The festival of lights, Diwali, will be here in a few days. Diwali is a festival that represents the victory of good over evil. The 5-day celebrations are very colorful and, in some places, truly spectacular due to the illuminations and fireworks displays.
Diwali means ‘row of lights’. People light rows of diyas or clay lamps to illuminate their houses on this occasion. Light overcomes darkness, likewise, good overcomes evil. So, this is a festival of positivity and spiritual awakening.
Diwali 2022 is on October 24. The 5-day festival is from Oct 22 – 27.
Origins of Diwali Festival
Diwali is believed to be the day Lord Rama, his wife Sita Devi, and brother Lakshmana return to Ayodhya after his 14-year-exile and killing the demon king, Ravana. As it was Amavasya, or new moon day, the roads were dark, so the villagers lit lamps to illuminate the way for Rama. The story is often reenacted on the occasion of Diwali.
Another story says that Diwali is the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura and liberated the people of his kingdom. After he killed the demon, Krishna declared it a day to celebrate. In some parts of India, the effigies of the demons are burnt as part of the celebration.
People also worship Goddess Lakshmi on this occasion. Diwali is a 5-day festival. The 2nd day is celebrated as Diwali, and it is also on this day that Lakshmi Pooja is performed. Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, wealth, good fortune, and fertility, married Lord Vishnu on the night of Diwali.
In some regions, the Diwali festival coincides with the harvest and new year celebrations. Whatever the reason for celebrating Diwali, it’s always a day of new beginnings.
How is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali rituals and celebrations may differ from region to region.
People light small lamps called diyas and also use fairy lights to illuminate their homes. Streets and buildings display festive lighting. Cultural programs are held, and there will be dazzling displays of fireworks. It is believed that the light and noise of the fireworks can scare away evil spirits and purify the atmosphere.
For many, Diwali marks a fresh start, like the Lunar New Year in January. It is a time to clean, renovate, decorate houses, and buy new clothes.
Diwali is also the perfect time to settle one’s debts and make peace. People often reach out to loved ones they have lost touch with and organize family reunions. Indian and Pakistani soldiers guarding the border usually exchange sweets on Diwali.
The gifting of sweets to friends and family is common. Colorful boxes of delicacies like pedas, barfis, jalebis, dry fruits, and chocolates are exchanged.
Diwali As a Festival of Change
Diwali is an opportunity for change.
For instance, it is a time to launch new ventures or make new investments to make our lives better. We can also make some changes in the way we celebrate the festival. This is the need of the hour as festivals generate a lot of waste which is difficult to get rid of and pollute the earth. So here are 7 ways to make Diwali a festival of change.
Choose eco-friendly earthen lamps:
Decorating the Pooja room is an important task. There are many creative and trendy ways to do so. Choose traditional earthen oil diyas instead of electrical lights. These look pretty and are also organic.
Hang colorful lanterns (kandeel or akasha deep) on your front porch or verandah. Lanterns make beautiful decor items during Diwali. Use multi-colored lanterns to create an elegant ambience.
Make a traditional rangoli:
What is Diwali without rangolis and alpanas? Avoid artificial colors and oil paints. Instead, use loose flowers and create your own designs. They will fill your house with natural colors and fragrances.
Reuse old materials:
Reuse and recycle is the new mantra. Instead of buying fresh supplies each year, reuse the previous year’s diyas, light bulbs, candleholders, incense stick stands, etc.
Treat your surroundings with respect:
Diwali can be a traumatic time for pets. Set aside a space in your home where your pets will be able to feel safe. Feed and comfort them if they seem terrified. Shelter stray cats or dogs in your building corridor.
Use eco-friendly materials:
If you are throwing a party at home, use disposable cutlery. Also, use biodegradable alternatives to plastic. Do not waste water.
Diwali Pooja 2022 muhurat is from 7.05 pm to 8.12 pm on Oct 24, Monday, in Chennai.
Use Biodegradable Cutlery For Your Diwali Party
Use biodegradable cutlery to serve food to guests. Another option is banana leaves. Avoid plastic completely.