Diwali, the wonderful festival of lights has a special place in the hearts of Indians, no matter where they live. Today, we have Padmaja Rama from Paddy’s DecoMania on the blog, talking about her Diwali festivities.
I, like millions of other immigrants have ‘left home’ and moved to US all alone, over a decade ago chasing the American dream through a job. Although unsure of a destination initially, a few years down the lane when I met my husband here, married here and had kids here; I sort of developed roots here and for all practical reasons, home is where I live now, in Atlanta (Georgia) with my three pieces of my heart – hubby and my two little daughters. But for all emotional, nostalgic and sentimental reasons, India remains home. Forever!
Festive season is the time when the nostalgia and the absence of euphoria surrounding the festivals, hits me the hardest. So when we are far from home country, celebrating Indian festivals in the traditional way becomes doubly important since we want to retain the sanctity of the festivals, keep the customs and traditions alive and get that home-like feeling during the festive seasons.
I take the perfect opportunity during the festivals, especially bigger ones like Dushera or Diwali to practically demonstrate and re-create the nostalgic memories from my own personal experiences, albeit in a condensed form with some subtle or significant adjustments and modifications as dictated by the lifestyle we had to adopt here. It also helps that we have highly active and involved cultural organizations and communities throughout US in most cities, that carry out in the celebrations at a large scale, with most of the traditional fervor intact.
In my own home, I make sure all festivals are celebrated not just in the spirit but I also attempt to ensure the rituals and traditions we inherited from our families, are adhered to. No festival ever is let by without my house-front being adorned with Rangoli / Kolam / Muggu. Diwali is the most exciting of all where I dive head long into the Indianism with gusto, be it with the traditional food, the clothes, the decor, flowers, diya’s, lights..the whole nine yards basically. I hope that my kids absorb everything and carry forward the same spirit and traditions I try to inculcate in our lives, while being equally respectful to the diverse cultures they are exposed to.
Thank you Padmaja, these are such delightful images! It was a pleasure having you over on The Keybunch today!