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Symbolism within the Patterns and Colour of the Festival of Lights

Ameya Hari Bhaskaran, IIK Young Conributor Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Symbolism within the Patterns and Colour of the Festival of Lights

Nothing brings people together better than festivals do. It is one of those words which bring back a sense of nostalgia and excitement. And who could forget the well-known festival of lights, Diwali? A festival which celebrates the winning of good over evil. It brings people to celebrate in harmony. The word Diwali means rows of light. Now, imagine the setting of Diwali. We might think of lanterns, diyas, sweets and rangolis. These are some of the icons of Diwali. But what significance do they hold? And what do they symbolize?

Let's start with the most timeless and colourful aspect of Diwali, which is the rangolis. The word rangoli means rows of colours. Rangoli honours the Goddess Lakshmi, as they symbolize the twenty-four petals of a lotus flower. They are said to ward off the negative energy. They also welcome guests and prosperity into the colourful home. For Rangolis making, one can use flour, rice or powder.

Next on the list are diyas, perhaps the most memorable aspect of Diwali. The warmth and beauty of the flame symbolize goodness, knowledge and purity, and lighting them denotes dispelling darkness and going into light. And since Deepavali is on the new moon day, the light of these lamps is a means to rid of darkness. Lighting the lamps also denotes dispelling bad omens. It can signify the clearing of ignorance.

There is no way that the festival can pass without having delicacies. Households start preparing sweets as early as ten days before the festival. Diwali also marks the end of the reaping season. Hence, farmers would distribute sweets as a show of gratitude for the rewards of their harvests and to mark the start of a new harvest year. Historically, people distribute homemade sweets.

Either way, there are multiple tales across the cultures of India which explain the reasons for these practices. Regardless. Of where you live, we can all agree that Diwali (or any festival for that matter) bring people together in a sense of unity. One thing we must remember is that festivals aren't just a one-day celebration. They teach us life lessons which we must uphold throughout generations.

Ameya Hari Bhaskaran
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