3 Alternative Ways To Make Bright This Diwali

By shalinighosh | Oct 30, 2018

 

There isn’t any country in the world that has such an intense affinity for festivities and celebrations as India does. As a secular nation with so many diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, we Indians have the opportunity to celebrate different traditions, tastes, colours - and that’s what makes celebration in this country so precious. And perhaps the one festival every Indian looks forward to celebrating, no matter what religion, age, or socioeconomic background, is Diwali - fondly nicknamed the “Festival of Lights”. The celebration of good over evil was, and still is, in many ways, synonymous with relatives and families coming together, decorating their homes with colourful candles and diyas, friendly gambling sessions, preparing delicious, homemade sweets and enjoying the noisy but pretty display of crackers.

Over the years, however, there has been a drastic shift in these core Diwali trends. Earthen diyas have given way to electric lights, home-made sweets are being replaced by store-bought chocolates and online shopping has completely wiped out the tradition of family shopping. Blame it on science and technology or our lives becoming busier by the day; it seems that the core essence of Diwali is slowly being forgotten.

For those of us who are torn between being tired of forking out a fortune on needless presents, and missing the warmth of celebration and togetherness, here are a few things that can help  revive the true essence of this very special Indian winter festival.  

1. Travel With Your Loved Ones

Amidst all the festive hustle and bustle, it is essential to remember that the most important part about any form of celebration is spending quality time with the ones you love. It’s a wonderful way to beat the slump and stresses of the daily grind and remind yourself to be thankful for the meaningful things in life that we all take for granted; laughter, love, warmth, and happiness.

But let’s face it, for most millennials these days, the very idea of lavish get-togethers that involve a hundred “relatives” and “friends” whose names or faces they don’t even remember isn’t something to look forward to. Rather, it’s one of those dry formalities that need to be completed.

So here’s a better idea instead. Take a break from your routine and travel with a close group of friends and family. The holidays are the best time to recharge and what better way to do it than experiencing new cultures, landscapes and food with the people you’re the closest to? Whether you’re seeking the convenience of an all-inclusive resort or the adventure of forging your own trails, exploring new places can be a great way to shake off the slump and build an unforgettable bonding experience for the whole family!

2. Get Serious About Sustainability

While some of our traditions aren’t what they used to be, there are still a few that have remained the same. Bursting fireworks, for instance. Or sending out boxes and boxes of sweetmeats to friends and relatives. While it may seem like these traditions play an essential role in keeping the spirit of Diwali alive even after so many years, it’s important to acknowledge the amount of waste that’s generated, most of which is non-biodegradable and ends up in a landfill dump or in our water bodies.

With sustainability being the need of the hour, here are some things you can do to have a more eco-friendly Diwali:

  • Go back to earthenware: Ditch the electric lights and go for the traditional clay lamps/diyas; these leave little to no carbon footprint behind. Plus, they will make your house look so much prettier!

  • Take the DIY route: Instead of blowing up money on lamps and flowers, make your own with the help of simple stationery supplies. These will save you money, add a unique, personalised touch to the household celebrations and make Diwali so much more fun for you and your family.

  • Reuse old fabric and bags: Old sarees and dupattas gathering dust in your lofts? Time to bring those down and use them for creating colourful backdrops and tapestries! You could even use these to wrap your gifts with instead of shelling out money on wrapping paper. And if you have any old paper bags lying around, jazz them up with markers and glitter to give away gifts in! ;

  • Make your own organic rangoli: Use pulses to lend some texture and earthiness to your rangoli instead of synthetic dyed powders. Need brighter colours? Dye some rice with haldi for yellow or beet juice for red and you’re good to go!

  • Use better biodegradable dinnerware: Substitute laminated paper plates and boxes that have a slower decomposition rate with those made from dried plantain leaves. Once the celebrations are over, you can collect all the waste and place it in the community compost pit.

  • Limit your use of fireworks: If you can’t do away with fireworks entirely, be mindful of what kind of crackers you select. Try to choose ones that make the least noise; this will help lower noise pollution and make Diwali a lot more pleasant for senior citizens and animals. Once you’re finished, gather the waste together for immediate disposal instead of leaving the streets littered with chemically toxic remains.  

Traditions must evolve with time and often, it is in our best interest to recognize the ones to hold on to and the ones to let go of. This Diwali, let’s resolve to enhance the spirit of celebration by observing and emulating the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, shall we?

3. Resolve To Ignite The Light Within

The Festival of Lights doesn’t just mean decorating your surroundings with lamps and diyas to banish darkness and invite prosperity. It is infact, a time to look inwards and seek to dispel any form of negativity that may be getting in the way of our emotional and physical health.

So take some time out to reflect upon yourself and evaluate your thoughts and actions. Instead of making lofty resolutions, make a list of simpler things that will teach you to love yourself rather than seek to be loved. Practicing self-love gives you a chance to forgive and let go of any kind of ambivalence that you may be carrying, which in turn will help you pursue your goals with renewed fervour.

And last but not least, remember that any kind of wealth, be it material or spiritual, multiplies when shared with the less fortunate. So try and look for little ways to make this time of the year special for everyone around you and see the magic unfold!

Even as some traditions fade away, Diwali still stands for everything good and happy like gifting, and donating, sharing, decluttering and saying goodbye to negative vibes. So whether you’re getting together with your family or choosing to celebrate it alone with your pet, have yourself a celebration that’s true to your inner spirit. May you find your own authentic, alternative way of spreading light and love this year.

Happy Diwali, everyone!

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