Diwali, the festival of lights & one that is closest to our hearts has arrived to enlighten us. Here’s what you can do to make the celebrations even more fun and spectacular!
Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Literally meaning a “row of lights”, the festival name is translated from the Sanskrit word, ‘Deepavali’, where ‘deepa’ means ‘light’ and ‘vali’ means ‘row’. It’s a time where everything looks brighter and happier. All the homes are lit up with beautiful Diyas, that bring in a shine to the homes and hearts of people. And, in addition to the homecoming of Lord Rama back to Ayodhya, Diwali is celebrated for a lot of other reasons at different places.
The year so far has been a very tough pill to swallow for reasons known. This is the time of year where we get together, meet relatives, exchange gifts and sweets, prepare Diwali special cuisines, burst crackers and more. This Diwali let us make it unique, let us all be at home, bring in the festive spirits in and do everything possible to make the festive season special – lets pray and hope for a better tomorrow, a tomorrow to be lived without fear. And to keep spreading the goodness all over, here are a few simple things in my list for the celebration.
This year to bring in the festive mood at home (as that’s the only option we have), I decided to bring to my walls a lovely Diwali feel by making a Happy Diwali bunting, a Diya bunting and hang on some lights and garlands. A few Diya cut outs pasted here and there definitely adds to the festive feel. I usually add on to my Diya collection by buying a few Diyas every year, that’s a practice I never miss. This year it being a little difficult to do the same, I decided to add some colors to my tea light candles with some colored tapes I had. You can do the same with all the Diyas at home and don’t forget to involve kids in this project. They would enjoy it and you can feel the Diwali spark at home as well.
You can also have your old colorful dupattas with some fairy lights behind to brighten up your space. Add some indoor plants for a warm look.
Rangoli is an integral part of all religious festivals. I have always admired rangolis put in front of the doors especially during Diwali. Traditionally rangolis were created only using rice flour. The main reason for this is truly gratifying. “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means “the whole world is one big family “ is based on the value of “Live and Let Live”. The reason why our ancestors used rice flour was to provide food for ants, insects, worms, birds and other living beings that live in the soil.
With my cute little helpers we made this beautiful organic rangoli. I must mention here, this lockdown has brought us closer to our roots and values and more importantly, the quality time spent with families which otherwise was lost in the busy routine of ours.
For my organic rangoli, as I call it, I mixed Haldi with little portion of rice to get the yellow colour, beetroot (or you may use Kumkum) for red and curry leaves paste for green. The outline was done with rice flour and the little hands filled in colours to beautify it, just as they do to our lives. You can also make flower rangolis if you are lucky to get flowers from your garden.
Let me share a few simple rangoli designs by my mom-in-law (she is too good at it). These are easy as they are made with the help of dots. You can make a pretty good one with three dots, four, five and keep increasing the number as you become good at it.
As we won’t be stepping out much this time, involving kids in crafts and activities would be ideal. Have those tiny hands get busy in card making and creating little lanterns, paper Diyas or even colouring along on the Diwali theme. I guess we have lost the importance of card making or the concept of pen friends in this crazy jungle of a virtual world. This is the best time we can get them back. Let your kids draw, write, share their ideas and pen down their thoughts on papers for loved ones. You may also think of gifting plants for Diwali to your loved ones as it adds an element of positivity to the space. I have my self-propagated money plants ready for gifting.
This is a memory I cherish of my Diwali childhood days. As I was brought up in Mumbai, making a fort commonly called as “killa” was a part of our celebrations. The “killa” or the fort making is commonly practiced in Maharashtra and North Karnataka and is considered to be a tribute to the great Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The forts designed by Shivaji Maharaj were legendary architectural designs. Made with mud, clay, grass, small rocks, bricks, cardboards, jute rags, old clothes, toys and so on. In such a situation, kids would love getting their hands muddy and would love to know the history as well. Their creative cells are sure to get busy making these miniature forts.
No Diwali is complete without a sumptuous feast of sweets and other delights. It is indeed the highlight of every Indian festival and it adds more enthusiasm to the festive spirit. Lets get our hands busy in making some gooey sweets and a traditional meal for the day with our family in the midst of the Diwali ambience that we have created. After all, a “balanced diet” is a Laddoo in each hand!
Style up the Diyas
Try to style up the Diyas and lights in different ways possible to add to the festive vibe.
- Stacked bangles, especially if it is colored glass bangles, would lighten up the corner when you place a small candle in the middle of it.
- Today we are told to have more of citrus fruits, so why not turn that to Diya after its use. A half sliced, squeezed lemon when inverted would give a Diya shape. Flaunt it.
- If you have some extra paper cups at home which has been of no use, turn it to a smart lighting. Make some holes in the cups, pass on the string lights through it and there you go – a perfect one for your corner.
- Floating candles are best if you have them in stock. A water filled glass bowl with some beautiful petals or flowers with fragrance is sure to lighten up the mood.
- Recycle light bulbs, candle-holders, Diyas and Agarbati stands for different styles of lighting. You may put your fairy lights in a glass bottle to make a pretty corner.
As I always insist on making memories, lets celebrate this Diwali with much peace, joy and enthusiasm. As we have been teaching our little ones about the 3Rs to save mother earth– Reuse, Recycle and Reduce, lets bring them in practice and show them its importance. Lets light up as many Diyas as a token of appreciation and thankfulness to all our frontline health workers. Say no to fireworks and have a pollution and smoke free Diwali. Cement your ties and build bonds by being with family and creating memories to cherish for a liftime. This too adds up to my lockdown memory album.
May every Diya that will be lit on the evening of Diwali bring joy, prosperity and for everyone. Shubh Deepavali.