How to enjoy the Festival of Lights
Diwali means “rows of lighted lamps” and it is also called the Festival of Light. It is the most enthusiastically celebrated festival in India — which is saying a lot! Diwali is the equivalent of Christmas — a big, festive celebration that brings families together and is the highlight of the holiday season. There are five days of festivities, each marked with different pujas (prayers) and rituals.
I love Diwali, and though I have only spent one Diwali in India, I remember it fondly. I went shopping with Ajay’s mother for gifts, decorations, flowers and sweets a few days before, and on the morning of Diwali she had me decorating the family mandir before my eyes were completely open. Later, I helped fill hundreds of small diyas with oil and wicks, and then place and light them around the terrace and down the stairs, etc. In the early evening we had a puja in the mandir, which was my favourite part of the entire day. And at night, we joined the millions of other Delhi-ites blasting fireworks and firecrackers into the night sky. It was deafening and created hazardous smog, but I appreciated the gusto with which people were celebrating.
There are lots of other places to celebrate Diwali in India; read on for some suggestions culled from Breathedreamgo Twitter and Facebook friends. Continue Reading →