Diwali – Changing the way we celebrate
Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated around the world with the utmost fervor. Indians all over the world indulge in the festival with flowers, gifts, and offerings, and perform the Lakshmi pooja. Though you will find homes lit with diyas around the country and abroad, Diwali interestingly is celebrated a little differently as times have changed. There are some offbeat and fun rituals that have become part of celebrations today. Many people celebrating Diwali now also choose to make the festival more than just about gift-giving and sweets. Let’s
see some of the changes that have come about in recent years.
Diwali Melas have always been popular. Except now they are called exhibitions and fairs. Offering a plethora of Diwali themed items, these fairs are very popular during the festival time. Not only can you purchase clothes, jewelry, and decorative items, fairs now include henna and nail artists. These fairs allow vendors to showcase their items and have also given a platform to many home-based small businesses.
Despite the growing trend of exhibitions etc, online shopping has gained massive popularity, especially during festivals. With companies offering discounts and special deals, many people opt to do their Diwali shopping online. Not only is this more convenient for many who cannot step out, but it has also offered a way for family members living apart to send gifts. With so many families now living all over the country and even abroad, online shopping has made it easy for them to continue the tradition of gift-giving.
Trips and cruises
There was a time when families came back home to celebrate Diwali together. Now many families choose to go away together. “Diwali break” is peak travel time, with many special tours and cruises being offered at discounted prices. In India, it is very common for companies
and organizations to gift their employees with a small cash incentive during this time. Many also offer travel packages as bonuses during Diwali. Keeping in tradition, as long as families are together during this auspicious time, that’s all that matters. Be it at home, or vacationing
Lighting diyas (once again)
Diwali traditionally was always celebrated by lighting diyas (oil clay lamp) and candles. With the influx of cheap electric lights, many people find it more convenient and less taxing to simply plug- in. As much as these lights look pretty they take away from the organic nature of the family coming together to light the diyas and candles. Now there are many who have chosen to go back to the tradition of taking the time to place diyas around the house, and together with family members lighting them. With the variety in design, there are stunning hand-painted
diyas available in the market today.
Call it a trend or a ritual, Diwali and every other festival for that matter should be more about giving to those in need than anything else. As we
buy gifts for our family and friends, and fill our homes with new appliances and dress up in new clothes, we must remember those who aren’t as lucky as us. As we pray to the Goddess of wealth and seek her blessings, we can honour her by donating to the poor and destitute. There is no dearth when it comes to places to donate. There are orphanages, old people’s homes and hospitals for the poor where you can donate money, clothes and food supplies.
“Diwali is celebrated with a lot of gusto by Indians all over the world. There are many traditions that have lasted through the years, but with times changing, we should change some things as well. Diwali now more than ever should be about spreading love and happiness, and not just within our families. Indulge in the gifts and sweets, but maybe skip the fireworks.
Spend a little more time lighting each of those candles and diyas instead of just plugging in a set of lights. As you replace the old in your home
with new things, don’t throw. Donate.
Give new meaning to your celebration this year, start a new ritual, make a difference.