Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Diwali - The festival of lights

Coming home to India for Diwali was something I was really looking forward to... Diwali, or Deepawali, is one of our biggest festivals. The name literally means 'a row of lights' and hence the title - festival of lights. For a culture that promotes a way of living represented by the saying 'तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय' (Take me from darkness to light), diwali is a fitting king of festivals - celebration of the victory of good over evil. With the thought of being at home for Diwali brought back fond memories from my childhood. When I think of Diwali, I think of lighting oil lamps, homemade sweets, shopping for new clothes, making the paper akash-kandil, rangoli in the front yard, fire crackers, building a mud castle in the yard and meeting the extended family and lots of friends! Here are a few pictures borrowed from different sources.
Oil lamps (wikipedia)

Homemade sweets - Faral (Happy Burp)

Akash Kandil (Grace's photostream)


Apart from experiencing all of this, I was also looking forward to this being a great photo opportunity... Call me opportunistic, but I was determined to be poised with my camera every step of the way.

However, I have to report with great disappointment that I don't have a lot of pictures to share... I was so busy actually doing all that stuff I mentioned :-), that there was no time to take pictures! There was one evening where I did have my camera in hand while out and about in the city and I saw a big roadside stall setup to sell earthen lights. From simple lights to the most beautiful intricate designs, there were numerous type of lights (diya - small clay pots) one could choose from. Everybody buys lamps that they can afford, simple plain ones to the most expensive designer ones... While I growing up, we had about 2 dozen lamps at home - some to be arranged in the front yard, some to be arranged beautifully around the rangoli, some more on all the window sills, and the rest around the house. These clay or eathern lamps, filled with oil are the most beautiful sight during diwali. Here are a few different ones I saw that day...
No matter which ones we choose, let them bring light into our lives... तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय...

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