Updated: Oct 30
✦ The Hindu festival of lights is a celebration of "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance".
For our readers in Australia, with more light coming into our days, it is befitting that the festival of lights is coming soon to join in the bright sunny days! Those who reside on the other side of the planet and are preparing to snuggle up under warm blankets, Diwali takes on a romantic hue, like a beacon of hope in the darkness.
Diwali, or Deepavali is celebrated between mid-September and mid-November, and this year it falls on November 12th. The celebrations typically last five or six days. Celebrants welcome this festival by lighting up their homes with oil lamps called diyas, as well as candles and lanterns, and if you look up in the sky, you may even see some fireworks. Some of you may recognise this festival by the beautiful and elaborate rangoli patiently created on the floors. These are colourful patterns created with powdered lime stone, coloured sand, dry rice flour, flower petals and small coloured rocks. It is a sign of welcome to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good luck into the house. As with so many festivals, food is quite a protagonist during Diwali and with it, the reunion of family members and getting together with friends and communities.
Whenever a festival comes around, we often take it as license to eat and do whatever we wish. After all, it's a celebration! Then comes the aftermath of each celebration where we feel the excess and promise ourselves that next year we will do everything in moderation! With increasing consciousness about health, wellbeing and sustainability, perhaps we can also bring this awareness into our festivals and perhaps in doing so, give it greater meaning by focusing on what is really important i.e. being with loved ones.
So, what are some little things we can do this Diwali to fully embrace the festival of lights?
Moderation is key... and it works!
We all love our beautiful Diwali treats such as burfi, besan, laddoo, halwa etc. And we also know when we get over excited and start consuming too much, inevitably the next day we start to feel the effects over having too much heavy food and it can really spoil the day.
With World Diabetes Day on November 14, we want to be more conscious of what we are consuming so our blood sugar levels do not start going ballistic. Moderation is key to help us appreciate fully what we are actually eating, and it is a way to be mindful. Setting a realistic limit on what we eat and even eating slowly can make a difference. We can fully enjoy what we are eating right now, show our gratitude for mother's beautiful halwa, eat it guilt-free because we are eating within our set limits, and know that we won't feel sick the next day and can continue to enjoy the festivities.
Fizzy drinks and soda tend to be high in sugar, so instead of offering your guests these drinks, you can offer healthier alternatives. In fact, for those of us who are celebrating Diwali in a hot climate or season, drinking lots of water is a great way to be healthy, to hydrate and stave off the sugar cravings.
A different sort of gift
It's traditional for families and friends to buy mithai as a Diwali greeting. Mithai is a kind of sweet confectionary made from flour, milk, sugar, nuts and ghee. If every family received a box of mithai from every single visitor, that's a lot to consume. Why not try other gifts such as nuts, or a fruit basket? Also, if your family usually make your own mithai, you can also opt for alternative and healthier ingredients such as low fat milk, use natural sweeteners or use unsaturated fats. In fact, vegan mithai exists and that could be an interesting option as well! Gift homemade sweets where the ingredients have been consciously chosen, as opposed to buying boxes of sweets. Look around your community and you'd be surprised to find some healthy, artisan sweets that make great gifts.
We love this artisan ice cream from Miah Armstrong. Just perfect for the hot weather now!
Why not try your hand at making your own sweet treats?
After all, the best gift is health! You can get creative with some innovative health gift ideas especially for the elderly, such as a massage, or an eye check up! It may just give them the motivation they need to get a long overdue health check!
Don't forget to exercise!
When festivities come around, it is not licence to therefore skip the gym or the weekly run or morning yoga routine. If anything, try to stick to your exercise regime even through the festivities. You may have to adapt a little when you do them, and your body will thank you for taking care of them while also letting them have fun! Why not have an early start to your day with a yoga sequence to wake the cells up and get ready for a fun day?
Quiet time for yourself
While we enjoy being with friends and family, the intensity of the celebrations can be quite a lot for some people. If you feel your social battery starting to wane, it's kind to allow yourself to take a gentle break from the crowd. Find a quiet place to be with yourself, and a short meditation can do wonders to relax the mind and bring you back to balance. You can also give yourself a quiet five minutes just to be with your breath at the end of the day, so you can prepare your body for a state of rest after the flurry of activities in the day.
Try this 5 minute reset meditation from Bernie Ginnane.
A gadget-free celebration
It is tempting to have our phones with us so we can take lots of photos of our family and friends and the food etc. so we can put them up on Instagram. While we can enjoy capturing beautiful moments, it is also important we don't forget we are all here together at Diwali to be with one another in person. Try setting a time that is gadget-free, so you can all fully connect and enjoy time together.
Let there be light!
Instead of buying diyas, why not make your own and turn it into a fun family activity in the period leading up to the festival? Check out this video to make your own diya from waste wooden pieces! Repurpose any waste bits you can collect from your garden, and you can get creative with your own environmentally-friendly diya!
There you have it, some simple ways to enjoy your Diwali (or any other celebrations, in fact!) and still take care of your health, so we can have many more beautiful celebrations for a long time to come!
Brilliant-Online wishes our readers a Brilliant Diwali full of light to illuminate your life with health, joy and success!
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