My Childhood Memories of Diwali
Published on: November 06, 2020
Hetal reminisces about her family’s celebrations of her favorite Hindu festival, Diwali, and shares how she is passing the traditions down to her daughter.
By Hetal Shah
Diwali is an important Hindu festival celebrated globally in October or November according to the new moon day of the Hindu Lunisolar calendar. It is also called Deepavali, which comes from the Sanskrit words “rows of lights.” The festival lasts for five days, and this year it will be celebrated from 12-16 November, with the actual day of Diwali being on Saturday, 14 November.
One of the festival’s core themes is the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. This is symbolized by the prevalence of lights throughout the festival. Diwali depicts the story from Hindu mythology called Ramayan. It details how the Hindu god Rama returned to his kingdom in Ayodhya with his wife, Sita, and his younger brother, Lakshman, after fourteen years of exile. To illuminate their path and guide them home, people light diyas (clay lamps) everywhere. That is why at Diwali we see millions of lamps in homes, temples, shops, and public buildings all across the world.
Hindus also celebrate two important goddesses at this time. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity; and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, arts and wisdom. Every household worships them and everyone celebrates Diwali in their own way, irrespective of their financial state.
Passing down traditions
Diwali is very close to my heart and I cherish my childhood memories of celebrating this festival. These memories include staying up late to make rangoli designs with colored flour and flowers at each doorway of the house. Then we would go shopping for new clothes and buy and decorate clay lamps to light at sunset every evening during the festival. My family always cleaned the house together to welcome the goddess Lakshmi and we would light firecrackers too. I remember the mouthwatering fragrance around the house as my mother made sweet and savory delicacies. We would do pooja (prayers) together and the list just goes on.
Diwali is a time for family bonding and warmth by doing things together, which I want to pass onto our daughter. I want her to create lifelong memories of this festival, just like I have. We do most of the things that I did as a child with a modern twist like making rangolis with playdough and colored rice, using tealight candles instead of making oil lamps, and decorating the house in child-friendly ways. We still follow the rest of the traditions of praying, visiting the temple, making delicacies at home and lighting fireworks.
Being away from family hits you harder during festivals as extended families get together during festive times. However, Diwali is not just about lighting lamps, fireworks, and prayers but also rediscovering your inner peace. This Diwali, we will hang lanterns and light lamps to signify God’s grace and illuminate our homes so that darkness vanishes from hearts and homes. This festival is truly momentous and if you get the chance to attend a Diwali event in Bangkok, you will savor the different tastes and cultures of India.
May this festival of lights bring you peace, prosperity, success, health and great happiness! Happy Diwali!
Photos courtesy of the author.
About the Author
Hetal has a master’s degree in Statistics and worked in Information Technology for ten years. She quit the corporate world after entering motherhood with an energetic and charming little angel, Jivika. She is passionate about learning in fun ways and has discovered her love for learning through exploring while homeschooling her daughter for the last three years. She moved to Bangkok with her husband two years back and loves to travel, meet new people, and make life long memories along the way.
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