In India, one of the most and most important holidays of the year is Diwali or Dipawali, known as the Festival of Lights. It’s a five-day celebration (between mid-October and mid-November) that includes good food, fireworks, colored sand, and special candles and lamps. The festival gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa or diya) that Indians light outside their homes. Diwali symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance”.
Hindus interpret the Diwali story based upon where they live. But there’s one common theme no matter where people celebrate: the victory of good over evil.
In northern India, they celebrate the story of King Rama’s return after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps. Southern India celebrates it as the day that Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura. In western India the festival marks the day that Lord Vishnu, the Preserver (one of the main gods of the Hindu trinity) sent the demon King Bali to rule the nether world.
Over the centuries, Diwali has become a national festival that’s also enjoyed by non-Hindu communities. For instance, in Jainism, Diwali marks the nirvana, or spiritual awakening, of Lord Mahavira on October 15, 527 B.C.; in Sikhism, it honors the day that Guru Hargobind Ji, the Sixth Sikh Guru, was freed from imprisonment. Buddhists in India celebrate Diwali as well.
Diwali is celebrated over five days:
- DAY ONE: People clean their homes to help bring good fortune.
- DAY TWO: People decorate their homes with clay lamps (deepas, diyas) and
create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or
- DAY THREE: On the main day of the festival, families gather together for
Lakshmi puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering
feasts and firework festivities.
- DAY FOUR: This is the first day of the New Year, when friends and relatives
visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
- DAY FIVE: This is a special day for brothers and sisters. They perform a
ceremony and share sweets and gifts.
The first thing you need to do for this Flower Rangoli is to collect some flowers. Look in your garden to find a few flowers or find colorful mums in your local garden store to use for the flower petals. Remove all of the flowers from their stems to create flower petals to use for the Rangoli design for Diwali. The flowers can be placed on a rangoli pattern or styled free hand. They can be glued or pressed. You can cover the flower rangoli art design with contact paper if it is to be a keepsake.