I’ve celebrated Diwali in Dubai for over 10 years, and I’ve met very few people who understand the significance of Deepavali (Or Diwali, or popularly known as The Festival of Lights).
Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya (His home) in the Holy Book of Hindu’s, Ramayana. I’m not going to divulge the intricate details, but Rama was the eldest Son of Dushrat, the Ayodhya King, he was married to three women, one of them, Kaikeye (not Ram’s mother), sent him to a 14 year exile. During this exile, Ram is accompanied by his brother Laxman and his wife Sita. Long story short, his wife was kidnapped by an evil named Ravan and taken to Lanka. Ram gather’s an army of Vaaners (apes) to have her released and after a long struggle returns to Ayodhya. The night of his return is moonless and thus the lights are significant both metaphorically and physically. It shows the triumph of good over evil and the return of the beloved king to his kingdom.
The usual traditions of Diwali are varied across different sects in Hindus. On a personal level, this is how a usual Diwali day went for my family. We’d wake up and wear clean clothes, offer our prayers and add finishing touches to the mithai (Indian sweets). But the main event took place after nima-shaam (dusk). We gather the entire family, dress up in traditional clothing, add rangoli (colorful patterns) and diyas (oil lamps) and initiate prayers in length. The entire house is adorned in the scent of agarbatti (incense sticks) bright fairy lights and tons of diyas. The light is bright and beautiful and can knock some festivity in the most unbelieving of diwali scrooge’s.
The festival really just adds brightness and love to your life. If I were in India, all the festivities would end in the family gathering and indulging in fireworks. In Dubai, it’s all very discreet and I haven’t lit a single firework in the last forever number of years. Every ritual in Diwali has this sense of togetherness and celebration and I truly miss that with my extended family back home.
Whether you’re celebrating Diwali with your parents, your family, your friends, or alone, I hope you have a brilliant one!
Shubh Diwali to all!
Now for the look I’m going to be wearing this Diwali: