My first time to celebrate the fest of lights in India, Diwali, was October 1994. It was the most magical experience, and so was every Diwali after that. Although it is primarily a Hindu festival, it was celebrated all over Delhi, no matter what your religion was. Candles, community and celebration, the three Cs that marked my love for a country and culture for the rest of my life and introduced me to one of the most beautiful festivals in the world.
Even after we left India, I still continued to decorate the house and light candles for each Diwali festival. Curiously enough, I was so wrapped up in my life here in Portugal and the Frobbit House that I completely forgot about it this year, until I stumbled on something on the news this morning. Much to my horror I realised that it is indeed the end of October already and I should have prepared the house long ago! But then, I stopped and started laughing, much to the consternation of the cat. My visitor yesterday, VK, brought me six new LED candles that we lit up and scattered around the living room (ha! no more burning cat tails). Unbeknownst to both of us, we had indeed lit the Diwali lights on the eve of the main festival (choti Diwali), had celebratory food and drink at the table, and even flowers! So yes, the universe decided I was going to celebrate life, friendship and courage one way or another, even if my focus was on my mother at the time.
I miss partaking in the pujas early mornings, sharing the gifts of sweets, dried fruits, and nuts with friends an neighbours, and the lively colours of the season. It is a good thing I am wearing red today! I know Christmas is only 60 days away now, and we will have something along those lines here as well, but today, on Diwali day 2022, I need to give thanks to the higher powers for all the blessings that have entered my life by way of persons, places, and experiences.
To cap it all off, here is another side of my Portuguese Diwali, a glorious sunset last night during a break in the rain:
This is probably the most silent Diwali Day Festival I have ever experienced. At least in Berlin I could hear pockets of fireworks going off from the different Indian communities in the city. Being up in the Shire, however, far removed from an international and metropolitan life, it is a very introspective time. Nevertheless, I have a fire roaring, instrumental Indian music playing, and am incredibly grateful to be in a celebratory mood again after so long.
Happy Diwali! May the light, love and joy be with you all.