A Very Happy and Healthy Diwali to everyone!!
Diwali starts almost a month in advance. We are supposed to clean and declutter our houses before Diwali. Make room for wealth and prosperity is my interpretation. It makes a lot of sense, removing all the old clothes, shoes, books and papers from the house. Suddenly the garage and house start looking fresh and clean. New beginnings for another year is looking more like it now. My husband had to do three trips to the recycling area to get rid of all the extra stuff that we had collected over the years and were definitely not required anymore.
For the past week, I have been revising and going through all the things we will need on Diwali day. It is fun. Collecting all the food items that we prepare, making sure we all have some new clothes to wear. Get the flowers for decoration and to offer in the home temple- which we call Puja. Most Hindu house will have a temple in their houses. This year my daughter sent us some special Diyas- earthen little pots to light the tea candles in. She cannot come home with the lockdown but she is celebrating in her own way. In any case, I cannot expect them all to be here when they start getting their own responsibilities.
I cannot help remembering our Diwali when I was little. Puja used to happen with offerings to Lord Ganesh and Lakshmi, everybody from the household sitting in one place. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth so we pray hard to get her blessings. In our family home, we had a priest who used to do the puja. He represented the Gods side. My dad would represent us. There used to be a dice game which was played between these two parties and the highlight of the evening would be the winner. If my dad won, my grandmother would make a great deal out of his win over the Gods. It was great fun watching patiently. We would all be decked up of course.
The Diyas were made of earthenware, they had to be soaked in water for a day then dried off for the lighting of these little pretty lamps throughout the house. As soon as the puja finished, we were all given a task to put diyas along the terrace and verandah, put the wicks, put the oil and after this was the main fun. We would almost start lighting them at the same time. This job had at least ten people involved in it. Within a few minutes, all these Diyas would be lit up. We would run to the garden and look up to see the house. It simply looked majestic in its own little but big way. I still can feel the thrill of the night with these twinkling lamps all over the house.
Fireworks were a thing even then but not too much. We used to do them, as it was customary but it felt like a waste of money and created a lot of pollution so it was not encouraged by our elders.
Health, Wealth and Happiness to all of you on this day of new beginnings. Have a lovely day of food and festivities. Love you all.