The festival of lights, popular as Diwali worldwide, is an age-old festival celebrated by the Hindu community across the Indian Subcontinent and in numerous locations around the world. A wide number of traditions are associated with the celebrations of Diwali in the religions that have their roots in Hinduism, these religions primarily being Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. The rich cultural heritage of India intricately associated with its glorious past is reflected through these traditions. The tradition of playing cards is one of these widely practiced Diwali traditions, the ritual of playing cards being a part of the Diwali celebrations in almost all the Hindu homes in India as well as in other parts of the world where Diwali is celebrated with passion and zeal.
Religious belief about the tradition
The custom of playing cards on Diwali evolves from the common Hindu belief that goddess Laxmi, who blesses her devotees with wealth and prosperity, grins upon the winner and approves luck and fortune. For this reason, people celebrating Diwali await to become a part of this interesting tradition expressing their enthusiasm and joy by indulging into activities such as gambling. In fact, games those involve winning and losing of money by using playing cards, are enjoyed greatly by the people during Diwali. Winners look forward to winning more money whereas losers wait eagerly for becoming a winner.
Legend behind the tradition
The exciting legend, which started the ritual of playing cards on the festive occasion of Diwali involves a number of Hindu mythological characters. It is believed that on a Diwali night goddess Parvati was playing dice with lord Shiva, her consort. It was this night when she declared that persons gambling on the auspicious occasion of Diwali would receive her blessings for prosperity and wealth from the beginning to the end of the new year. People of the present day world are still enjoying this ancient ritual as a part of their Diwali celebrations. Card games like rummy and flush, which involve putting money on stake, are indispensable to the Diwali traditions even today.
Playing of cards on Diwali, as it is related to wealth and prosperity, is thought to be bringing in luck for the card players. Although gambling is a legal offence, yet on Diwali, approval for this activity is given to all. In fact, people go to the extent of declaring that persons not playing cards on this night would be born as a donkey in their next life.
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