Diwali, Deepavali, known by various names, but carries the same festive essence. The Hindu Festival of Lights is amongst the biggest Indian festivals, celebrated with zest and joy across the length and breadth of the country. It marks the mythological date of Lord Rama’s return from exile, signifying the victory of light over darkness, and good over bad.
Celebrating The Festival of Lights The Traditional Way
Traditional Diwali celebrations extend for over 5 days, with each day carrying a special significance. There are variations in rituals and celebration norms by region across India, but the essence remains more or less the same. The festive fervour begins much before these days commence. People prepare for the grand festival by cleaning and decking up their houses with lights and rangolis. Diwali is a time to don new clothes, spend time with near and dear ones, and celebrate many occasion together:
People indulge in shopping, especially gold and silver articles because it is considered an auspicious day. They light up the house with mud diyas leading up to the main days.
Narak Chaturdasi or Choti Diwali
It signifies the day when the demon Narkasura was slayed by Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali. Rituals include early morning bath with fragrant bathing oils and sweet preparation.
Lakshmi Puja or Badi Diwali
People don new clothes and welcome the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, Lakshmi, into their homes by doing a Puja in the evening. Households take on a cheerful glow with decorative lamps and happy faces.
This day celebrates the husband-wife relationship. Husbands give their wives gifts and some communities perform Goverdhan Puja for Lord Krishna.
This day celebrates the sister-brother love, with girls performing puja for the wellbeing of their brothers.
Each of these days involves adorning oneself with pretty clothes and bursting crackers with children.
Do Diwali The Different Way!
The above Diwali celebrations are centred on family and loved ones. Yet, the spirit of Diwali can extend much beyond our immediate relationships. Here are some ways to spread the Diwali cheer by giving the Festival of Lights a larger and grander perspective! Do something different this Diwali!
Light up Someone’s Life
Do this, and not with diyas or candles. Light up the lives of those who are less fortunate by us by doing some good deeds. Celebrate Diwali by distributing food to the poor, give your house-helps some gifts that they would never usually buy. A good deed goes a thousand miles in spreading cheer, not only for those you help, but for yourself too. It is sure to uplift your mood and make you feel good about yourself!
Stand up For The Environment
Diwali today is often synonymous with air pollution, light pollution, sound pollution, and a nightmare for old people, young babies and pets. Stand up for these people and for Planet Earth- convince your family, society or locality to go cracker-free this Diwali. Run an awareness campaign with posters and house-visits and instead go for some cracker-free get-togethers like games and functions. Your Mother Earth will thank you, and so will many others!
Get Bit by The Salesman Bug
Want to try a hand at entrepreneurship by being a salesman or saleswoman? Now give the entrepreneurial bug a social twist by selling handicrafts and décor-ware that has been manufactured by people with disabilities or marginalised people. Whether it is earthen lamps with vibrant ethnic designs or flower garlands for the door, a number of NGOs get marginalised people together to make this. The proceeds from the sales go to these needy people, making their Diwali happy too!
Another great way to engage people and kids is an eco-friendly Diwali that is non-invasive to man, animal and nature – organise a Rangoli contest! Celebrate Diwali by getting the colours and creative juices flowing, and encourage everyone to make the best creative art! Not only will it lead to great bonding and fun, but you can enjoy the beautiful rangolis over the next 5 days! You can use colours available at home like turmeric, flowers etc. to celebrate a green Diwali rather than buy chemical colours from the market.
Diwali and lip-smacking sweets and savouries go hand in hand. Why not explore your culinary skills and create a gathering to cook and sample delicious food ware? If space for cooking is a constraint, you can plan for a potluck meal in your community or housing society. This is sure to sweeten up your Diwali days, quite literally. So, celebrate Diwali the culinary way.
You can think so many unique Diwali celebration ways, there is really no end to it. It depends all on the interests and willingness of you and your loved ones, to do something big, something different this Diwali. So, unite to celebrate an unforgettable Diwali.
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