October 27, 2016
Veppampatti, a village near Dharmapuri, will celebrate another green and cracker-less Diwali, thanks to fruit bats.
For the villagers, the fruit bats roosting in the centrally located banyan tree are holy and disturbing the creatures would only bring bad luck to the village.
“The bats are considered the children of local goddess Amman and if we disturb them with bursting of crackers we might invite the wrath of the powerful goddess,” say the villagers. This is a belief that has pervaded the village for generations and the diktat against crackers is respected by all, including children and the educated, who share the same faith and respect the tradition.
“A few years back, a villager threw a stone and injured a fruit bat and as a consequence, the village faced a drought and drinking water scarcity for years. Injuring or disturbing the benevolent creatures has only brought ill luck to the village in the past. So we decided to celebrate this Diwali too without crackers,” says Kuppammal, a priest from the Amman temple.
“The fruit bats are seed- dispersers and ecologically friendly creatures. While they are hunted for meat in some places, we revere them and believe that the creatures would bring prosperity and happiness to the village,” say the villagers.