Saturday, October 29, 2016

How to Be Mindful While Celebrating Diwali?

Diwali is a centuries-old, largest festival in India and is also known as Festival of Lights! Diwali symbolizes victory of light (goodness) over dark (evil)! But as it happens with almost all religions and traditions, intention behind the festival and rituals start taking back seat and consumerism, using festivity for marketing takes center stage.

So sadly now people mainly know Diwali for buying new things, gifts and fire crackers in India and outside! But frankly Diwali is not about shopping and consuming, it's victory of goodness you remember? So do you think consuming more things (most times unnecessary) and increasing waste is good in any way?

Firecrackers are not part of Diwali!

If you talk about firecrackers, firstly this is very recent addition to festival of Diwali! Firecrackers are invented in China and they reached India just 2-3 centuries back and systematically marketed and associated to Diwali in 1923 by a match factory owner, read this article to know more!

Secondly air pollution is already at it's peak and more and more people specially children are suffering through respiratory diseases, so adding more concentrated pollution to air during Diwali sounds good to you? Frankly since years my brother who had child asthama, used to avoid going out on day of Diwali as the polluted air was very harmful for him! I haven't taken my son to India in Diwali since last 4 years during Diwali, in fear of not exposing him to that concentrated fire crackers smoke and almost unstoppable sound pollution.

Unfortunately that fact is, people in India since few years are cracking bigger and louder firecrackers to show how wealthy they are. I am not kidding, but it's a mark to show your success, where they are actually showing that they are fooled by that marketing tact started in 1923! Plus it's sad to see the waste from firecrackers scattered all over streets next morning! So firecrackers of Diwali are not only non-Eco-friendly and harmful for us but also are not really part of Diwali at all!

Diwali Rituals

Laxmi, Ganesh and Saraswati

I will not go deeper into significance of 5 days of Diwali or mythological stories but would love to discuss some age-old Diwali rituals which are even necessary for healthy living!

Before Diwali, Indians clean their houses, for me it's time to do yearly deep-cleaning of my home to make it non-toxic!

Some typical Diwali sweets and delicacies are made before of during Diwali days! As during this festival, Indians meet their family and friends to share joys and these Diwali sweets!

Abhyanga snan is performed during Diwali mornings, mainly on Narakchaturdashi! Traditionally early morning women massage kids, husband with essential oils and then perform ceremony "ovalaney" with ghee lamp & then ubtan made of natural ingredients is used during the bath. Abhyang snan keeps skin healthy and moisturized.  Over years ubtan was replaced by soaps, but we can always choose Eco-freindly soap made of natural materials which comes in Eco-friendly or no packaging!

On the Diwali day or Laxmi poojan, wealth is worshiped specially by business community. But I like our Laxmi Poojan the most because in my family we worship Laxmi  (Goddess of wealth) as well as Saraswati (goddess of knowledge); believing 'knowledge is wealth'!

Throughout Diwali, we lit up of our homes and outdoor spaces and entrances with lamps. Traditional Rangoli is created near the entrance of home. But since few years wax lamps are replacing traditional Diwali lamps, which are not just harmful for environment but also add to waste. 

But then here are few ways to make your Diwali celebration Eco-friendly and mindful

Eco Friendly Diwali Essentials

Eco-friendly Diwali Essentials

1. Using oil lamps instead of wax lamps. Remember Palm wax candles are even more unethical, as every years palm cultivators in Indonesia (largest palm producer) burn forests to cultivate palm. Among candles, soy candles can be a more sustainable solution. But comparatively most sustainable way to light up Diyas is to use or recycle cooking (fried) oil after making those Diwali sweets for lamps with handmade cotton wick.

2. Using natural soaps and oils for Abhyang. As we are living in Dubai I preferred a soap made from local natural ingredient, camel milk. You can even find a range of baby soaps at Camel Milk Factory

3. I love to make Rangoli designs since years, but since few years my running toddler hardly keeps the Rangoli at my door for an hour without spoiling it. I have switched to these wooden Rangoli pieces which you can arrange in diffrent formations. Frankly I am liking this Rangoli more as it's waste free Rangoli helping my #zerowasteUAE attempt as well.

4. Solar lanterns and solar light garlands are one more sustainable and Eco-friendly option to decorate your home or outdoors.

5. Instead of buying new traditional clothes and jewelry every Diwali, you can always wear vintage fashion, may be passed on by older ladies in your family or your won old fashion pieces.

This years shopping wise we are celebrating almost 'no spend Diwali', we saved ourselves from hassle of going to Meena Bazzar in horrible traffic and then adding some more clutter to home which we will probably use directly in next Diwali. At least I can see my husband is really happier by ditching Diwali shopping all together! Diwali is about spreading happiness too!

Here is our family wearing our previously bought traditional clothes!
Happy Diwali!


Fred said...

It is great you are trying to source products and ingredients locally. I feel you are part of our growing family.
We strive to produce good quality ice cream made of local ingredients like camel milk and dates, etc...
Dubai will be proud of us as we contribute to boost exports and domestic input.

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thank you Fred! Would love to know more about your icecream, I love to support local businesses, important step in sustainable living.

Fred said...

Indeed, Dubai needs to be more sustainable so we do our part of the job here :)
You can find us on all social media @nouqdubai or
Come chat with us and let us know your instagram :)

Amruta Kshemkalyani- Tavkar said...

Thank you for getting in touch Fred! Would love to support your local product!