Diwali, known as the festival of lights, is one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu calendar. It’s a happy time of family, fun and feasts and I absolutely love it. Our festival lasts five days and celebrates the story of Rama and Sita which you can read here.
Today is the first day of Diwali, called Dhanteras and this is how we celebrate in our family. Firstly, we clean the house to prepare it and light dhoop (sandalwood incense sticks). We get out all of our little divos and candles and place them all around the house, decorating with fresh flowers. We decorate our doorway with a Rangoli – a colourful pattern drawn on the floor with chalks to welcome the gods who are believed to roam the Earth during Diwali.
In the evening, all of the divos are lit and we traditionally do a special pooja for Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Dhanteras is often also seen as an auspicious shopping day, to buy new sarees, jewellery or kitchenware.
I was born on the first day of Diwali so my family and I often joke that this is my ‘Indian birthday’. They normally end up singing ‘Baar Baar Din Yeh Aaye’ and we celebrate with yummy food such as bhel and lots of sweet treats.