CELEBRATIONS

Diwali – The Festival of Light

Here in the northern hemisphere, the season of dark days has begun and if you live in a multicultural city, or even near one, you may have also seen the celebrations of light. This time of year also sees The Festival of Light, Diwali, the largest in the Hindu tradition, celebrated all over the planet. Skies are lit up with fireworks, doorways, rooftops and windows with fairy lights and candles – they are all around to symbolise the light prevailing over darkness, goodness over evil and wisdom over ignorance. Have you seen them nearby?

Here in London, a good friend of mine, Roshni, gave us a sneak peek into her celebrations. Her father is first generation Indian and when his mother would come over from India she taught him how to celebrate in a new country by creating a shrine to the goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi, for those of you unfamiliar, is the goddess of wealth, good fortune, youth and beauty. Welcoming her opens the door to abundance for the family and home, and all kinds of delicacies are prepared for this special time of the year. The candles, the sweets, the offerings all ornament the home with prosperity, and are all shows of love for her.

Diwali rangoli

Rangolis can be spotted – the colourful art form using flour, rice, chalk, sand and petals to add to the richness of decoration and welcoming of guests into the home. Designs are laid out at the entrance of everyone’s home to receive Lakshmi’s blessings.
Women and girls wear beautiful saris and dupattas, men wear embroidered kurtas and sherwani. Delicious deep fried sweets called jalebis are shared, and laddoos, balls of sugar, flour and butter are prepared. And, of course fireworks are at the ready adding that magical sparkle for every child around.

dawali

The Hindu observance of this festival, also known as Deepavali or Dipavali – series of lights – is also to revere the beautiful love story of Rama and Sita, about which you can read more about from this beautifully illustrated book, Rama and Sita, The Story of Diwali.

Diwali book

Roshni shared her whole day on her Instagram page, which was a great way to experience the day for those new to it. I certainly learnt so much. Children love the colours and ambience of families coming together to worship and share. And the spirit of connection with the 1.2 billion Hindus around the world makes for a special feeling of belonging.

Have you ever been part of a Diwali celebration? Do any of your friend’s worship in this way? Maybe you could try out a Rangoli design at home, or perhaps you welcome blessings in other ways!

Zainab x

(Image credit The Indian Express, FirstCry Parenting, Livemint)


SHARE

Leave a Comment