The dawning of a new Diwali
The house is in darkness as is the rest of the city. It is the second day of Diwali but for me and my family it is like any other Monday.
Our weekend was busy with comings and goings : Hubby Dear came back and Ms. Papaya went to Delhi.
I’m already missing her.
The night before she left, she’d slept holding my hand . Yet, when she left without a backward glance, I was happy that she could move on with confidence. We’re all going to miss her . Especially Wow Dinga and Little Po who still have a week’s holiday.
You know Diwali has transformed when
- When your Rangoli is made by your grandsons with the main motif a Transformer
- When baskets of Fresh Fruit have been replaced by boxes of Dry Fruit
- When people greet each other with WhatsApp messages rather than Diwali cards
- When family holiday out of town replace family celebrations at home
- When fairy lights replace traditional oil lamps
- When the grandchildren sing ‘Happy Birthday Diwali’
Making new traditions
Diwali is no longer what it used to be . The cold for one has vanished . I remember shivering at dawn. We had to wait our turn to be rubbed down by with scented oil. And the scented scrub afterwards made me feel fresh and new and festive .
The lady-of-the-house sets the tone for festivities.
However, my mother-in-law isn’t one for tradition. Nor is my husband . They prefer to spend Diwali as a holiday : waking up late and relaxing. So the ritual bath has never made its presence felt in my home.
Of course we did indulge in eating and feasting, meeting relatives and wishing everyone. But with increasing waistlines and health issues, our traditional sweets went for a toss. And now with all the designer mithai and chocolate taking over , merry making has morphed into something quite different.
So if I wanted to set up a Diwali tradition, I was free to do so.
While the girls were small, I did try to establish our own tradition. We shifted the ritual bath to a more normal time. But once they turned 8, this stopped .
Growing into little ladies, I began a new tradition – making a different Diwali sweet every day for the five days of Diwali. I thought it would be an inclusive and interactive festival where I’d pass on a tradition of home made sweets to the next generation. However, when studies became paramount , the next generation preferred learning the numbers of ‘vendors’ who could provide Diwali sweets.
New clothes became old hat as the kids got new clothes all year round. Besides, there’s nothing really festive about T shirt and shorts is there ?
Thankfully somethings remain the same !
But some traditions don’t change – like de-cluttering before the festival, lighting oil lamps at night time and rangoli. Pride of place of course goes to gift giving and the traditional Lakshmi Puja.
So today on Dhanteras , the second day of Diwali, I will give myself an oil massage. Rub myself with a home made scrub and run down to the market to mark this day with a purchase ( as is the custom)- not with gold but with a new toaster !
Do you still spend your Diwali the traditional way? I would love to know your Diwali traditions.
Happy Diwali all!