Every year you wake up early in the morning on Deepavali and take the customary oil-bath. With half-sleepy eyes, you almost follow the whole process mechanically before moving on to the exciting part of the day – bursting fire crackers. There are a few traditions that Chennaiites hold close to heart and the traditional abhyang snan on Deepavali is one of them. The benefits of such a bath are well known — apart from removing the heat from the body and being beneficial for the skin and eyes, it also helps your hair grow well and reduces blood pressure.
Before heading for the bath, traditional Chennai households take out the carefully-stored can of ganga jalam (water from the Ganges) and add it to the water. Old-timers state that this holy water purifies the mind and soul. The holy water symbolises the end of the evil powers. Since abhyang snan is taken before the sunrise it is considered as holy as taking bath in the river Ganges.
This is followed by the consumption of special lehigyam termed as ‘Deepavali Marundhu’. The unique health-care dish, forms a part of the elaborate menu of sweets and savouries for every Diwali. Preparation of Deepavali Marundhu is thoughtfully set as simple with easily available ingredients at a short notice. This time-tested remedy for indigestion is made up of combination of effective natural elements and herbal spices. Positively it takes care of our digestion discomforts associated with chances of overeating.
After having abhyang snan, women draw rangolis near verandas and place diyas (lamps). Lampshades signify the arrival of the festival. Children burst crackers. Families enjoy eating sweets and snacks together. Youngsters and adults go to temples to seek the blessings of the higher power. Diwali fills every heart with joy and excitement.