Colourful Celebration of Prabarana Purnima
WOW! The long awaited day finally came. We were all waiting to celebrate Prabarana in a joyous mood. We were very excited because we planned to make fanoosh (paper balloons) this year. We remained busy collecting the implements. We needed bamboo, paper, glue made by flour paste, pieces of clothes and candles. We started working from the previous day with full of energy and interest. But why do we make fanoosh and celebrate Prabarana?
The festival is also called Ashwini Purnima. The Buddhist monks lead a religious life living inside the pagoda from the Bengali month of Ashar to Ashwin. This is the time of self realization and self-restraint. This day reminds us to exclude all faults and receive all pure and holy duties.
'Life' according to Buddhism is 'suffering'. Suffering dominates all life. No being is free from the bond of misery. It is a universal truth no one can deny. Lord Buddha left his palace, his family, and all the luxuries and comfort to discover the reasons of sorrows. As he became a devotee of religion, he shaved his head and flew his hair in the sky with the strong determination of attaining supreme felicity. The fanoosh is flown in a dignified manner to symbolize this wise thought of Lord Buddha.
Through profound meditation, Buddha succeeded in finding out the motives of sorrows and discovered the way of peace, love, and happiness. His will, wisdom and compassion made him an extraordinary personality. On the glorious day of Prabarana, once Buddha appeared in the heaven by His spiritual power to deliver the sacred message to His mother and then came down on the earth. This is another reason why the Buddhists fly fanoosh in the sky, as a token to enkindle the sky-lamp.
On the day of festival this year, we went to the pagoda early in the morning, wearing new dresses taking handfuls of flowers and fruits to worship to God. Everybody gathered together with bright faces and in a dignified manner. We made seven fanoosh of different shapes and colors. As I live in a joint family, all members participated spontaneously. In the evening we lighted candles in our balcony and up and down the stairs of our building. It was decorated nicely. Then all of my cousins and friends went to the roof and made a display of flamboyant fire-works. Our brothers made the fanoosh ready to fly. As the fanoosh rose higher we started shouting with jubilation. We were amazed to see the eye-catching sight of the flying fanoosh. Slowly, the paper-balloons were fading away in the darkness of the night sky. Only the fire sparks were seen all over the sky. It looked like a huge number of colorful stars twinkling in the full moon night. It was a vivid picture.
On that glorious day, I prayed for all the evils of the earth to vanish like the fanoosh vanished in the air. And like the sparkling light of the flying fanoosh, I also prayed that the light of peace, love, friendship and fraternity would spark in the minds of every human being. This is the teaching of Lord Buddha for mankind.
(Sristi Barua is a student of the First Year in the Department of English, Chittagong College)