Lighting up lives

Diwali has always been related with the three F’s – FAMILY, FUN and FOOD. It is also known as festival of lights. Diwali was never so much fun for us. This time kids and me decided to have an eco-friendly Diwali, bursting no crackers and doing eco-friendly craft and Diwali decorations. We drafted a rough list before the festival as to how and what we can add-on to have more amusement.

 

We decided to celebrate the festival at my hometown in Madhya Pradesh. My motive of taking kids there was basically, show them how, originally the festival was celebrated and the real importance of the traditions and beliefs that are still followed. Growing up and living in a metro, they do get to know a lot about other cultures and their festivals, languages and costumes, but I wish them to carry forward the customs and traditions we have received from our parents and grandparents. Nuclear family culture and modernization is a big reason why kids are losing grounds about the origins. My kids have been celebrating Diwali for 2-3 days, but I wanted them to know that the festival is actually a week’s celebration and the significance of each day starting from Vasu Baras and followed by Dhanteras, Choti Diwali, Lakshmi Pujan, Govardhan and lastly Bhaiduj.

I tried to involve kids in each activity from preparations to celebrations. Cleaning the mandir (temple) area, painting the floor with Geru powder (red mud/ochre ), drawing rangolis, making the Toran (festoon/gateway) with leaves and flowers, also painting diyas (lamps) and decorating the pooja thali. It was immense pleasure and a great bonding among kids and their cousins. It was all a team work.

 

The best part being, gifting and greeting the people who are our help like watchman and maids and donating clothes and food and useful articles to those less fortunate as we headed to an orphanage in the morning on the festival day.

 

Although kids got the chance to play with fireworks, they did not. Fireworks are a celebratory gesture. There are various ways in which we celebrate any occasion. We decided in celebrating without fireworks, but the kids realised that fireworks are an ‘option’, not something that ‘has to’ be done.

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Four important things that made our Diwali wonderful were:

 

  1. Spending time with our family and bonding together. Taking snaps and group photos.
  2. Visiting old friends and surprising them.
  3. Lighting up the house and brighten the night. Indulging in delicacies and relishing the authentic food.
  4. Buying some sweets, greeting and giving them to people we barely acknowledge. Buying random things like crayon boxes, cheap toys and tiny clips and giving them away to the poor children.

 

That’s what the festival of lights is all about. Lighting up others lives.

 

Diwali or Deepavali is one of the biggest festival celebrated throughout India and also in many parts of the world. As we all saw President Obama declared a holiday in the US now. That was such a proud moment.

In his address to the White House, this is what President Obama had to say:

It is fitting that we begin this week leading up to the holiday of Diwali – the festival of lights, where members of some of the world’s greatest faiths celebrate the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance.

It is a time for rejoicing, but also a time for reflection. To reach out to those in need. In that spirit of celebration and contemplation, I am happy to light the White House diya, and wish you all a happy Diwali and a Saal Mubarak”.

 

So rightly said !!

Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year to all !!

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