India is a culturally rich and diverse land with different customs and traditions. Diwali, in Sanskrit translates to a row of lamps, a famous ritual followed throughout the country is filling clay lamps with oil, lighting the wicks and placing them in rows throughout the home. Hand made earthen lamps are lit and are placed on window sills, doorways and in the darkest corners of the house to illuminate the house and welcome the wealth and health into the household. There are many interesting and intriguing customs that people follow even today, differing from region to region. Though Diwali is only a weeklong fest, preparations for Diwali will be happening in full swing even before a week.
Two weeks before Diwali comes the time to discard unwanted items, clean the house and make it spic and span. The reason behind this is the belief that the Goddess Lakshmi would enter only clean homes and give her blessings to the clean ones. So, people start throwing out the junk and keep every nook and corner clean. Following this, people decorate their homes with assorted decorations – streamed ribbons, flower strings, artificial flower petals and hangings. A week before Diwali households will be buzzing with cooking delicacies.
Mithais and savouries such as gulab jamuns, athirasam, sev, payasam, kaimuruku, seedai are prepared with lots of love and care. The endless list goes on with different regions having different dishes. The fragrances of these mouth watering dishes will leave your nose buds tingling. On the day of Diwali these sweets and savouries are presented to the deities and after the puja, they distribute it to the families and friends. This tradition is being followed from the time of origin of Diwali – a favourite tradition of all the foodies out there. This occasion is one of the largest shopping fests of India. The period is considered as an auspicious time to buy new things. Utensils, electronics and furnishing are also bought with new clothes and the house is completely refurnished.
The first day of the festival is considered as an auspicious time to buy gold and silver jewellery and coins. Jewellery, clothes and other showrooms all stack up and strive to provide the best for their customers. On the day of Diwali members of the family get up early in the morning and take an oil bath. This is done to cleanse the mind , soul and body and welcome the day afresh. The house fronts are decorated with beautiful rangolis to welcome the Goddess.
New clothes are adorned and it is a customary practice to seek the blessings of the elders in the house to lead a happy and healthy life. Fireworks are burst to celebrate the victory of Lord Rama and return from his exile. It is believed that the light emitted from the crackers will ward off evil spirits and allow only positive energy to enter. The sky will be shimmering with the vibrant display of fireworks and their sound echoing throughout the night.
Hosting parties and exchanging gifts are another part of Diwali you can look forward to. Star studded evenings will see huge parties with gifts ranging from sweet boxes, dry fruits to gift vouchers, gadgets and others. A unique tradition as per Hindu fables is rolling the dice,as legend says that Goddess Parvati will bestow good fortune on those playing dice on the auspicious day. As time passed from the ancient age to the modern era, cards are replacing dice and friendly gambling takes place. The occasion of Diwali sees much hype with traditions, customs and excitement all bringing good luck and prosperity.