How to be mindful while celebrating Diwali?

Diwali is a centuries-old, largest festival in India and is also known as Festival of Lights! Diwali symbolizes the victory of light (goodness) over dark (evil)! But as it happens with almost all religions and traditions, the intention behind the festival and rituals start taking back seat and consumerism, using festivity for marketing takes center stage.

So sadly now people mainly relate Diwali for buying new things, gifts and firecrackers in India and outside! But frankly Diwali is not about shopping and consuming, it’s victory of goodness you remember? So do you think consuming more things (most times unnecessary) and increasing waste is good in any way or especially during Diwali?

Lord Ganesh, Goddess Saraswati & Laxmi

Firecrackers are not part of Diwali!

If you talk about firecrackers, firstly this is very recent addition to festival of Diwali! Firecrackers are invented in China and they reached India just 2-3 centuries back and systematically marketed and associated to Diwali in 1923 by a match factory owner, read this article to know more!

Secondly, air pollution is already at its peak and more and more people especially children are suffering through respiratory diseases, so adding more concentrated pollution to air during Diwali sounds good to you? Frankly, since years my brother who had childhood asthma, used to avoid going out on the day of Diwali as the polluted air was very harmful to him! I haven’t taken my son to India in Diwali since last 4 years during Diwali, in fear of not exposing him to that concentrated firecrackers smoke and almost unstoppable sound pollution.

Unfortunately, that fact is, people in India since few years are cracking bigger and louder firecrackers to show how wealthy they are. I am not kidding, but it’s a mark to show your success, where in fact they kind of show off that they are fooled by that marketing tact started in 1923! Plus it’s sad to see the waste from firecrackers scattered all over streets next morning! So firecrackers of Diwali are not only non-Eco-friendly and harmful for us but also are not really part of Diwali at all!

Diwali Rituals

I will not go deeper into the significance of 5 days of Diwali or mythological stories, those you can find on Wikipedia, but would love to discuss some age-old Diwali rituals which are even necessary for healthy living!

Before Diwali, Indians clean their houses, for me, it’s time to do yearly deep-cleaning of my home to make it non-toxic!

Some typical Diwali sweets and delicacies are made before Diwali days! As during this festival, Indians meet their family and friends to share joys and these Diwali sweets!

‘Abhyanga Snan’ is performed during Diwali mornings, mainly on Narakchaturdashi! Traditionally early morning women massage kids, the husband with essential oils and then perform ceremony “ovalaney” with ghee lamp & then ubtan made of natural ingredients is used during the bath. Abhyang snan keeps skin healthy and moisturized.  Over years ubtan was replaced by soaps, but we can always choose Eco-freindly soap made of natural materials which comes in Ecofriendly or no packaging!

On the Diwali day or Laxmi poojan day, wealth or goddess Laxmi is worshiped especially by the business community. But I like our family’s tradition as we worship Laxmi  (Goddess of wealth) as well as Saraswati (goddess of knowledge); believing ‘knowledge is wealth’!
Throughout Diwali, we lit up of our homes and outdoor spaces and entrances with lamps. Traditional Rangoli is created near the entrance of the home. But since a few years, wax lamps are replacing traditional Diwali lamps, which are not just harmful to environment but also add to waste. So it’s time to ditch palm oil wax candles from your Diwali.
Here are a few easy ways to make your Diwali celebration Eco-friendly and mindful.

Eco-Friendly Diwali Tips

1. Use Oil Lamps

Using oil lamps instead of wax lamps. Remember Palm wax candles are even more unethical, as every year palm cultivators in Indonesia (largest palm producer) burn forests to cultivate palm. This doesn’t just add up a huge amount of carbon emissions but also create a significant threat to the wildlife like Organutan and local people. Among candles, soy candles can be a more sustainable solution. But the comparatively most sustainable way to light up Diyas is to use recycled cooking (fried) oil after making those Diwali sweets. Better to use traditional handmade cotton wick for lamps.

2. Buy Local

Using natural soaps and oils for Abhyanga. As we are living in Dubai I preferred a soap made from the local natural ingredient, camel milk. You can even find a range of baby soaps at Camel Milk Factory

3. Reduce Waste

I love to make Rangoli designs since years, but since few years my son hardly keeps the Rangoli at my door for an hour without spoiling it. I have switched to these wooden Rangoli pieces which you can arrange in different formations. Frankly, I am liking this Rangoli more as it’s waste-free Rangoli helping my #zerowasteUAE attempt as well.

4. Solar Lanterns

Solar lanterns and solar light garlands are one more sustainable and Eco-friendly option to decorate your home or outdoors.

5. Ditch new clothes shopping

Instead of buying new traditional clothes and jewelry every Diwali, you can always wear vintage fashion, maybe a beautiful saree passed on by your mum or grandmother, why not to opt for haulternative than buying new.

This year shopping wise we are celebrating almost ‘no spend Diwali’, we saved ourselves from the hassle of going to Meena Bazar in horrible traffic and then adding some more clutter to home which we will probably use directly in next Diwali. At least I can see my husband is really happier by ditching Diwali shopping altogether! Diwali is about spreading happiness, isn’t it?

Here is the original Sustainability Tribe wishing you all a Happy Diwali wearing our older traditional clothes!

Happy Diwali!
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4 Comments on "How to be mindful while celebrating Diwali?"

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It is great you are trying to source products and ingredients locally. I feel you are part of our growing family.
We strive to produce good quality ice cream made of local ingredients like camel milk and dates, etc…
Dubai will be proud of us as we contribute to boost exports and domestic input.

Thank you Fred! Would love to know more about your icecream, I love to support local businesses, important step in sustainable living.

Indeed, Dubai needs to be more sustainable so we do our part of the job here 🙂
You can find us on all social media @nouqdubai or http://nouq.ae/
Come chat with us and let us know your instagram 🙂
Cheers

Thank you for getting in touch Fred! Would love to support your local product!

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I am a Sustainability Professional. I have worked on many green building projects in the

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