November 9, 2012

Diwali - a celebration of love and light


During these dark and short days of the year, the art of celebration, holidays, and ritual beckon us with their joyous warmth and festivities.  Introducing other world cultures into this season is a fantastic way to heighten the season and deepen our connection to the world.  One of the most beautiful South Asian traditions is Diwali, “the festival of lights.” 

Filled with both the mythical and the historical, Diwali encompasses a wide context and reason for celebration.  It is the revelry in Lakshmi’s birthday, observance of the new moon, the jubilant victories of Rama and Krishna; it is the day the founders of Arya Samaj and Jainism achieved nirvana as well as a special day for the Sikhs.

A major aspect of Diwali is the victory of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and the triumph of light over darkness. This is symbolized through the illumination of homes with small oil lamps (diyas) and radiating the sky with bursting and colorful fireworks.  The dazzling beauty of every corner, window, and room aglow with diyas, candles, and softly hued lamps helps beckon Lakshmi to your home as well as marks the victory of Lord Rama over the dark and evil Ravana and the liberation of 16,000 women by Lord Krishna from the demon king Narakaasur.

Preparation is key and the pay off is a large social celebration of family, friends, gifts, sweets, Diwali music, dance all showcasing a successful harvest.  It is similar to the ritualistic aspects of Christmas, New Years, and some good old -fashioned spring-cleaning all rolled into one glorious extended holiday. For some, freshly painted walls are part of the purification process.


Once the home is cleansed, the hallmarks of Diwali’s art and beauty begin.  Sacred welcoming areas for Hindu deities are created through decorative and colorful designs on the floors.  This is called Rangoli and it is an important part of the spiritual process as well as being incredibly beautiful.  Bright colors like red, orange, pinks and yellow are used in shining fabrics and door hangings (Diwali Torans) to further welcome visitors.


Lakshmi-Ganesh puja’s, flower and leaf patterns, mirrors, beads, and diyas all work themselves into even the smallest corner brightening and adorning all parts of the home.  Diwali is also a time for preparing yourself as well as the home with new clothes and jewelry.  Dried fruit, wine, Mithais and other sweets lay waiting for distribution and enjoyment with family and friends rejoicing in the triumph of light over darkness

Diwali is literally a brilliant celebration.  Just as it illumes a beautiful heritage, we can incorporate this tradition to light up the darkest parts of our world with the glow of candles shining with gratitude, radiate with the bliss of enjoying our families, and artfully creating the new foundation for a prosperous year.

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Alison Leporati for LXV Wine

About LXV : LXV is a boutique California wine, inspired by the 64 Arts of KamaSutra. We invite inspirational winemakers and artists to share their philosophies on wine, art and sensuality, through images, interviews, events, and by curating their work. As such, LXV is a collective philosophy of indulging your senses and inspiring the inner sensuality in you...the 65th Sutra.

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