Navratri marks the beginning of the festive season in India, which follows up till Diwali. People from all walks of life come together to revel in the magnificent glow of this incandescent festival of lights. We all have the fondest memories of the weeks lining up to Diwali. The fresh air inside our homes and in the ramped-up markets brings along with it a sense of joy and throbbing excitement. The festive season is also when people working in various parts of the nation finally visit their families back home and celebrate the festivals with an undying sense of togetherness.
This year due to the widespread outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are likely to observe smaller family gatherings, with limited gifts and comparatively less packed sweetshops. Despite the lockdown blues, it is essential to keep our spirits high and live this season of festivals to the fullest. From vacuuming your homes to hanging florescent cherry bulbs at your windowsill, from garnishing vibrant rangolis outside your doorstep to adding new flavors to our traditional sweets, here are six tips to make the best of this festive season!
Illumination is the Key
Diwali, as the name bears, is the festival of lights. We’re all familiar with the practice of hanging decorative LEDs outside our homes. Usually, decorating the exterior lights is done by the ‘dads’ of the house, and the final result is invariably breathtaking. Apart from the regular colorful fairy-lights, this year you can also decorate your walls with rows of candles and diyas. Buying earthen lamps and wax candles from local artisans selling by the pavement could also help provide relief to the worst-hit small businesses. It is always a wise call to use previous years’ lights to avoid going over-budget. Festooning your walls with shimmering lights is one thing you don’t want to miss out on!
Choosing the Flowers
Apart from the traditional use of marigold garlands used during the puja ceremonies, flowers come in handy while decorating other parts of your homes as well. Getting strings of artificial flowers to adorn your main door would ensure minimal wastage and enhanced durability since the festival season is a rather lengthy affair. Additionally, you can pluck flowers from your garden and use them to decorate the insides of your home.
The Rangoli Dilemma
Undeniably, my favorite festival activity is painting rangolis designs outside and inside the home. Despite the stunning results, the task can often come across as challenging. The dilemma to choose from an array of designs and colors arguably takes more time than the actual rangoli. It is wise to opt for simpler designs since they won’t take too much of your much-needed energy. You can try using flower petals as they do in the south to add a twist to the conventional festivity standards for colors.
One for the Sweet Tooth
(Source: The Lotus Apartment Hotel)
India offers a life-size palate of mithais or sweets, in the absence of which, Indian festivals would lose the charm they hold. The spread of the pandemic has posed a threat regarding the cleanliness and the hygiene factor of the sweets manufactured in bulk. In this case, the best option would be to try making sweets at home. Not only would this option be more sanitary but also economical. The internet is flooded with easy tutorials and recipes that would give you step-by-step instructions for creating your favorite mithai.
Socializing with Social Distancing
Celebrating without the community is perhaps the biggest let down of celebrating the festive season amid the pandemic. However, the news also comes bearing hope. Limited gatherings will help you bond better with the people closest to you. This year keep your groups minimal with your closest friends and family members. Instead of a lavish Diwali party, sit with your family and bond over a game of cards or your children’s favorite board game.
A Reminder: “Say No to Crackers”
It is imperative to mention that the practice of bursting crackers is not ancient and is a product of pop-culture and consumerism. We all observed a pure, low-pollution air following the nationwide lockdown that was introduced in March. Although the noisy traffic is back on the streets, we can still do our part to help our furry friends and people with breathing problems by saying no to crackers. The coronavirus pandemic has further contributed to the increase in breathing problems among affected patients, and our actions mustn’t indulge someone else’s festival season.
2020 has been a rather dull year with people dying and the economy crashing, but the festival lights bring with it a ray of hope. This festive season finds the time to connect with yourself and your close ones, but most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!