Slow and steady change in trends has brought about a significant transformation in the way Diwali is celebrated today. While the spirit remains the same, the appearance has gone through a makeover. And this is because each of the traditions and rituals related to Diwali have changed considerably.
Remember the days when plain earthen diyas and white wax candles were used? And remember those rounds of refilling the oil in the diyas once they started dying off?
Of course the earthern diyas a still used, but mostly for prayers and for the sake of keeping the traditions alive. Fancier forms of candles and decorative diyas are becoming more popular. It is also becoming a fashion to gift scented candles on Diwali.
Candle and diya making is also now becoming 'almost' a profession. 'Almost' because so far I've only heard ex-bollywood actresses making some money out of it. :)
One example of a fancy diya. Beleive me compared to some that are available in the market, this one's actually simple. And this is sitting in the middle of a rangoli, which is another traditional art that has undergone a significant transformation.
The purpose of making a rangoli is not only to decorate. It is also supposed to be auspicious and can be helpful in attracting blessings from God. Rangolis were earlier drawn using a white rice paste and only limited colours were used. The designs were mostly related to religion and Gods. But now the art has become more colourful and the symbols and the relation to God are a little more abstract.
Rangolis are far more intricate. In fact more than a ritual, it has become an art form. Rangoli competitions are organised at many places.
But in spite of all the changes, markets are as vibrant and abundant as they've been on all diwalis we've seen so far.
Even though they might not look so in this pictures but the markets are as crowded and the crowd as excited as always.
Even though the stalls now sell exotic chocolates and gifts instead of sweets, the feelings behind exchanging gifts with family and friends remain the same.
I hope that this charm survives the inevitable changes that time and innovation brings to us and to this lively festival. May the spirit of Diwali survive forever.