Diwali goes by many names, such as Divali, Deepavali or Dipavali, but is best known simply as the Festival of Lights. The celebration honors Ramachandra, the seventh avatar incarnation of the god Vishnu, and is practiced by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists during the fall season. The time is associated with Rama's return after 14 years of exile, during which he won a battle against the demon king, Ravana. Millions of believers around the world take part in the five-day festival, celebrating new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil.
If you’re looking for a Diwali makeover for your celebration, why not go DIY and create some decor that represents your own style? We’ve got some ideas to get the ball rolling and bring the light to your own sanctuary.
1. Light Fixtures
Diwali is a celebration of light, so it makes sense to start with decorating your own light fixtures and lamps. Create new shades out of thin cardboard—curve them into cones or fold them into boxes, then cut out a variety of shapes to allow the light through. Add color, stickers, designs, and words that appeal to your tastes.
Rangoli is an art form prevalent during Diwali and common throughout India. The practice centers on creating a design on the floor, using any variety of materials for a colorful centerpiece. Make your own design with colored sand, dyed flour, flower petals, or rice. Add small candles and pots to create a welcoming, calm atmosphere.
A symbol of cleansing and rebirth, the toran was traditionally made using mango leaves and fresh flowers. Made into a decoration for the front door, it symbolizes a transition from the polluted outdoor world to the clean indoor air of your home. Fresh flowers wilt quickly and stock torans are made of cheap plastic, so why not make your own? Use cardboard or old greeting cards for the basic shape, and embellish with beads, ribbons, fabric, tassels, or yarn pom-poms to achieve a unique look.
4. Greeting Cards
Grab the cardstock and all your paper remnants to put together greeting cards for your loved ones. Write messages of light or use candles as your theme when you decorate them. Let the kids cut out their own shapes and make the front of the card three dimensional with an image that pops. You can also use stencils and spray paint to create a colorful message.
5. Paper Lanterns
Another way to get the kids involved in paper crafts for the event is to make paper lanterns. Use patterned paper from the craft store to make the basic rectangular lamp shade, then add rectangular windows using a second color of paper. Alternately, decorate the outside with art from tissue paper, ribbons, or buttons. Glitter paint brings an extra bit of glam to your project.
Candles bring light to any festival, so it’s no surprise they are an integral part of the Festival of Lights. Decorate tea lights or votive candles with sparkly paper and ribbons. Or get creative with colored sand, fingernail polish, or paint. Have fun bringing a color punch to your candles. Similarly, decorate small dishes, bowls, or anything that can hold a candle. Use dried shells, ceramic lids, or small mirrors. Add plenty of color with fabric, paint, and yarn—beads give them an extra appeal.
7. Light a Jar
The theme is lights so there is no such thing as too many. Wrap colorful cellophane around glass jars and cut out designs. Then insert a candle or battery-operated LED lights into the jar for a glow that will add a festive vibe.
8. Float a Light
Another way to add light to the space is through floating candles. Choose a selection of colors and put them in a large clear bowl of water. Add food coloring to the water or put colored sand at the bottom if you want, and supplement the candles with floating flower petals.
9. Traditional Diwali Foods
No holiday celebration is complete without yummy treats! For a delicious savory option, consider cauliflower fritters that are battered and deep fried. For traditional sweets, make pumpkin halwa, laddu, farfi, or gulab jamun. Other common snacks include samosas, idli, puri, and vegetarian paneer makhani.