> The Tradition of Lights
The Tradition of Lights
The Diwali illuminations with lighted diyas bring the supernatural
brightness and joy with the hope of finding light in darkness, achieving
knowledge where there is ignorance, and spreading love amidst hatred. Diwali
is also known as the Festival of Lights
. Light is
significant in Hinduism because it signifies goodness. So, during the
Festival of Lights, 'deeps', or oil lamps, are burned throughout the day and
into the night to ward off darkness and evil.
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.