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Diwali is a festival which takes place each year in October or November. The five-day festival of lights will be celebrated around the world with many recognising a symbolic “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”. Express.co.uk has put together a guide to help you create your own hand designs and rangoli designs.
What is Diwali?
Diwali is a festival which takes its name from the Sanskit “deepavali” meaning “rows of lighted lamps”.
The festival takes place during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika, which lasts from mid-October to mid-November.
This year, Diwali begins on Thursday, November 12, and lasts five days.
The festival represents new beginnings and coincides with harvest and new year celebrations.
What is the origin of Diwali?
The Diwali story has many different origin stories based upon where people are from.
In Northern India, Diwali marks the story of King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after he defeated Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps.
In southern Indian, Diwali marks the day when Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
In western India, the festival marks the day when Lord Vishu sent the demon King Bali to rule the underworld.
In Jainism, the nirvana or spiritual awakening of Lord Mahavira is marked by Diwali.
For Sikhs, Diwali marks the day when a major guru was freed from imprisonment.
How to celebrate Diwali
During Diwali, people decorate their homes, shops and public places with lights, rangolis and small oil lamps called diyas.
Fireworks are also used during this period and sweets are eaten.
The Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, is worshipped as the bringer of blessings for the new year.
People celebrating the festival also adorn their body with body art and decorate their homes with elaborate rangoli patterns.
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This year like many other festivals and religious occasions, Diwali celebrations will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The city of Leicester holds the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India each year attracting thousands of people.
People gather in the streets to enjoy vibrant shows of light, music and dancing.
However, with the coronavirus pandemic and second lockdown this year, no physical festival will take place.
Instead, people can take part in an online festival.
How to make your own designs for Diwali
Mehndi is a form of body art and temporary skin decoration which originates from ancient india.
Decorative designs are created on a person’s body, using a paste, created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant.
Rangoli is an art form originating from the Indian subcontinent whereby patterns are created on the floor or ground usually materials such as coloured rice, coloured sand, quartz powder or flower petals.
Steps to creating a hand or rangoli design:
- Choose the design you want: you can find these online or make your own by drawing a pattern. Based upon your artistic ability you can choose a simple or complex design. Most designs tend to be symmetrical, but you can also use a plant, flower or animal as inspiration for your design.
- Decide where to create your design: Choose which hand for hand designs or where in your home or shop for your rangoli design. For the latter, it should be a flat and dry location.
- Line the area with paper and sketch the design outline on paper or if your floor permits you can trace the outline directly onto the floor using chalk making sure to thicken the outline.
- If you are using paper you should create an adhesive such as a little bit of oil and put this il on the outline of your design.
- Choose the materials for your design such as rice, flower petals or natural colourful items like turmeric. You can colour rice by using ground-up chalk or colourful powders.
- Fill the inside of your rangoli with your chosen materials making sure to leave no open spaces.
For hand designs:
- You should begin by creating the henna using henna powder, lemon juice, granulated sugar and tea tree or lavender essential oil.
- Sift 100g henna into a bowl through a chiffon cloth and then store in two tablespoons of white granulated sugar.
- Add in 300ml of lemon juice and add up to an ounce of your essential oil.
- Stir everything together until the texture turns consistent. It is advised to use a disposable spoon as the mixture may stain your spoon.
- Cover the henna with cling film and allow to set, testing it every four to six hours.
- You should add more lemon juice until the henna is a little thicker than honey and then coop the henna into a plastic sandwich bag or piping bag.
- You can then begin to draw your design onto your hand, waiting for at least 30 minutes for the henna to dry.
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