This weekend Hindu’s around the world will be celebrating Diwali, which is often called the festival of lights. After a spot of Googling I found another interpretation, which explains Diwali as “the celebration of ones inner light”. I quite enjoy this second meaning, much the same way that I love the explanation of the word “Om” as being the primordial sound. It’s odd, even though I’m not a religious person, there’s something in the reverberative quality of saying the word Om at a comfortable volume and allowing it to warm the corners of your lungs.
I love the feeling of being with family and participating in the dress code and itinerary that has been the same for as long as I can remember. I’m often the first person to question tradition, just for tradition-sake, but I’m looking forward to the routine of the weekend ahead of me.
Much like “death and taxes” I know that on Diwali morning, we will be greeted with hot samoosa’s and Doodh Paark, which is a sweetened milk drink studded with toasted nuts and sago. That will be followed by a huge family lunch with extended family for as far as the eye can see, followed by tea and sweet treats before the pyrotechnics of the evening. It’s evident that my obsession with food has been kindled over a number of years and I am lead by the example of my family, who do a pretty god job blazing this trail.
Diwali’s of years gone by meant that being the eldest of 3 grandchildren (at the time) I would have the pick of all the fireworks. Admittedly, I would follow the lead of my uncles and loved the shrieking terror as I’d run away from the lit wick of a colourful explosive. I know that I tried blowing up many things from tin cans to ant mounds, but always felt as though I never had quite enough gunpowder.
I recall writing my name in a delicate flare with those long wand-like Sparklers and eventually working up the courage to smash “Pop Pop’s” between my fingers. My cousin was our flower. She was always terrified of the medium-volumed bangs and stuck to the safer amusements, while I ran circles around the garden in my element playing with fire, as per usual.
This year will be different. It’s the first year that I celebrate as a married person. This rite of passage feeling is intoxicating! It’s new and wonderful and even though I was supposed to join the elders by baking something for our celebration, I was not able to. So instead, I look forward to spending time with my family in a tradition that has been a part of me since the very beginning.
Happy Diwali Everyone!