October marks many things, Fiji’s Day (10/10), Savoring Fiji’s anniversary (10/10), my birthday, but also at times a major holiday, and one that I hadn’t officially celebrated in decades. Diwali (10/22-10/26). As I scoured my brain to remember my last Diwali memory, nothing surfaced. The memory tank was empty. I know I celebrated as a child, but let’s just say it’s been a very long time.
But this year is different. This year I’m bringing Diwali BACK into our home. There is so much positivity around this cultural holiday and for me its important to teach my girls about the holiday whether they continue the traditions we will make in our home or choose their own.
So what exactly is Diwali?
Diwali (short for Deepawali) is the five-day Festival of Lights celebrated by a quarter of the world’s population (over a billion), Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. A celebration of good over evil, light over darkness, and for some signifies a New Year.
During Diwali, the goddess Lakshmi – goddess of wealth, abundance and health is worshipped. Hindus attract Lakshmi into their homes through poojas and by lighting lamps and candles (diyas).
The five days of Diwali consist of the following:
- Day 1: Dhanteras: The very first day of Diwali is called Dhanteras, typically people will perform their rituals/poojas praying to Lakshmi, deep house cleaning and purchasing something precious (in most cases something for their kitchen) all things which are believed to bring good fortune.
- Day 2: Narak Chaturdashi or Choti (small) Diwali: Mostly this day is used to decorate your freshly clean home with colorful decorations, lights, and rangolis—intricate patterns made from colored powder, rice, and flowers, and diyas are lit and placed in doorways, entryways of homes.
- Day 3: Lakshmi Puja: This is the main celebration to worship Lakshmi, friends and family dress up, feast together, usually have fireworks and celebrate.
- Day 4: Govardhan Puja: This day is associated with feasting and Lord Krishna. Friends and relatives exchange gifts and good wishes.
- Day 5: Bhaiya Dooj: This is the very last day and is dedicated to exchanging of gifts mainly among siblings. Traditionally, brothers will visit and bring gifts to their sisters, who honor them with special rituals and sweets.
As you can see Diwali is traditionally a very religious holiday. As spiritual as our home is, we are not Hindu. And as religious and faith based as this holiday is, it is very cultural as well, and for me its the cultural aspect that I want bring into our home.
Here are the five simple ways we are re-introducing Diwali into our home:
- Diwali Days – We will be implementing a simplified version of the 5 days of Diwali: Day 1 – House Cleaning and kitchen utensil shopping (a food bloggers delight) Day 2 – Decorating our home with colorful decorations and Rangolis, and lighting our diyas Day 3 – Celebrating with family and food, and sparklers in lieu of fireworks! Day 4 – Friends and family gift exchange, stories and sweets and Day 5 – Exchanging something small and new between siblings.
- Diwali 101 – For a kid-friendly story-time, we purchased this great book called Binny’s Diwali. A great introduction to the holiday.
- Family – We plan to share story-time with Mila & Priya’s cousins, light diyas and cook sweets together as a family – cannot wait to make this family Gulab Jamun recipe together.
- Indian Clothing – it is only on the rare occasion there is a family wedding that my family dresses up, it would be nice to have this holiday to look forward to annually and dress for the occasion. Thank god for amazon, we bought these for the girls.
- Feasting together – though sweets dominate Diwali recipes, we have to eat too! Which #SavoringFiji recipe should we make?
These are great ways to start incorporating Diwali into your home and with your families whether or your are a practicing Hindu or not.
Quick Links to things I bought for our simple Diwali:
The gorgeous Rangoli in this photo was made by my cousin Aradhana during Diwali in her home. Thank you Pinky! <3