How to celebrate diwali with family and friends and make it shine brighter
What makes Diwali truly memorable?
The food? The diyas? The sparkly new clothes?
...but only at a surface level.
What TRULY makes Diwali the much-awaited highlight of the year is this:
The sounds of laughter; The conversations; The nostalgia and that amazing feeling that comes from surrounding yourself with those you love and who love you.
If you look back, you'll remember the oodles of love that oozed out of the laddoos your grandmother made. The ghee, the sugar and everything else may still be available in store-bought laddoos...
...But your childhood memories are a lot more delicious.
Those gifts that you wrapped with and the diya painting contest of sorts you had with cousins makes the best part of Diwali memories.
These days we do not all live in the same cities as our extended families. We are scattered across the globe, but we do have our neighbors and our friends who become an instant family.
Share a meal and eats with neighbours
We all come from different parts of the country (and even the world) and can bring to the table a variety of yummy delights, each different but as delicious as the next.
In these busy times, it is a great occasion to learn about each other and introduce little ones to varying ideas of celebration and foods.
Why settle for just motichoor laddoos when you can get payasam alongside it?
Include everyone in the prep
What might seem like a chore could be fun when it is done together. Wrap gifts, put out lamps, make the rangoli - just make sure you take suggestions and have everyone doing their bit.
The rangoli that your kids and their friends make may not be as perfect as you could have, but the pride and joy on their faces as they experiment, concentrate and bond over the accomplishment is more than perfect.
Let the celebration spill over officially
Work-spaces do not always provide us with opportunities for fun engagements, especially in terms of our cultural backgrounds.
Festivals are a great time to make a better connection at work and also engage families into the loop. Many of us cannot go back to our extended families, but bonding with workmates can be a great alternative.
Talk not text
While messaging is a great blessing in these times of scattered families, it is an excellent time to call, skype or video chat with the family that is not all in one place.
Your little ones get to know their extended family better, the elders feel more together with you, and you can build great camaraderie which we often miss out on during our everyday life.
Share the light
Share your good fortune with the less privileged. Orphanages, old age homes, animal shelters - all need support throughout the year, but festivals bring out the need for support even more starkly.
Celebrate Diwali with those who have no one to celebrate it with. Share sweets, share your time, your affection and your laughter with them.
It will make Diwali sparkle brighter for all of us.
Give eco-friendly, be eco-friendly
Big celebrations together are also a time to make a statement. Diwali is a time for giving, sharing and caring. It's a time to start anew.
Gifting eco-friendly and thoughtful gifts is meaningful to the person receiving it as well as the festival itself.
Friends, family, and festivals go together. Make new memories this Diwali. May the festival of lights make our lives brighter.
Happy Diwali to you and yours!