Diwali (or Deepawali) is one of the India’s biggest festivals and is celebrated on a new moon night sometime in the months of October and November. The day is primarily celebrated to commemorate the return of Lord Rama from his 14 years of exile after defeating Raavana, the people of Ayodhya lighted candles and diya (earthen lamps) to celebrate his return to the kingdom. The festival gets its name from the lines of diya that were lit to commemorate the return of Lord Rama, and hence the name Deepavali, literally translating to “lines of light.” This day symbolizes the victory of light over darkness.
To celebrate the holiday, families clean and decorate their homes with lights, candles, flowers and colorful decorations. Diyas and lanterns light the streets, windows, rivers and towns. Fireworks typically mark the peak of the evening’s celebrations. And sweets and treats are invariably present during the holiday. Prayers and greetings are exchanged, and blessings for the year to come are shared.
And yet ‘Diwali’ is not just all about lights. It’s also about color in the form of an ancient art passed down through generations and is practiced by almost all households in the form of ‘Rangoli’ (colorful artwork). The word ‘rangoli’ is said to have been derived from the words ‘rang’ and ‘aavalli’ which refers to a row of colors. A ‘Rangoli’ usually has a geometrical structure that is also symmetrical, while the patterns often consist of natural elements like animals, flowers, etc. Rangoli patterns during Diwali vary in different Indian states, but they all follows a certain theme and focuses mainly on representing the unity of man with nature or with the supreme consciousness. Rangoli art is intricate and delicate and symbolic and created using colored powders, sand, rice, and even flower petals. Throughout the five-day Diwali celebrations, the art adorns the floors, streets and town squares for all to enjoy.
At Zaloni we shared a joyful Diwali celebration in our IDC office in Guwahati, India, and we thought we’d share some of the beautiful rangoli art that the team created.