I wish all my readers, fellow bloggers and friends, A Very Happy New Year!!
In the past, I would have wished everyone for an exciting year ahead, that was filled with travel, adventure and parties with friends. Considering what happened in 2020 and the new social norms, I have updated my new year wish for everyone.
I wish everyone good health, a safe home, company of your good friends and peace of mind.
For this New year, let us make a resolution to take care of our health. Be patient and tolerant with everyone around us. Stop judging people before we know the complete story.
Here’s to wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a Joyous year ahead.
There are many festivals in India, some are specific to a region, some specific to a community etc. Different people celebrate different festivals with varying degrees of enthusiasm and pomp. But there are a few festivals that are celebrated throughout India and the most important among them is Diwali, the festival of lights.
There are different mythologies associated with Diwali in North India and South India. However, the importance of the day is constant. One group celebrates the day as the return of Lord Rama back to Ayodhya after his victory over Ravana and his subsequent coronation. To another group, it marks the defeat of the evil king Narakasura at the hands of Satyabhama. Anyway, I am not here to give mythology lessons on Diwali. I just want to reminisce fond memories from my childhood.
The day before Diwali, it is a tradition to wake up before sunrise, have a bath and get ready for puja. We all gathered at our grandparents’ house for the aarti to pray for our siblings. It was also a time to collect gifts from them. As children, this was the best part that we all waited for, The Gifts. Next all of us cousins could pool our money and buy extra crackers for the evening and start bursting them. On the day of Diwali, since my grandfather and my uncles are all architects, we did special pujas at the office and then started to burst crackers. This is where all the fun happened.
I remember that I was a wuss when it was time to burst noisy crackers. I just enjoyed the sparklers and flower pots. The minute anyone lit up Laxmi bombs or rockets, I would run and hide behind the next tallest person. I had to bear the brunt of ridicule from my cousin’s for it. But we forgot all about it when we saw the bright colours light up the sky. Though it has been a few years since we consciously stopped bursting crackers, we spend that time on our terrace safely watching the fireworks at others house.
Here are some snaps of Diwali this year:
Recently we celebrated Sankranthi in India. It is a farmers festival that indicates the start of the farming season. It is a very grand celebration in villages with festivities spread over 3 days. I will not get into the details of how and why we celebrate Sankranthi, but I would like to speak about one key aspect of Sankranthi. That is the Rangoli or the Kollam that we draw to decorate our houses.
Rangoli or Kollam as it is called in South India is an art form, where we draw intricate and colourful patterns, flowers, or images on the floor with rice flour or chalk powder.
These rangolis can also be made with plain chalk powder, by drawing chain links around a series of dots to form patterns. here are a few examples of this style.
Drawing Rangoli has always been a hobby of mine that I get to indulge in during the festival of Sankranthi. I have tried quite a few patterns over the past few years. Take a look at some of them.
The festival of Sankranthi has many more aspects to it than just rangoli. You pray to the sun god Surya, fly kites, make special sweet with jaggery and sesame seeds, or peanuts etc. The festival basically indicates the start of the new farming season, so we also burn or get rid of the old articles in our house. If you are interested to know about the festival, I will do another post on that. This post has been about my love for Rangolis and their beauty.