Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of India's most eagerly anticipated celebrations! If you're one of the lucky ones anticipating this festivity, we've got something special for you. All green thumbs, pay special attention to Diwali plants!
The festival of light has a deep meaning behind it. In fact, Diwali traditions are deeply rooted in ancient mythology! The festivity recounts the triumphant return of Lord Rama after vanquishing the demon King Ravana.
What exactly does the Diwali experience feel like? Here's a snippet! During the festivity, you will hear firecrackers, see the lighting of luminous diyas (oil lamps), and appreciate home embellishments and intricate rangoli designs. It's a true explosion of color, sound, and emotion! What's even more exciting for us, green thumbs, is the fact that Diwali gives plants a true spotlight in the celebration. Join us as we discover the beautiful flora that makes the festival special.
Common Diwali Decorations
Torans are colorful artworks that are traditionally hung between two columns or above doorways to create enchanting entryways. They serve to welcome guests and wealth into the households of Diwali. Torans attract Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.
Diwali diyas are petite oil lamps with great power. Diyas don't only radiate warmth but also illuminate the festivities in the battle of the light against the dark. These lamps are traditionally symbolic of the fight for good over evil, commemorating Lord Rama’s triumph over evil King Ravana.
Rangoli, intricate patterns composed of flower petals and colored powders, embellish the ground before a home’s entrance during Diwali. No evil trespasses over rangoli. They are believed to be truly powerful wards! These decorations don't only scare bad luck off, however, also represent the happiness, strength, and prosperity of the household. While tradition heavily leans on natural materials, artificial rangolis are becoming a rather common sight these days.
Top Diwali Plants
Beautiful blossoms, petals, and luscious leaves, whether natural or artificial, are a big part of the celebration. Flowers are found everywhere during Diwali! You name it: Wall hangings, table centerpieces, or dining table accents... Marigolds are particularly central to the festivities. This may be due to their ecological niche, as they are among both the first and the last flowers to bloom in the summer months. But that's too rational of an explanation isn't it? We prefer to believe there's magic in marigolds. Have you seen that deep, rich color?
Marigolds, inseparable from Diwali, form garlands and offerings to Hindu deities. As the "herb of the sun," they embody passion, creativity, and reputedly uplift spirits with their distinct fragrance. In Western history, they were called "Mary's gold," as early Christians used them to adorn Mary's altar instead of coins. India, however, interprets the Marigold’s stout stalk to represent trust in the divine, its saffron blooms symbolizing a surrendering of oneself to God.
What, did you think mangoes are only good for fruit? Diwali says, hail the majestic mango leaf! These leaves, associated with prosperity, garnish traditional torans and other festive displays. For instance, mango plays a major role in the "Purnakumbha" festival. Before embarking on a puja ceremony, a special altar is decorated with mango leaves. These leaves symbolize god's limbs, while the coconut atop the water pot (kalask) represents the head.
Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), also known as Tulsi, holds a unique status in Diwali rituals. It stands as an avatar of Goddess Lakshmi and often graces Hindu courtyards and temples. Lighting lamps in front of the Tulsi plant is a commonplace Diwali practice. Holy Basil is so important in Hindu culture that it even has a festival of its own, Tulsi Vivaha. Believe it or not, it's dedicated to the marriage of two plants: the Basil and the Amla branch. These greenies serve as personifications of the goddess Lakshmi and her divine spouse Vishnu, signifying the beginning of the wedding season.
The pure-looking lotus, revered in Hinduism, is offered to Goddess Lakshmi on Diwali, symbolizing serenity and divine beauty. Doesn't it resemble the face of a female deity? In the icon of Lakshmi, wealth flows from one of her four hands, while she either stands or sits on a lotus and holds the lotus flower in her two upper hands.
Bermuda Grass (Durva) belongs to the slopes of roadsides and pastures… Or does it? On Diwali, what looks like a very humble plant, becomes an important figure in the festivity. Mentioned in ancient texts like the Vedas, Bermuda Grass is said to have sprung from Lord Vishnu's hand. It is believed to bear protective qualities! Here's your proof that you don’t need eccentric foliage to stand out!
Nature shines just as brightly, if not brighter, than firecrackers and all the colorful ornaments. If you're seeking to illuminate your space during Diwali, look no further than the fresh radiance of the mango leaf, the sunny marigold, the serene lotus, and the fragrant tulsi!
The festivities also teach us a valuable lesson through plants: Absorb the light and let it give you growth.
What Makes Marigolds a Diwali Favorite?
Marigolds, with their vibrant hues of orange and yellow, symbolize the fresh beginnings and hold an auspicious status during Diwali. Their unique fragrance is believed to elevate moods and soothe anxieties, rendering them a natural choice for this festival. They bloom late and strong, a shade of light before the colder season.
Why Are People Lighting Lamps in front of Tulsi Plants during Diwali?
Illuminating lamps next to tulsi plants constitutes a form of reverence. Tulsi, sacred and associated with Goddess Lakshmi, is thought to usher prosperity and blessings into the abode.
What Role Does Bermuda Grass, or Durva, Play during Diwali?
Durva, mentioned in age-old scriptures, is believed to possess protective attributes. Linked with Lord Vishnu, it features prominently in various Diwali rituals and offerings, sought for blessings and safeguarding.