This week marks the start of Diwali (Hindu festival of lights) in honour of the Hindu goddess Laskshmi, celebrating the victory of good over evil.
The festival is held over four days and is one of India’s best known. What I would give to be in India with a local family celebrating the event this week.
Houses are scrubed and decorated with beautiful Kolam (patterns) on doorsteps to welcome good spirits. Families buy new outfits and/or gift them. Earthenware lamps are lit … the cacophony of firecrackers and the important visit to the temple.
Australia is fast embracing Diwali celebrations with the growing Indian population and local councils run events in various locations throughout Melbourne to mark the event.
I love getting my sweets (desserts), spices, nibbles from local Indian speciality shops. (This week though, the shop keeper looked a little puzzled, when I asked for the little earthenware lamps and other Diwali supplies…especially when I revert to my indian-english accent).
Traditionally the four days have specific celebration requirements, however in in our house-hold we celebrate over one day – We don’t go to temple, and this year I’ve invited friends over.
The Frenchies, celebrate with lighting of lamps, ‘spring’ cleaning the house and preparing Indian dishes. The kids will help with the lighting of the lamps and sparklers and setting up the solar lights in the garden.
It is times like these, that I wish I had paid more attention when growing up in India. Family celebrations and special festivals make me acutely aware of being so far away from family. If only my sister-in laws or nieces were around to teach my kids too. (Can’t even obtain a tourist visa for them thank to our rigid government!)
What is your favourite Festival?