The love of Diwali
Diwali is the five-day Festival of Lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world which culminates today.
Diwali is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It means different things to different religions so I’m not going to delve into the symbolism for each culture; instead I’m going to tell you why I specifically love it.
It’s a time of togetherness, when we appreciate those around us and feel a moment of unity. Especially when my uncle ad-libs on the prayers while my aunt berates him and my siblings and cousins are suffocating trying not to laugh
The food is amazing. You haven’t eaten Indian food till you’ve tried my mum’s black dhal; and being Indian she makes enough for an obese army so I get to pack my freezer with goodies for months
We get to set off fireworks. My cousin Mina and I have perfected a synchronised ‘oooh….ahhhh’ performance. And I defy anyone to get a sparkler and not write their name with it
The rituals are beautiful and comforting. Cleaning the house, wearing new clothes, lighting a candle or diya in each room to usher in the light and welcome in Lakshmi. Blessing objects for success, accepting the offering of prashad, the intonation of the prayers. I hold each dear
It holds some of my most treasured memories. Of my late grandparents leading the pooja and teaching me Om Jai Jagdish Hare, of being little and getting to wear a new salwar kameez, of sitting on white sheets while we get our tikka and rakhi, and of eating warm halva served randomly in a piece of kitchen roll. Of that rush of joy at seeing my huge family and us all radiating genuine love
While I was writing this I looked up some Diwali wishes on the Times of India for inspiration as sign-off, and found this utter gem. I have no idea what most of it means, it’s a bit mad but it wishes you love. It’s 100% Diwali…
Light a lamp of love. Blast a chain of sorrow. Shoot a rocket of prosperity. Fire a flowerpot of happiness. Wish you and your family a sparkling Diwali.