Quick guide to Deepawali Preparations and Celebrations…
The festive season is in its full swing and with Deepawali just around the corner every household in the Indian community would be abuzz with preparations for the festival of light.
Celebrated on the amavasya or no moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November), Diwali falls on the 20th day after the festival of Dusshera or Vijaydashmi. According to Hindu mythology, Diwali marks the coronation of Lord Ram as the King of Ayodhya. He was living in exile for 14 years and he came back home after slaying the demon King Ravana. People of Ayodhya were so delighted to have their King back that they lit diyas and burnt firecrackers to show their happiness. Even today this tradition is still a big part of celebrating Deepwali.
It is a five day festival starting with Dhanteras, Dhan means wealth and teras means thirteen. Dhanteras is celebrated on the thirteenth day from Full moon or Poornima and is celebrated in honor of Goddess Lakshmi. The fourteenth day is celebrated as Chhoti Diwali followed by the new moon day that is the most significant day as Deepawali is celebrated on this day. The fourth day or the first day of bright fortnight is celebrated as Baasi Diwali and the fifth and last day as Bhaidooj where brothers and sisters renew sibling love.
Preparation for Deepawali begins months before the festival. People living away from their loved ones make plans to visit friends and family during Diwali, everyone buys new clothes for the festival and decorate their homes with flowers and diyas.
If you haven’t started the preparations for the festival, no worries, here are some quick last minute suggestions that would help you get ready for the festive season.
- Do up your house
Cleaning the house takes up most of the time. As you can’t get it whitewashed each year it is advised that you dust every nook and corner of your house clearing it of all the clutter and thus negativity. Light the exterior of your house with beautiful lightings, put up traditional torans on the entrance of the house to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. You can either make torans at home using mango leaves, marigold flowers, beads, sequins, shells or get them from a store.
Although traditional diyas are being replaced by candles or lights then too place some diyas for the original feel. Make colorful rangolis on the entrance or on the porch of your house and lastly arrange the furniture to make cozy sittings for friends and family. Throw some floor cushions on a rug, keep handy Diwali goodies and enjoy your card party.
- Sweet and savory
What’s any festival without sweet and when it is the festival of lights there has to be sweets in the house. Home-made chocolates or cakes are the latest sweet trend but nothing can beat the traditional Indian mithais. From mawa mithais to dry fruit ones from rasgullas to barfis, you need to shop for mithais and serve it on a platter to your guests. Along with these traditional sweets you can also keep a bowl or two of dry fruits.
In many Indian houses sweets and savory dishes for Diwali are prepared at home. Prepare the snacks three to four days before the festival so you are not stuck in the kitchen.
Exchanging of gifts has become a tradition of sort as when you visit friends and family you do want to give them something. Decorative diyas and candles are the most common gifts that you can give. Other than that mitahis or chocolates are also an option.
Gifting an idol of lord Ganesha or Lakhsmi and Ganesha is considered auspicious. Jewelry is another option when it comes to Diwali gifts. You can give whatever suits your budget, something for home or personal use, there are no limitations to gifting.
Though firecrackers are burnt on Diwali and people enjoy it a lot, try to avoid burning them as they spread noise and air pollution. Instead of spending thousands on these firecrackers, help the underprivileged and celebrate Deepawali spreading love and joy.
This Deepawali light up your life and if possible someone else’s too.
Happy Diwali to one and all!