Diwali, one of India’s biggest festivals, is right around the corner. Known as the festivals of lights, Diwali celebrations generally last 5 days, with Indians all over the world celebrating it in their own special way. Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness.
Diwali is kind of like the Indian Christmas, with the days preceding Diwali marked by people cleaning their houses, lighting it, shopping new clothes and buying gifts/sweets for friends and family.
I had read somewhere that there is actually a scientific reason behind the cleaning of houses before Diwali. Since Diwali is celebrated somewhere between mid-October to mid-November, right after monsoons end, the cleaning makes sure all the germs and infestation that monsoons brought with them get eradicated with the whitewashing, and other pre Diwali cleaning activities. In fact a lot of Hindu traditions that we follow blindly these days are backed with a very logical reasoning that we are not aware of. Growing up, Diwali for me meant new clothes, lighting candles and diyas, putting lights up, cleaning every nook and corner of our rooms because else the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi won’t pay our house a visit, going to the Gurudwara to light candles and then bursting crackers at home.
I, being terrified of crackers, would just just burn the sparklers and be happy while my dad and brother would burst the more scary crackers. As we grew up and realized how terrifying the noise is for animals (we had a dog who had the toughest time during Diwali), besides the air pollution that crackers cause, we stopped bursting crackers altogether. Just to continue a little tradition we celebrate Diwali now by lighting a sparkler or two, and maybe an anar for fun. Besides that we just light the house and distribute sweets to our loved ones. And eat good food and lots of sweets!