From the time you reach the month of October, your mind is racing towards Diwali because you know that it will be here before you are even done with your lists. You are thinking that you need to stock up on new diyas & lanterns and you need to start cleaning the house and getting rid of whatever is not needed any more. Diwali is not just a festival of lights, it is also a time to “spring clean” and give your life as well as your home, a brand new start. And while for most people, Diwali is just a festival, where you get to wear new clothes, eat sweets, light diyas and of course burst crackers, there is much more to it.
What exactly is Diwali?
So you have seen your parents or grandparents take out their antique and beloved Goddess Laxmi with Lord Ganesha idol each Diwali, but did you ever really understand the importance of the rituals? Diwali, or Deepavali, literally means array of lights is a festival that is celebrated not only by Hindus, but also Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. The festival generally falls during the Hindu month of Kartika – normally, this time comes during the end of October and beginning of November. Even though the main festival falls on Diwali day, there are several other subsidiary festivals that surround it, making it a 5 day long celebration.
Day 1 – Dhanteras: Also known as Yama Deepam and Dhanatrayodashi, this day marks the thirteenth day of the month of Kartika. Dhan means wealth or money and teras is thirteen – this day is when the actual cleaning happens, both in the homes as well as offices or work spaces. This is also a day when it is considered auspicious to purchase new things for the home and work place – people buy gold, new clothes, new utensils and other things for the home. Several people also choose to buy king size bedsheets for their home to ensure that even their bedrooms get to wear a brand new look. The diyas that are lit on this day are supposed to ward of Yama, who might have ventured looking for souls to harvest.
Day 2 – Choti Diwali: This day is also known as Naraka Chaturdashi, it is one the Diwali festivities initiate – it is said that a demon named Narakasura had kidnapped and imprisoned 16000 princesses. It was on this day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon and freed all the princesses. This was seen as the victory of good over evil. Women, particularly in north India, take a bath before sunrise on this day, and keep a lit diya in the bath area. They will use a natural bath scrub, called ubtan, as opposed to soap for their bath and it is said that these procedures can enhance the beauty of the women. These days, several women like to light scented candles in the bathroom to add light as well as fragrance.
Day 3 – Lakshmi pooja: This is when the festivities reach the pinnacle and the actual Diwali festival is celebrated – this also happens to be the last day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month. The entire day is a day of celebration – people dress up and decorate their home and these days, people buy Diwali gifts online to share with their family and friends. Legend has it that Lord Rama, after defeating Ravana and rescuing Sita, returned home to Ayodhya on this very day. Since he was returning from the dark forest, the people of Ayodhya lit lamps to show him the way back to the palace. In the evening, people burst crackers and share sweets, after doing Lakshmi and Ganesha pooja.
Day 4 – Govardhan Pooja: The first day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu calendar is known as Govardhan Pooja or Padwa. This particular day is meant to celebrate the relationship shared between a husband and wife – gifts are exchanged and newlyweds are often invited to their parental homes and treated to lavish meals. In rural India, this day is celebrated as Govardhan Pooja in remembrance of the day that Krishna saved cows, cowherds and the farming comminute during the floods and incessant rains by lifting Govardhan mountain. A great way to deck up your home or pooja room for this day would be to place a cow and calf figurine or Kamdhenu statue, which you will be able to find easily at eCraftIndia.
Day 5 – Bhai dooj: This is the last day of the five day festivities and is meant to celebrate the bond between a brother and sister, quite similar to Rakshabandhan. Unlike Rakshabandhan, there is no tying of sacred threads on the wrist of brothers, but sisters put tilak on their brother’s forehead and feed them sweets. It is said that in olden times, brothers would travel to meet their sisters on this day or they would invite married sisters back home with their family, to enjoy the bountiful harvest of the year. These days, brothers buy gifts such as clothes, jewellery and even wall décor items.
How to get your home Diwali ready:
Once you are done with the spring cleaning, you can start at the front door – at eCraftIndia, you will be able to find the most gorgeous range of door hanging torans online. These will not only decorate your front door and make your home look a lot more inviting, it will also help invite positive vibes inside.
In case, actual oil diyas are a problem for you, you can go for string lighting, which you can place all around the house – from the front door to the balcony and even inside the house.
At the entrance, you can make a rangoli using either dry powders or flowers and make sure that in the evening, you deck the rangoli with diyas. In case you are going for a more modern approach to your festivities, you can look at mosaic tea light holders, which will add an extra sparkle to your festivities. These types of modern tea light holders work really well inside the home as well and can be kept on cabinets and centre tables.
When you browse through the collections at eCraftIndia, you will also find several decorative urlis, which are great for festive occasions. You can fill them water, float some fresh flowers and candles to create an incredible look.
If you have just moved into a new home or have recently done a bit of renovation, you can even pick up a handcrafted and highly decorative mandir. This will prove to be more than just a decorative element for your home, because it will help create a spiritual space for you. You can choose from mandirs with doors and drawers as well, depending on your requirement.
Make sure that you have a Ganesha and Lakshmi statue for the pooja – at eCraftIndia, you can find individual statues of both and combined versions too. As a matter of fact, you will be able to find figurines of Ganesha, Lakshmi and Saraswati too and these work really well for your home and are ideal gifts to friends and family too.
Now that your pooja space is ready, pick up a pooja thali from eCraftIndia and set it up with all the ingredients and sweets. Light the diyas and you will be all set for the Lakshmi poojan. At eCraftIndia, you will also be able to choose from a range of decorative and intricately handcrafted diyas.
Diwali is yet around the corner and you too should get busy getting your home ready for the festivities and if you are looking to decorate your home and have it looking festive, come directly to eCraftIndia, where you can find everything you will need. Whether you want traditional looking diyas, modern tea light holders, decorative urlis or you are looking to buy home decoration items online that are pretty and unique, this will prove to be your one stop shop for all your home décor needs!