Are you one of the lucky folks celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of light? If you are and you have a garden, we have news for you! Your celebration has every chance to be the experience of a lifetime. Start sending invitations to your friends and family; we’re about to turn your garden into a masterpiece. Here are a few ideas on how to decorate your garden for Diwali.
What Are Diwali Decorations?
Hindu culture is known for its bright colors, beautiful patterns, and, of course, love for plants. Many decorations have elements of the native flora integrated into them, such as a beautiful flower rangoli (we’ll come back to that later). Diwali even has a signature plant, a sunny Marigold!
The decorations look majestic, and so they should: Diwali is dedicated to the Hindu deities themselves. There are multiple gods to praise: from Dhanvantri, responsible for medicine and the all-powerful Rama, to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The traditions of Diwali are deeply rooted in the divine mythology.
For instance, were you wondering why Diwali revolves so strongly around glimmering lights? Answer: According to the legend, people in the city of Ayodhya share the god Rama’s triumph over the evil Ravana by lighting lamps, called Diyas. The practice stays until our days, while the light is always welcome with open arms and evil is warded off. Just look at those powerful rangoli wards!
6 Diwali Garden Decoration Ideas
Education can be fun, but we know you're excited to decorate your garden. Let's get right to it. Beware! While on the track of Diwali decorations, it can be difficult not to get carried away by all the varieties and creative options, so try to keep your focus, and read on.
Idea 1. Shine Like gold, My Marigold!
Ah, the Marigolds. Fragrant, fluffy, and fabulous symbols of Diwali. If you like the gold of autumn, Marigolds are a true treasure for you (and shine like a treasure full of gold coins, too!). We highly recommend planting them next spring or summer. We promise you, these flowers are extremely low-maintenance; you’ll never regret it. Looking after them properly, they will become your joy in the gloomy autumn days, all the way before the first frost. Remember a simple formula: The first two weeks are all about keeping the plant moist, and then it's watering every seven days. By next Diwali, you'll have a ready-made decoration!
But hold on. What about this upcoming Diwali, if you have no Marigolds in the garden? Well, we won't judge you for getting an artificial garland; in fact, it’s increasingly common! A garland would look pretty in almost any Diwali decoration, alone or in a composition with other elements.
Idea 2. Make a Rangoli (Different Styles!)
Once you see a rangoli, you will never confuse it with anything else. Rangoli comes from "rangavalli," which means "rows of color"; that is exactly what it looks like. Diwali has a distinct geometrical pattern for which versatile materials can be used. We're talking rocks, rice, turmeric, sand, rock powder, lentils, petals, dyes (such as red ochre), etc. It's quite a sight!
However, rangoli's purpose is more than just to attract visual attention. Its purpose is, to put it simply, to be a ward against evil powers and an invitation to good ones. So, before evil steps on your beautiful garden, a rangoli can stop it in its tracks. Choose any surface you like, from a wall to the floor, and let yourself be creative. We understand that the ancient art of rangoli, mentioned in the Ramayana itself, is a bit intimidating to try by yourself, but experimentation is worth it! Even if you can't make a perfect replica of Lakshmi's face, you could do well with a floral pattern. Try!
Some Interesting Types of Rangoli
Need some help choosing where to start? Here are a few options to pick from!
- Flower rangoli. Fresh flowers have been offered in devout offerings to gods for a very long time during Diwali. If you have some spare flower petals, take your chance to make this beautiful rangoli. Try to find a place that is sheltered from the wind, so your hard work doesn’t go to waste!
- Diya rangoli. Diya oil lamps can decorate your rangoli and give it an extra dimension. Your rangoli itself can also be shaped as a diya!
- Kolam rangoli. This type is traditionally made from rice flour and goes back to the ancient region of Tamilakam, the southernmost portion of India.
- Aipan rangoli. Aipan's home is in the mountainous Kumaon region. All geometrical pattern lovers, pay close attention! This rice powder rangoli is usually placed in the front courtyard, a great place to show off your precision in making patterns! Our favorite theme would probably be the lotus, although many fascinating possibilities exist.
- There are so many other rangoli variations!
Did you choose your favorite? Why not choose them all?
Idea 3. Get a Torana!
Torana, or Bandanwal, is a door decoration with many uses outside of Diwali. Weddings, festivals, you name it! Goddess Lakshmi is welcome to any occasion, so toranas are quite a popular sight. Perhaps you grow Marigolds or even Mangoes in your garden? The gold flowers of Diwali and the Mango leaves are used for toranas, with many other ingredients worth integrating if you are to make it yourself. However, finding a torana in the store and then locating it at the front of the house or garden is always a good option. Getting your hands on beads and wool can be easy, but what about Peepal tree leaves? Maybe it's time to make a fun trip to the shop.
Idea 4. Try Something New Every Day (of the 5)!
Diwali is five whole days of joy, with every single one dedicated to a certain kind of celebration:
- Day 1: The first day is for cleaning and jewelry, so you could clean up your garden (get all those rotting autumn leaves out) and decorate it. Maybe you can give your garden a little "present": a new shovel or watering can. It's also time for puja, prayer, and the feast, of course! Allow yourself to celebrate after all that tidying up.
- Day 2: The second day is the day of victory (Krishna defeated a demon Narkasura!), so it's time to sweeten it up. Have a sweet table in the garden; or orchard, perhaps? If your garden brings fruit or veggies, exchange them with your friends as gifts.
- Day 3: The main day of Diwali is coming! This is the time to bring out (or make!) your rangolis and torans and (carefully) lit diya lamps. Make your garden a glowing haven by placing the lamps under trees, rocks, or tables. Play a game of cards on the patio and pay respects to the old tradition!
- Day 4: Everything your garden produces should traditionally be served to your friends and family on this very day. After all, on this day, Krishna saved the harvest from floods and rains, so why not try and make a harvest party? Show your loved ones your produce, and maybe they will also decide to bring theirs to make a true autumn feast.
- Day 5: Bhai Duj, or brother's day, is about your siblings. If you have them, let your bond shine! As the god Yamuna welcomed Yama with a tilak, brothers and sisters on this day welcome each other with gifts and love.
Nothing better than a wholesome experience. Why only celebrate once?
Idea 5. Take Care of Your Plants
Diwali is all about light, wealth, and prosperity; your garden should look the part. Maybe it's time to take out that long-forgotten pair of pruners and have a little walk around? Gift your plants something special in exchange for their beautiful produce: give them a good drink, mulch, and prepare them for cold times so they don’t shiver in the cold!. Show your care to your green friends. Not only the signature Diwali plants (Bermuda grass, Marigold, Mango, Holy Basil) deserve special treatment!
Idea 6. Use Fireworks and Firecrackers (or, Actually, Don’t?!)
Fireworks and especially firecrackers are a huge part of Hindu celebrations, including Diwali. There have been, however, pollution concerns in Delhi, which have since fueled the green Diwali movement. Luckily, the eco-friendlier firecrackers have been developed in India!
As for fireworks, we aren't your watchful mother telling you about region-specific fire safety and legal regulations, so… Proceed with caution. We're sure Diwali is fun with or without some extra sparkling and crackling in your garden!
There's enough light in the world for everyone. Use the festival of Light to share it with others! Your garden is a great space to come together with friends and family, so we recommend you use it to the fullest.
When Is the Diwali Festival?
We wish we could tell you the exact dates, but as with many celebrations, they change from year to year. In general, start planning for October-November!
Where Is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali is not India-exclusive, although it remains the center of the festival. Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, and Fiji all celebrate the festival of Light. Diwali is actually quite popular across the world, with the biggest celebration out of the region happening in the UK, Leicester.