Diwali is my absolute favourite time of the year, and although I haven’t been in India to celebrate it in a decade, I make sure we celebrate with full gusto in London! Our celebrations always include family, friends, dressing up, lots of good food, Indian sweets, fireworks, and arts & crafts with my boys
So, what is Diwali and why is it celebrated?
What is Diwali?
Diwali or Deepavali, is India’s largest festival and is essentially the equivalent of Christmas for those who follow Hinduism or a variant of the religion. Diwali is spread across five days, with each day carrying its own significance. Widely knowns as the “festival of lights”, it is a time for family and friends to come together to celebrate the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and new beginnings. It is also the start of the New Year in the Hindu calendar, with people wishing joy, luck, and prosperity to others.
Why do we celebrate Diwali?
The celebration of Diwali is rooted in the Hindu epic of Ramayana, which tells the story of Lord Ram’s 14-year exile and his heroic battle against the 10-headed demon Ravan to rescue his wife goddess Sita. In this story, Ram represents the goodness, divinity, and light within, whereas Ravan represents evil, with each of his 10 heads signifying sinful emotions - pride, greed, anger, lust, delusion, jealousy, negativity, selfishness, hatred and, ego. Upon his win, and the end of his 14-year exile, Lord Ram along with his wife and brother Laxman, return to their hometown of Ayodhya, which they find to be lit up with thousands of earthen lamps known as “diyas”, to welcome them back.
How do we celebrate Diwali?
While there are various customs for the days and weeks preceding Diwali, including Diwali Melas (fairs, just like at Christmas), the main celebration takes place on the 3rd day of the official five-day celebration period. On this day, family and friends come together, to pray to Goddess Laxmi for wealth and prosperity, and to Lord Ganesh, for new beginnings, in the year to come. It is marked by a puja (prayer), followed by celebrations that include new clothes, exchange of presents, delicious food, Indian sweets, and fireworks. People also light up their homes with diyas and candles, and decorate their homes to welcome Goddess Laxmi .
Gifting on Diwali
Gifting is an essential part of Diwali celebrations. We have some exquisite products that will make excellent gifts for your friends and loved ones outside of India. If you’re looking for something for the home, our collection of velvet cushion covers makes an absolute showstopper of a gift. The same goes for our velvet table runners. Stunning pieces in rich jewel tones, these make up our limited time collection, and are perfect for the festive season.
For children, check out our PJ sets, which make cute matching presents for siblings. These are made with 100% cotton and provide a more breathable sleep experience. Especially under sleep jackets or heavy duvet covers in the winter months. And what’s more, we also have some matching prints for women, it could easily be a “mum & child” gift!
For something smaller, check out our quilted cotton storage bags. Available in prints for both adults and children, these waterproof bags are great for travel, as well as for storage solutions around the house. Think snack, stationary, toys etc!
Celebrating Diwali Outside India
You don’t have to be in India to celebrate Diwali! Here is a list of things you can easily do to celebrate this wonderful festival, wherever you are –
- Light some candles or tealights in the evening to decorate your home. If you want to do it the authentic way, buy some diyas from an Indian shop or online.
- Bring in some fresh flowers to add to the decor.
- Make a rangoli using flowers and diyas.
- Cook your favourite Indian meal, choosing from the many recipes available on Google. Here's a great blog with some wonderful recipes to choose from.
- Or just order in from your favourite Indian restaurant. If you’re in London, my favourite takeaways are Dishoom, Gunpowder, Motu’s Kitchen or Kathi Roll Company. Yum!
- Get some Indian sweets from an Indian sweet shop. If you’re in the U.K, there are many sweet shops all over. My favourites in London are Ambala Sweets, Pooja Sweets, and Nirala.
- Do some Diwali related arts & crafts with your children. Here are some easy ideas.
- Buy someone a Diwali gift from Rooh and make their day! 😊
Diwali this year is on 24th October, and I really hope the above gives you some ideas on how to make this festival your own! If you do purchase from us, please tag us using #roohlondon or @rooh_london on Instagram and Facebook.
In the meantime, I wish you a very Happy Diwali, and love & light in the year to come!