“India is getting ready to celebrate Diwali”
What is Diwali?
Firstly, Diwali is a Hindu festival. However, people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds participate in the festive joy. Shopping markets, homes and offices are all lit up in colourful lights at least a fortnight ahead of the actual Diwali day, which is on the 7th of November this year. Special Diwali sales and Diwali discounts drive people to the shopping malls & shopping markets. Gift shops and sweet shops are particularly busy at this time of the year.Diwali shopping in Delhi is a joyous period.
Why & how is Diwali Celebrated?
Further, there are diverse reasons why Diwali is celebrated across India.
In North India, it is thought that it is on Diwali Day that Lord Rama returned to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after defeating the 10 headed demon king Ravana. Hence the celebrations with oil lamps and lights. In addition, Diwali is also the beginning of the New Year and a very auspicious occasion.
Laxmi Puja is performed in offices and homes welcoming Goddess Laxmi for that reason too. Goddess Laxmi is considered the goddess of wealth & prosperity. Laxmi Puja is usually done after sunset at around 8 pm in the evening. The entire family gathers around for Laxmi Puja. This is followed by the bursting of fire crackers, distribution of sweets and a family dinner.
In South India, Diwali is celebrated to rejoice the killing of the demon Narakasura by Lord Krishna. It is customary for people to oil their hair and have a bath before sunrise. It is considered auspicious to bathe in the river Ganges on this day. There is a family gathering for the ritual puja. This is followed by bursting of fire crackers. Finally, sweets are distributed amongst family and friends.
Diwali celebrations in South India are more subdued as compared to celebrations in North India.
In East India it is Kali Puja during Diwali. Goddess Kali is the consort of Shiva aka Parvati. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kali_Puja
India Celebrates Diwali
Whatever the mythology or history behind the celebrations, India celebrates Diwali together. All educational institutions and offices are closed for Diwali.
It is probably the most important festival that keeps a country as diverse as India celebrating together.
The commonalities on Diwali Day include worshipping a Hindu deity, lighting of homes and business establishments with, candles and Diyas, bursting of fire crackers and having a family dinner. Playing tash or cards is a tradition in North India. Diwali parties and card parties start around one month ahead of Diwali.Diwali shopping in Delhi is an all week affair causing major traffic jams in the city.
In addition, gifting is a very important part of the Diwlai celebrations. Gifts to family members, neighbours and friends is a tradition in all homes. Likewise, in businesses, gifts to staff and employees is a customary practice.
Diwali shopping in Delhi
Gifting – What are the popular gifts for Diwali and where to source it from
- Sweets are the most commonly distributed item during Diwali- Desi sweets or Indian sweets made of sugar, milk/flour/dry fruits and essences make for great gifts Kaju Kathli and kaju roll(cashewnut sweet) peda(milk sweet) Anjeer ki barfi, ( sweets made of figs) moti choor ladoo, soan papdi(kind of flaky sweet), kajur barfi(sweets made of dates), besan & moong(dal flour) ladoo and Gulab Jamun, are some of the popular sweets available across Delhi. Haldirams, Bikaner Sweets and Nathu Sweets are well known sweet shops to buy the sweets.
- Dry Fruits packaged in a basket, hamper, tray, or carboard boxes are all very popular, Cashewnuts, pinenuts, pistachios, almonds, figs and dates are packed in a box together. They are healthy and always welcome. It is because of this reason that dry fruit gifting never goes out of fashion .
- Gift hampers- There are ready made gift hampers with nuts, cookies, chocolates and cakes available in department stores. The gift hamper can be customised to have an assortment of crisps, cheese, sauces, cookies chocolates, juices, spreads, fruits and dry fruits. Organic food in jars are all available. The hampers can be customised to suit ones budget and preferences. Modern Bazar, Big Bazar and other big grocery stores do the hampers.
- Chocolates– Chocolates, from Cadburys or Lindt are available in most shops, to be easily packaged and distributed. There are several private chocolate makers as well ,who prepare gourmet chocolates. Chocola has some interesting chocolates.
- Cakes all the bakery shops get ready to bake & distribute Diwali themed cakes.
- Scented Candles– Candles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Coloured and scented candles are available in every market. Fragrance People, Kama, Fab India, Good Earth and Oma are some of the prominent shops for candles.
- Decorative diyas– There are several Delhi markets and shops that create colourfully painted diyas. These are available in Dilli Haat, Select City Mall and in street shops in Lajpat Nagar & Sarojini Nagar.
- Home decor products, dining accessories and kitchen essentials are other gifting ideas. Visit the TIP Top Market, Fab India & Good Earth for some innovative products.
- Idols of Deities– Idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi are very popular for gifting. They are typically made of silver, sterling silver, brass, semi-precious stone or glass.
- Silver gift articles for high end gifting such as pens, silver trays, silver cups, silver glasses, picture frames, tea pot sets, candle stands, deities of lord Ganesha or Sai Baba, vases, nut bowls. clocks, bottle openers, paper clips, pen knives, book marks, bottle openers, jars, jugs & diyas, fruit bowls are some of the luxury products available.
Diwali Melas for Diwali shopping in Delhi
Finally, there are many Diwali meals(fairs) that happen in Delhi. The Blind School Diwali Mela, the Sundernagar Diwali Mela and other melas are all popular. Similarly, there are melas in Select City Mall and in other Delhi shopping markets.
Several individuals put up their stalls where they sell dresses, diyas, home decor, plants, jewellery, bags and shoes. Most noteworthy is the fact that they are very interesting and gifts can be purchased from the melas as well. As a result, the melas are heavily crowded.
In addition, the melas have some great food stalls. Try tasting interesting food here.there is North Indian, South Indian, Rajasthani, Gujrati and Chinese cuisine that is available in the melas. The food is fresh and most certainly tasty.
Shopkhoj wishes readers a very Happy Diwali 2018.
Eat sweets, make merry, be generous, share your love and kindness this Diwali.
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