This day is a day to pray for more cow dung, hence, more cows. Throughout rural India, dung patties are seen drying, often in an artistic display. After they are dried, they are stored for use. Because dung is highly valued, it is rarely seen on the roads, as people are quick to pick it up to use. On a visit to one of my favorite homes, the woman had a bucket of dung that she spread with her bare hands, on the floor to freshen the finish. Within minutes, the floor was smooth and perfect!
As sunset arrived, families hold puja around an artistically crafted display of a human figure made with dung on the floor of each home. The ritual is performed by the men, as incense is burned, who walk around the figure, offering rice, marigold petals. They walk the circle 7 times, as women sit and watch. I always feel the sacred nature of the ritual, though I don't understand the significance of what is being done, or the prayers offered.
There is also a day to celebrate husbands and brothers, Karva Chauth. Women fast to honor their men, praying for their safety and longevity. I have suggested to the teachers and girls at PPES that they start a wife's day. They laugh at the suggestion. We can't imagine honoring our men, without equally honoring our women.