Growing up in India, Diwali was more than just a festival; it was a magical time that transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary. As a child, I remember the air buzzing with excitement, homes twinkling with lights, and hearts brimming with joy. This is the essence of Diwali, a celebration that goes beyond religion and culture, uniting people in a shared spirit of happiness and goodwill.
Diwali, or Deepavali, traces its origins to a myriad of ancient legends and myths. In my family, like many others across India, the story of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after defeating the demon king Ravana was a staple Diwali tale. This narrative symbolizes the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. However, Diwali isn't just confined to Hindu mythology. In Jainism, it marks the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, while Sikhs celebrate it as the day Guru Harkrishan, the eighth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment.
Every region in India adds its own flavor to Diwali. I remember being fascinated by the diversity when I visited relatives in different states. In Bengal, for instance, Diwali is intertwined with the worship of Goddess Kali, contrasting with the more widespread worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth and prosperity.
The preparations for Diwali are an event in themselves. My earliest memories of Diwali are intertwined with the annual home-cleaning ritual. It was more than just dusting and organizing; it was a way of preparing our home to welcome goodness and prosperity.
The highlight, however, was always the lighting of diyas – small earthen lamps that we placed around the house. These tiny flames, to me, were like stars fallen to earth, turning our home into a slice of the night sky. Creating rangolis, intricate patterns made with colored powders, at our doorstep was a family affair, with each of us adding our own touch to the artwork.
The spiritual apex of Diwali is the Lakshmi Puja. I recall the sense of awe I felt watching my elders perform the rituals with devotion. The chanting of mantras, the fragrance of incense, and the flickering of lamp lights created an atmosphere of profound peace and devotion.
No discussion of Diwali is complete without mentioning the food. Kitchens would be bustling with activity, as a variety of sweets and savories were prepared. My favorite has always been the ladoos, their sweet, rich taste symbolizing the sweetness of life. Exchanging these delicacies with neighbors and friends is a practice that embodies the spirit of community and sharing that Diwali stands for.
Gifting is an integral part of Diwali. It's a tradition that goes beyond material exchange; it's about showing love and appreciation. Over the years, we have seen the nature of gifts evolve – from traditional sweets and clothes to gadgets and gift cards. But the sentiment remains unchanged – that of wanting to bring joy to our loved ones.
With the advent of technology, Diwali celebrations have taken on a new form. Online shopping for gifts, virtual gatherings, and social media exchanges have become part of the festivities. Despite being miles away from home on several occasions, video calls and digital messages have kept me connected with my family, preserving the essence of Diwali – togetherness.
In recent years, there's been a growing awareness about celebrating Diwali responsibly. Eco-friendly diyas, organic colors for rangoli, and a reduction in the use of firecrackers are steps towards a more sustainable celebration. These practices resonate with me deeply, as they align with the core principle of Diwali – the victory of light over darkness, which to me, also means enlightenment over ignorance.
Diwali, with its deep-rooted traditions and evolving practices, remains a beacon of hope, joy, and community bonding. It's a festival that transcends the boundaries of religion and geography, touching hearts and illuminating souls. As I light a diya each year, I'm reminded of the light within us all, the light that Diwali celebrates – the light of love, compassion, and togetherness. Phoolwala offers all kinds of Diwali Gifts to India- Order online with Delivery