Diwali is an important festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists. For Hindus, the festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, prosperity and beauty, and Ganesha, the lord of success and the remover of obstacles. Exchanging gifts is an important part of Diwali as a way of expressing love, gratitude and giving thanks to the deities. Here are some popular, traditional gift ideas for Diwali.
Dhanteras marks the first day of Diwali and gold plays a pivotal role in its story. According to mythology, King Hima’s son was saved from receiving a deadly snakebite thanks to a distracting pile of gold at the family’s door. Therefore, many consider it good luck to give a gift of gold, especially at the beginning of Diwali.
Diwali also celebrates the story of how the brave warrior Rama rescued his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. When Ravana kidnapped Sita, she left a trail of jewellery for her husband to follow. As a result, jewellery can symbolise hope overcoming despair, and it is considered auspicious to purchase jewellery.
Candles and Lamps
The word Diwali, from the Sanskrit word ‘Deepavali’, means ‘rows of lighted lamps’ and the celebrations are widely known as the festival of lights. As light symbolises triumph over darkness, wisdom over ignorance and good over evil, people light candles and lamps or use fairy lights to decorate and illuminate their homes as ways of driving away the darkness.
Gifting statues of Hindu deities is a way of honouring the gods and asking them to bless you with good fortune. In the lead up to Diwali, people like to decorate their homes. Statues of Lakshmi and Ganesha appear frequently, and are used for worship and aesthetic purposes.
During Diwali, traditional sweet delicacies such as gulab jamun (delicious milk-based sweets), halwa (grated vegetables cooked with sugar, milk and ghee) and dried fruits are popular gifts. Food plays a big part in the festivities that involve family and friends worshipping, telling stories and celebrating together.
Many people clean, de-clutter and make their homes as inviting as possible ahead of Diwali, as some believe that if you make your home a welcoming place, the goddess Lakshmi will visit and bless you with wealth and prosperity. Sometimes people will also adorn their floors with Rangoli designs, which are vibrant patterns made from coloured powders, flowers and lights.