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Dwali clay lamp

image: kdinuraj

Diwali is the “Festival of Lights,” a beautiful celebration that takes place every year in several countries. It falls between mid-October and mid-November; this year’s Festival begins on November 3rd.

The five-day celebration lights up every home with small oil-filled lamps of clay, creating a warm glow by which the residents enjoy traditional activities. The lamps are kept on throughout the night, chasing away the darkness and signifying the triumph of good over evil, light over dark, and knowledge over ignorance.

Inner light and celebration

It is also important during this special time to clean the house completely — a way of welcoming the goddess Lakshmi. Firecrackers are burst to drive away evil spirits, friends and family share sweets and treats, and everyone dresses in their newest clothes. More than anything else, Diwali is the celebration of the inner light and the goodness that comes from within each of us.

dwali lamps candles

image: Sandeep Sudhakaran

The idea of chasing away the darkness with a soft, gentle light has been loved for many centuries. In celebration of the inner light of yourself and those around you, now is the time to revel in the inspirations of Diwali.

Lighting up the night

No matter where you are in the world and no matter what your religion, a flickering candle or stately oil lamp can provide an appealing beauty. Create your own celebration with sweetly-scented candles nestled in clay pots, heavy oil lamps filled with colorful fuel, and tall tapers that cast light over a dark room. Working only by the light of the lamps, serve decadent sweets to your family in bowls that are most comforting to you, whether they be cut-glass beauties or simple wooden vessels.

tea lights

Now is also the time to meditate on the things that Diwali is meant to bring into focus, such as the goodness of the hearts around you, the triumph of the positive over the negative, and what you can do in your everyday life to bring more of that happy energy to bear on your actions and words.

Want to share the moment with friends? Create a garden of illumination with tea lights placed in sturdy paper bags to create luminaries lining your patio or driveway. Offer a delicious dinner with a brightly-colored flower centerpiece, then light the table with only candles.

Photo:Pete Gray 1

Photo:Pete Gray 1

 

After your feast, don’t forget the sweets passed around in an earthen bowl, a nod to the traditions of both the clay lamps and the sweets that are a hallmark of the Festival. Finally, let the light shine on others by taking your party outside, where you can illuminate sky lanterns to send out into the world (assuming they are entirely biodegradable and legal where you live, of course!).

Creating comfort and beauty is one of the hallmarks of Diwali. From a roaring fire in the fireplace to a single candle lighting up your corner of the world, staring into the flame and thinking only good thoughts is the best way to bring the spirit of the Festival of Lights to life. At the very least, it’s a time for quiet reflection and a touch of beauty — and that’s something we can all definitely celebrate.

 

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.