It is that time of the year where colours, lights and cuisines all take on a meaning of their own. This day has several names in India but it is more popularly known as Diwali – “the festival of lights” – and may I add that the festival remains quite true to its name. Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word “Deepavali” which means “row of lamps.”
This day is a celebration for all – reasons may vary. In India, Diwali is celebrated with such grandeur and lavishness and there are enough lights and diyas, lit to light up the entire country so there is the beauty of light in every household. There is an outflow of sweets and mouth-watering cuisines so no household goes hungry. Fireworks! Laughter! Family reunions!
People dressed in beautiful colours! It’s like the Willy Wonka factory minus the crazy guy in the top hat! In Canada, although we share the same spirit of Diwali, we face the challenge of how to decorate our homes for Diwali to reflect and incorporate the spirit of India. Here are four decorating tips you can do to add a little touch of Diwali to your home this festive season.
Lights, lights and more lights! For Diwali, the outside of your house should also receive a makeover to fit in with the festivities. Frame your house with outdoor lights. You can go with the original yellow lights for more of the traditional look or you can make it a little fun and use multi-coloured lights. Working on the outside décor of your home, you have a large area to cover so don’t be afraid to be creative! Wrap the lights around your trees, and bushes – during Diwali, there is no such thing as over the top. If you have a walk way in front of your house, light it up to give your guests the red carpet experience.
Decorating the inside of your house can seem like a chore but it’s a fun chore. Buy lots of white candles and diyas in bulk. You can decorate the white candles in beautifully accessorized candle holders around the house. For a fresher airy feel, take the clear long vases, fill it with water and drop one or two candles into the vase.
Blogger Prachi Grover provides a great tip and says “Fish out that corrugated packing and dress your candles with them, loads of empty jars make lovely candleholders or simply put them all on a mirror for that extra glow!” It’s easy, fun and recyclable! Another tip for using the candles is to buy paper lanterns and lighting the candle within to create that soft, ambient glow.
You can buy the diyas in bulk as well and transform them into your own little creation. Paint the diyas yourself – which can also be a fun project for you and your family. Paint them gold – I know diamonds are a girl’s best friend but I think we can deal with gold as well, right ladies? Gold adds an unspoken glamour to the party.
To add a little fun to the party you can also paint the diyas different colours – keep the colours vibrant and bold like bright green and pink, yellow, light orange and red. Once decorated you can do endless things to them: take a serving plate in any shape of your choice (I prefer round) and now you can line up the plate with the diyas, sprinkle in rose petals or you can design the center of the plate with rangoli or mehndi designs for the more artistic souls. Rediff’s Shifra Menezes says “If you plan to place a few diyas at the threshold of your home, instead of just placing one at each corner, you could arrange the diyas in a petal or flower pattern and do a rangoli around them.”
Diwali also means time for spring cleaning (well it’s not a literal translation). Don’t underestimate what you may see as “junk.” Ladies go through your closets and take out all the sarees you will not be caught dead in – anything out of style or you’ve worn too many times – let your imagination take over.
You can use the sarees as curtains so they add the right pinch of tradition for this time of the year. Take any chunni with phulkari and you can use it as a back drop for that immediate colour splash. You can also use the chunni to drape over your couch to make it seem more festive or even as a table cloth. Spruce up your cushion covers – heavy sarees can be great for a pillow cover that you can throw onto your couch.
Big patterns are not only for your trendy Diwali outfits but you can also use them to accessorize your home. Rangoli is a great way to add tradition, colour and any easily reversible and erasable design of your choice – all you have to do is imagine!
Another one of Prachi Grover’s fresh ideas is to display flowers and lots of them! The beautiful fine china that we all have in our homes but never had the nerve to use, “fill them up with water, put in a flower or two and you have a gorgeous centerpiece,” she adds. My personal favourites is using teapots to hold roses or “blooms inside inverted wine glasses with candles on the top.”
Decorating your home for Diwali can be just this easy; all you have to do is let your imagination run free!