Diwali…the greatest Hindu festival is one of the most celebrated festivals across the world.
It has various significances along different lines…
Historic – it marks the homecoming of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile
Religious – Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth) is said to visit your home to bless you with wealth and prosperity.
For Housewives and home-makers – it’s the most tiring time of the year! Everyone is busy cleaning homes months before diwali and then in the last week its all about making sweets and decorating the house.
For small business owners – it’s the time of the year when new accounting books and ledgers are started.
For children in India (and recently in Dubai too!) – it’s all about new clothes and the Firecrackers! Its like a competition of the loudest and the brightest.
Personally, I haven’t spent Diwali in India ever. So I haven’t witnessed the whole firecracker madness and I don’t think I would like it either. To me it’s just a lot of noise and air pollution.
It is the time of the year for families and friends to meet, exchange sweets and make merry!
My childhood memories of Diwali go back to mom cleaning the house and also making the most delicious “chikki” – a thin nut and jaggery bark or nougat, which required a lot of expertise, skill and patience, but for me till date it is something that is synonymous with Diwali.
For me, Diwali has always been about the aesthetics of it all. A creative outlet, where I love to spend the entire day making rangolis (decorative patterns made at the entrance of the house using variety of materials like colored powder, flower petals, grains and pulses, etc) and lighting candles all around the house. As kids, we used to paint clay diyas (tea light candle holders) and use them to light candles and decorate the house.
However, since my eldest was born 4 years ago, everything has been different. For one, I do not have the liberty of time to spend as long as I want on making a rangoli. Secondly, the hazards of having candles in the path of a toddler keeps us from lighting too many candles inside the house too. My older son now understands the spirit of Diwali and loves to help me out with all the tasks involved. The younger one, however, is a different case altogether! At 18 months, he is too little to comprehend what is dangerous for him, so our best option is to keep all candles and other adornments way out of his reach.
This year has been a little different but wonderful at the same time. 4 year-old A, who now loves doing crafts, painted his own clay diyas and even made funky tea light holders from CDs by using materials like colorful pom-poms, sequins and stickers.
I made some “besan laddoos” (sweet balls made from gram flour) along with the numerous store bought sweets and “chikkis” that we get as gifts.
To add an extra special touch to this year’s Diwali, we have matching Kurta Pyjamas (traditional Indian attire) for the two boys (gifts with a lot of love from a very special aunt) and I can’t wait to dress them up in those!
The day will also include prayers, meeting family and exchanging gifts.
The festival of Diwali extends to atleast a week of rituals, family, friends and fun. I look forward to all this and pray to God to bless everyone with all the health, wealth, luck and prosperity.