What do you know about the festival of lights?
Diwali or Deepavali, is India’s biggest festival and one of the world’s most celebrated occasions. From the streets of New Delhi to New Zealand, this predominantly Hindu festival is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs. Although the origins of these festivities may differ for each of these religions, the outcome is fairly similar. This wonderful display of colors and lights never fail to illuminate the sky and to unite family and friends from all over the globe. So, join us, as we help paint a picture and breathe life to your Diwali stories.
1. Choosing the diya
Earthen diyas are the most popular choice for Diwali. Considered the simplest form of diyas, this essential comes in the traditional light brown-orange hue, without any carvings. Meanwhile, porcelain diyas comes in various shapes and sizes. It’s also painted with intricate motifs. Diyas are lighted for various beliefs, and almost every household would have their own reasoning behind this. The most common cause for this practice is that the diyas reflect the festival of lights tagline. However, it also symbolizes being enlightened and stepping out of darkness.
2. Designing the rangoli
The rangoli is the focal point for Diwali home decor. For most homes, the rangoli is often made in the porch. Office building and shopping malls also display this beautifully designed art, in spirit of the festival of lights. The rangoli is made up of flower petals, diyas, colored rice and flour. These motifs are inspired by a deity, a flower petal or a geometric design, which makes for a fascinating Instagram post.
3. Going shopping
This is another essential part of the Diwali preparation. It’s highly recommended that new clothes are worn to mark the beginning of this auspicious day. If a full outfit is too expensive, a single piece of new garment would do. Additionally, shopping is a great way to get the kids involved with the celebration. Therefore, it is little surprise that high end shopping malls, online stores and street vendors go all out to make this a joyous occasion for their customers.
4. Decorating the home
No Diwali is complete without decorations for the house. It kicks off with the rangoli at the porch. Next, chili lights are hung at the doors and fences. The kandeel also plays a major role in India’s biggest celebration. These lanterns are hung at the entrance of homes. Made from glossy papers, these crystal-shaped paper lanterns add a touch of color to the world’s most popular festival of lights celebration.
Inside, curtains and bedding are washed and replaced. However, most homes do opt to settle the spring cleaning a few days prior to the celebration. It’s believed Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity, will make her way to bless the home. Therefore, doors are also left open. To further welcome the festivities, the altar will be decorated with flowers and diyas.
5. Celebrating Diwali
This joyous occasion is always celebrated with friends, family and a massive spread of food. A Diwali meal is one that’s fit for a king. Think warm bowls of creamy palak paneer (spinach cottage cheese) and aromatic servings of the best korma. Next, soak up all the flavors with fluffy Basmati rice and a freshly made roti (flatbread) that’s generously drizzled with makhan (butter).
As for desserts, you can never have enough Indian sweets. From gajar ka halwa (carrot pudding) to pal payasam (rice pudding), you will be spoiled for choice. Fresh from being well fed, it’s now time to have some fun. Fireworks are another important element in the celebrations, especially for the younger members of the family.
Diwali is one of the most beautiful festivals in the world. It has witnessed the victory of Ram over Ravan. It’s seen Calcutta evolve to Kolkata and Bombay corrected to Mumbai. It has held families together and made an empty house burst with laughter. Diwali, as cliche as it sounds, truly is a symbol of victory for light over darkness. It’s a celebration of colors and lights. So what’s your Diwali story?