The air smells festive and the sweet aromas of the mithai (Indian desserts) and the savory pakwans saturate the atmosphere. This is the time to celebrate the Diwali festival, the biggest Hindu festival of the East. During this time each year I reminisce the colorful celebrations in India and relive the moments through the pictures and videos shared by my friends and family. With these pictures, I take you to the wonderful journey of Diwali celebrations.
Deepali or Deepawali, comes from Sanskrit word which means row of lights. It is the biggest Hindu festival and falls between mid Oct to November on the darkest no moon night. Diwali though observed for a day, it really is an attitude of life; An attitude to be gracious, create friendships, discarding the bitterness of hearts.
In India, Diwali preparations and celebrations start days before the real Diwali. The markets are adorned to attract the customers as it is the biggest gift giving season in India.
Mithai (sweets) are made or brought from the market in bulk and exchanged with friends and family. These sweet exchanges remind us to forget the past acrimony and cultivate friendships.
Houses are cleaned and the entrances are decorated with designs made with colored powder; This art is called Rangoli. These decorations are done to welcome the guests and the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi, who is believed to visit the houses on Diwali and shower us with wealth.
Houses and the market buildings are lit by Diyas and lights, which propagate festive fervor.
Diwali is also the day to count our blessings and be gracious towards the wealth by offering prayers to the the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi. During this time the Indian market is filled with the statues of the Gods and Goddesses, and the decoration that goes with the it. The flower garlands to decorate the entrance of the houses and worship area, sugarcane stalks to appease Goddess Laxmi’s ride Eravat, the Elephant.
The family dresses up in their best of traditional clothes to offer prayers to the Goddess.
After the ceremony, family savors delicious big meal. For the children, the most fun part is lighting the fireworks. Children gather with the adults outside of the houses or in the common area of their community where they enjoy bursting fireworks.
The celebrations continue days after Diwali. This festival is also an opportunity for me to call my dear ones who I am not able to stay in touch due to excuse of the overwhelming routine.
This festive season can get overwhelming and exhausting, like any other, nevertheless I look forward to it every year to share the joys with people around me.
Wishing you all my readers a beautiful Diwali, a festival of lights! May your lives illuminate with good health, friends and prosperity!
Photo Credits:Vikram Seth, Rajni Seth,Vineeta Grover, Tulika Prasad