Delightful Lights

   By: Local Links Date: Tue 12th Sep 2017

Diwali is often referred to as the ‘Festival of Light’, and is traditionally marked by placing decorated oil lamps (each called a (‘deepa’) in rows (‘avali’) – hence the Sanskrit name, ‘Deepavali’.

This practice can be traced to the return of the Hindu religious figure Rama to the city of Ayodhya after vanquishing the evil King Ravana. The people of the city celebrated his return by lining the streets with oil lamps and decorating their front yards with colourful patterned designs (called a rangoli).

Diwali thus celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is a reminder to dispel inner darkness with the light of God’s presence.

Rama’s Story tends to feature most in North Indian traditions of Diwali. In South Indian traditions of Diwali, it marks the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura. In the eastern states, especially in West Bengal, on this day the furious Goddess Kali defeated the demon Bakasuara.

Even though the reasons of celebrations are different, most of the traditions of Diwali across the country stay the same. Here are some of the most fascinating traditions of Diwali.

Cleansing the house
Much before Diwali, it is time to throw away unwanted items, clean, repaint and refurbish homes depending on the budget. The tradition behind this is that the goddess of good fortune, Lakshmi, graces those homes that are absolutely clean. Thus many decorate their homes with accessories like strings of lights, streamers ribbons, etc. Using coloured powder or flower petals, colourful rangolis in traditional patterns are drawn at the doorways.

Diwali seems like one of the biggest shopping festivals in India since it is auspicious for buying new things. It is considered good to buy gold and silver coins as well as jewellery. Kitchenware like utensils electronics, gadgets, furniture, clothes, etc. are also considered a good buy on this occasion. People buy for themselves and also for gifting purposes. It is also known to be a good time to invest so new property and vehicles are also in big demand during this season.

  Up the house
Illumination of homes is a must and the traditional way to do it is by lighting handmade earthen lamps with oil. Placed on window sills, and doorways, they add a glittering light to the darkest corners of the house.

To celebrate the victory of good over evil, the most joyous tradition of Diwali is to set off fireworks. Numerous sparkles glitter the sky and while those making sound go on through the night. It is believed that the sound and light of firecrackers helps ward off evil spirits.

Having parties
Diwali is a time for get-togethers and parties. Festive family meals either at homes or outside restaurants too is a tradition and mark of celebration.