The Tradition of Lights
Homes are filled with these oil lamps, candles and lights. Some people use decorated light candles, some decorated diya or clay lamps, and other decorative lights and put them in their windows for the festival. Traditionally people use 'earthen lamps' with cotton wicks and oil to light up the dark night. As man progresses, tradition gives way to modernity. Similarly, earthen lamps have replaced candles of various colors and forms. Electric lights of different shapes and sizes illuminate the dark, cold nights of Diwali
The idea behind the Festival of Lights comes from various versions of an ancient Hindu story. In northern India, the tale tells about the holy Lord Rama's return from a twelve-year exile and the celebration by the people for their beloved hero. The pious and rejoicing people decorated their city with candles and lights to welcome him back. In southern India, the story talks of the Goddess Durga's triumph over the evil demon Narakasura. This triumph of good over evil brought back the light of knowledge and truth to mankind.
In the city, as elsewhere, Diwali celebrations have become contemporary in keeping with the changing times. Until a decade ago, most city households used to illuminate their houses with the warm, sparkling bright lights of earthen lamps. But now, in addition to these diyas, wax candles of various colours and forms and colored electric bulbs of different shapes and sizes are illuminated soon after dusk.
Those who have a fancy for different types of earthen lamps can opt for handi lamps (earthen lamps shaped as handis or bowls). Some of these handi lamps with the designer touch, with innovative designs glittering and sparkling on them, are sold by a few women from their home boutiques. Then there are also the star-shaped earthen diyas that hold a large quantity of oil and five wick in one lamp and are available at roadside stalls. Corners of rooms and puja rooms can be decorated and lighted up with brass, copper or metal lamps.
Candles also offer a wide choice. There are the regular rod-shaped candles available in small, medium and large sizes at all roadside kiosks and shops. For those looking for designer candles, there are the flower-shaped and heart-shaped floating candles in soft hues. These scented candles when placed in glass bowls filled with water will float and burn for about two-and-a-half hours. Besides, the stores also has a collection of glass gel candles that burn for days together and are drip-free.