A ‘Festival of Lights’ at The Old Rectory

Diwali – often referred to as “The Festival of Lights” – is one of India’s most significant and widely recognised national celebrations, taking place annually over five days during mid-autumn. Whilst it is of great spiritual and cultural importance to Hindus, it also features on Sikh, Jain, and Buddhist religious calendars.

Observing a quite literal interpretation of the name, this auspicious occasion is marked by the lighting of candles, oil lamps, and decorative electric lights to symbolise the triumph of light (knowledge) over darkness (ignorance).

Traditionally, it is a time for families and communities to come together, socialise and exchange gifts while sharing a meal and strengthening existing relationships – making it an ideal time for us to explore the friendships we enjoy within our own special ‘family’ here at The Old Rectory.

In preparation for Diwali, it is usual for celebrants to prepare their homes by cleaning them before decorating with rangoli: colourful designs made with powders or flower petals. So – in keeping with tradition, and with help from Adarsh and Jecy – residents embarked on a series of artistic endeavours aimed at reflecting the spirit of the festival.

Over the course of our celebrations, we tried our hand at rangoli sand art and Diwali-themed watercolour painting to welcome light, hope and togetherness to OUR home.

And as the creative efforts drew to a close, we made sure to adhere to another important part of the festival proceedings by gathering at teatime to enjoy a meal together – a splendid selection of Indian desserts. Food for the soul, as well as the belly!

Somehow, I think this delightful festival is one we will all look forward to next year.