DIWALI, festival of lights, colours, traditions, celebrations, family feasts, rangoli and lots of love. This is one of my favourite festivals that I always look forward to. The excitement keeps building with the arrival of navratris as the festive season starts and bring along so much of energy, spark and laughter. Diwali, is celebrated all across India, and is symbolic of quite a few things, most prominently, the triumph of good over evil.
According to the Ramayana, this festival marks the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya, his home, after 14 years of exile and winning his wife back from Ravana, the demon king. As people of Ayodhya welcomed their king back, they lit diyas (lamps) to brighten up the entire city, and that’s how Diwali and its festivities came about.
There is something so different about this festival, so positive, so dynamic. Preparations for Diwali start more than two weeks before the actual day of the festival. No matter how lazy I behave for rest of the year, Diwali gears me up. Its just that perfect dose of merriments, joy and bliss I need, to revivify myself till the next one comes in. My fondest memory of celebrating Diwali as a kid includes shopping and lighting crackers. I remember my mom dad taking us to the market and buying us new clothes, sweets, and crackers. Buying those countless rangoli colours, fresh flowers, Ganesh Lakshmi idols, little decorative pieces, diyas, candles, chandeliers and what not. Making sure our home looks perfectly festive and gorgeous like us.
Well, I still love doing the same. Preparing several sweets like gujiyas, kheer and gulab jamuns and relishing them with family and friends. Wandering about in swarming, sparkling, noisy markets, picking and buying stuff. Getting new clothes for my family, burning crackers, adorning my house with lights, diyas and rangoli. Rangolis are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity and are made outside every house. Exquisitely drawn and filled with sunny colours, you can’t help but admire them every time you see one. This time I tried making one with flowers for the main day, just to be distinctive. Well, not out of the world but it turned out to be quite beautiful.
During Diwali people also decorate their home with garlands, along with mango leaves, which is considered to be very propitious. In a nutshell, this festival is all about decking up your house in the best possible way. Every Diwali morning I wake up excitedly with various ideas in my head about preparing my house for the most awaited evening and the day passes by so fast experimenting with my creativity.
Diwali evenings are totally dreamy and vivacious and traditional. You would see men, women and children dressed up all ethnic in sarees, kurtas and lehengas. Even I chose to wear a traditional Kanchipuram saree I recently got for myself while husband wore a lovely blue kurta. Once in a while it feels wonderful to see yourself in such attire and getting all those compliments.
Celebrations start with ‘Lakshmi Pooja’, enchanting mantras and singing aarti and prayers. And then comes the best part of lighting diyas and candles at every nook and corner of the house. The environment turns so aesthetic and illuminating with rows of gleaming diyas in every direction, more rangoli than ever, brightest lights, poojas going on inside every house and children burning crackers, laughing and playing.
Fireworks whiz, pop, boom and burst throughout the skies throughout Diwali. At night, everything is incredible and amazing. People visit each other, exchange greetings, offer sweets and share some priceless moments together. This festival brings everybody in our little community together, which is really brilliant to see and surreal to experience.
Celebrations continue for days even after the main day of Diwali is over. Though it feels bad that the best time of year is gone but it gives you so many memories to cherish forever. All of us go back to our routine but no amount of words or pictures could ever describe the spirit of Diwali or the delight this festival brings along.
This time of the year really is something worth experiencing and I wish I could experience it again, and again, and again.