhari is to be lit by the ritual's fire. The central idea of the ceremony is to bid a happy and fruitful afterlife to the ancestors of a family. It is very similar to the Shradh ceremony held in Hindu families.
Plate of Blessings
A remarkable part of the ritual is the burning of Kaunrias, which are stems of jute tree that have been stripped of the fibres. This acts as a metaphorical lamp for the ancestors to be guided to the land of living and bless their descendants. The ceremony carves itself as simplistic and holy for people of Odisha.
Embers of nostalgia

There are similar rituals for neighbouring states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh etc. The occasion is marked as a new beginning for the ancestors as well as their descendants on earth. The kitchens burst with the aromas coming from an array of sweetmeats and Pithas.

A well-known fact is that an Odia festival is never complete without a form of Pitha. People pray for a prosperous and healthy life with the forebears watching over them. Children are encouraged to learn about these traditions and are told about their brave and wise predecessors.
Lighting the path together

Now-a-days, fads from westernization have put a damper on all the traditional rituals as many opt to forego them. But Pumpeii continues to bring light to the hearts of many as a connection to their past traditions and cultures.
Below is a podcast that highlights the sentiments of a father and grandfather on Pumpeii and childhood nostalgia.
Podcast- Pumpeii : A nostalgia for generations

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