We aren’t a religious family but we love an excuse for decorations and food and friends. So although I’m not Hindu, we enjoy a nod to Divali most years. It’s a fantastic celebration of light as the dark months ahead beckon and aims to welcome prosperity into the home by way of the Goddess Lakshmi. Hindu families decorate their floors with Rangoli – beautiful patterns often made of edible things such as rice that might then be eaten by wildlife as a nod to sharing our bounty with others.
Traditionally it also includes a massive clean of the house as well but that’s one tradition I won’t be following. I wonder if it’s ok to enjoy this without the intense meaning, history or religious aspect – but then I wonder if it’s ok that I do the same at Christmas time. In essence, these celebrations, even without the weight of religious belief, remind us of some fundamental human truths: life and death, light and dark, prosperity and gratitude. So that can only, surely, be a good thing in an age of materialistic secularism.
Divali comes at the same time as the Christian Halloween – taken from the season of ‘Allhallowtide’. On the eve of All Hallows it was believed that the material world and the afterlife came closer together, and in order to protect one’s identity from those souls floating around, people would wear masks. This veneration or appreciation of ancestors and the dead goes on throughout the world in every culture, for example the colourful and wild celebrations in Mexico for the Day of the Dead which is also late October early November.
My daughter has her school Halloween disco tonight. Ever ingenious with her ideas and with zero budget she’s going as a dead schoolgirl. There’ll be sweets (received with gratitude I hope), music (to celebrate the fact that they’re all very much alive), and friends (to share the experience with). Perhaps when it comes down to it, that’s what life, the seasons and so much more is all about.
Shelley Castle shares her October Journal with us - CLICK HERE to read more…
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