What do you plan to do this Diwali? It is probably the most famous of all of India’s festivals, and it is also considered the most fun. In this piece, we give you five off-beat ideas to make this Diwali – and every Diwali after it – a memorable occasion.
It’s that time of the year again. The festival of lights is upon us. While it’s great that you plan to booze and burst some firecrackers and hang out with friends, there are some other things you can do to make the festival more meaningful for you. Here are a few off-beat things that you can try.
1. Look up the story behind the festival
This is something you need to do just once, but how about putting in some time to understand the various rituals that go into making Diwali what it is? Why do we wake up in the early hours? What does the row of lamps signify? Did you know that there are two competing mythological stories that claim to be the reason for Diwali? Once you learn all these stories behind the rituals, you will find yourself more interested in participating in them.
2. Go watch a play or a storytelling session
India has a rich tradition of oral storytelling, which includes plays. If it’s Diwali weekend and if you’re anywhere in India, chances are that your local temple or theatre is organising a storytelling session on the myths surrounding Diwali. Attend these and take in the atmosphere. Watch Vedic India come to life in front of your eyes.
3. Give your house a makeover
It used to be tradition for Indian families to give their houses a whitewash every Diwali. Yes, every Diwali. That may be impossible for you if you live in an apartment or a rented place, but that doesn’t mean that the practice has to die out. Use this time to give your house a makeover. Change the curtains. Get a new furniture set. Mix up the colours. Get a feature wall made.
4. Give to charity
In the process of making over your house, you will probably find a lot of things in your house that you no longer need or use. Instead of hanging on to them, why not give them to charity, where someone less fortunate will get to use them? Head along to your local charity or NGO and make a donation in cash or kind this Diwali. Nothing makes your heart fonder than the act of giving. Better still, why not use this Diwali as the occasion on which you make charity a habit?
5. Go easy on the noise
Diwali is the festival of lights, but it does not also have to be the festival of sound and noise. Bombs and other noisy firecrackers don’t add to the spectacle in any way, and on top of that, they may life pretty stressful for babies and pets. So if you wish to light some firecrackers, do so with quiet ones. Better still, stick to the spirit of the festival and be content with a row of lamps or lights.