In my travel through India I witnessed that communities from our Hare Krishna Movement they like to attend the New Years celebration, some even directly worship Durga with a ceremony on this last of the Durga Puja.
Demigod worship is overly present in this country and in many ISKCON temples they’re also worshiping demigods like Kali, Shiva and others.
So if I’m celebrating Devali with crackers it should be ok, isn’t it so!?
Let’s have a closer look if it’s really meant for us as Vaishnavas:
„Ramacandra’s victory celebration is observed in the last day of Durga Puja. Vaisnavas are not concerned with Durga Puja. Dipavali or Devali is observed as new years day by certain mercantile community. The Vaisnavas have nothing to do with this ceremony but just on the last day after Devali the Vaisnavas observe Annakuta ceremony. This celebration is the day when Lord Krishna lifted the hill & Madhavendra Puri established the temple in Gopala.“
(Letter to: Pradyumna – Calcutta, 17 October, 1967)
Here it is clearly mentions that we have not to care about worshiping Durga on Dipavali and the news years day is also not a general party for Vaishnavas.
So we should us restraint ourselves as Vaishnavas from it, even if we are grown up in an Hindu family. Our duty is to worship Visnu only in all our temples, even in India, everywhere.
„Reporter: Now can you explain to me, I have some background information about the Kṛṣṇa consciousness society, but I don’t know how to explain it in relation to the broad word Hinduism. Now how do you relate the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to Hinduism? How would you describe it, as a part of Hinduism?
Prabhupāda: No. Hinduism practically we do not recognize because this word “Hinduism” is not mentioned in any Vedic literature. It is a foreign term. The Muhammadans, they called the inhabitants of India as “Hindus.” From that word, it is has come to “Hinduism.” Otherwise, we don’t find that word in any Vedic literature. “Hinduism” is a foreign term, it is not a Vedic term.
Reporter: Yes. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness, its Vedic literature, they have some of the same books or also holy books for what we call Hindu religions, aren’t they?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just try to understand, the inhabitants of India were called by the Muhammadans from Persia and other places, “Hindus.” “Hindus” means the resident on the other side of the River Indus. You have heard the name of River Indus. So they cannot pronounce it Indus, they say “Hindus.” From “Hindus,” it has become “Hindu.” So actually the residents of India were called “Hindus.” And generally, at least in, say, three thousand years ago, all the inhabitants of India were strictly followers of Vedic principles […]“
(Interview with LA Times Reporter about Moon Trip – December 26, 1968, Los Angeles)
As Prabhupada had stated we are not Hindus, it’s only a term created outside of Vedic culture. Created from people that didn’t followed vedic principles.
It’s not about to be social or family friendly, as devotees of Krishna and disciples of Prabhupada we have the duty to follow His instructions that we are receiving through the medium of the spiritual master.
And also the New Years celebration with the firework and the fire-crackers frightens the animals, like the cows as a brahmacari from the farm had told me recently, they really don’t like the loud noises.
Despite this it disturbs the natural rhythms of wild animals in nature.
Unfortunately I didn’t meet any devotee till now in India who cares much for animals at Devali. I heard only from vegetarians and animal rights groups in India that wants to protect the animals but I never met here a real devotee that is standing against this kind of animal cruelty against cows, dogs and other living beings. If someone hits a cow in Vrindavana or in other cities that I visited nobody does something!
So let’s hear from Prabhupada what he has to say about animal rights:
« Any living being, if he terrifies other living beings, is a most wretched subject, and the king should at once kill such a disturbing element. As the wild animal is killed when it creates disturbances, similarly any man who unnecessarily kills or terrifies the jungle animals or other animals must be punished at once »
Read for more in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto One, Chapter 17, Text 10-11
At last we can see in this letter that Prabhupada didn’t wish to have fire-crackers:
FISKCON devotees dancing to Durga Puja:https://youtu.be/FjuBL8dNhfI