As Diwali, the festival of lights approaches, Indians all over the world are gearing up to celebrate the beginning of the Hindu New Year in their own special way. Interestingly now-a-days Diwali is not a festival which only Indians celebrate, it is instead an occasion when people from diverse nationalities come together and find a common reason to spread the festive cheer. Whether via a dress-up day at school, or at work, or a party with friends in the condo- it is the perfect occasion to turn up in your elaborate Indian finery. In addition to stunning outfits, there are a lot of traditions and rituals that are associated with the auspicious festival. This year, Secondsguru decided to undertake the task of identifying quick and easy ways to create the festive atmosphere for Diwali without breaking the bank or one’s back. As I am firm believer in the adage of “if I could do it, anyone can”, I have included a few upcycling ideas which are easy to execute.
The Build Up :
In in the good old days , in preparing for Diwali every year, homes in India were cleaned up thoroughly and painted in a fresh coat of paint . This was done to welcome the Hindu New Year and please Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth. While cleaning the home is a daily ritual in today’s day and age, painting the entire house is not exactly possible to execute annually. This Diwali, why not do something different- create a festive look by creating a feature wall using stencils or simply a bright color that gels in with the look of the rest of your home.
Stencil: Create your stencil (Some interesting downloads available here), buy some latex or acrylic paint, roller brush, fine brush for the edges, masking tape and watch this comprehensive video. I would not call it easy but definitely patience will yield gorgeous results!
Paint: rollers, wall paint, painter’s tape to mark the edges, and lots of newspaper to protect the floor! Find some handy tips here on panting the wall here.
Alternatively, you can brighten up your home by repurposing old Silk Sarees which range from 5.5 m in length to 9 m in length. Use the intricate borders and motifs to create a cushion cover that showcases your personal taste and style. Or, use silk or tussar sarees to make statement curtains. Some of the Cushion cover and saree curtain ideas we loved off the internet.
The Diwali decor:
Lights- The festival of lights requires one necessary item: LIGHTS! Homes are always decked up with beautiful diyas and candles making the entire atmosphere festive and colorful. This diwali let’s try our best to replace wax candles with LED candles as far as possible , they are cost effective in the long term, in addition to keeping you away from potentially harmful fumes (unless you use only beewax or soy candles) and preserving the environment.
I took pictures of wax candles and LED candles on an antique candle stand. Need some votes now! Do vote on- WAX vs LED: The proof will then be in the pudding! Just leave your comments here!
Rangoli- A lot of families already follow this, but if you do not do it yet, try it- make your floor rangoli this time around use dry food items like rice, lentils, oats, tea leaves, chia seeds, clove and the like. If your rangoli is craving for splashes of color, use food colouring on rice and you can get your color fill! Of these you can use the chia seeds, oats for bird feed in your bird house on the balcony/backyard(Make your own bird House by repurposing plastic bottles). The rest can be kept away in storage for the next rangoli you make. I must add here that I have had this beautiful piece of stencil rangoli in my house for a week now,not a single bug or insect has appeared around it.
Another good medium for doing the rangoli on, is the Chalk board. Pick easy designs, various chalk colors and doodle your way through!
Fireworks- The one tradition associated with Diwali I would like to wish away is the lighting of Fireworks. This year, I am going to consciously say no to fireworks not only for the environmental hazards but for the manner in which they are manufactured. Firework factory workers are exposed to toxic substances and often children are employed as cheap labour in the industry. Join me in my mini crusade if you see any merit in this reasoning.
On the day:
Diwali is all about celebrating friendship, family and sharing the joy. So this year as you go from from one friends home to another, to wish them for Diwali, try to do it via public transport, and reduce your carbon footprint along the way.
Finally and most importantly eat, eat and eat. This is one time of the year when you are allowed to partake food without any hesitation. No one watches as all are busy eating!