Diwali is celebrated on the day of the new moon, one of the darkest days of the year, so a big part of the festivities include lighting up diyas (lamps), and candles. You know that Diwali is the celebration of good over evil, awareness over ignorance, victory over defeat amongst other things. The festival of lights brings hope in our hearts and homes. It’s such a strong metaphor for when we surround ourselves with good people, anything feels possible, no? The festival is celebrated in India and some other parts of the Indian subcontinent with food, family, and friends.
Though Diwali is primarily a Hindu holiday and honors the homecoming of Lord Rama after completing his 14-year-old exile, it’s a religious unifier. Jains and Sikhs, too, celebrate it. Growing up, my Muslim and Christian friends dressed up and lit firecrackers on Diwali. We all ate mithai.
Did you know there are several concepts around Diwali that originate from Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, our mind, body, and spirit are interconnected, and one impacts the other. When they are pure and in harmony, we can heal the darkness around us. This healing can give way to complete wellness. Aren’t purity and cleanliness emphasized during Diwali?
Ayurveda and Cleanliness
I remember my mother (and the rest of the women too) would get into a decluttering fit a few weeks prior to Diwali. The helpers were on double duty, making sure everything was sparkling clean. Houses were painted. There was a feeling of lightness in the environment. While it seemed like all the maintenance and purity was outwardly, this time of the year also transforms people on the inside. With vegetarian foods being prepared, mantras being chanted, I would hear people of various ages acknowledging that they feel “pure” during this festival. Most ancient Ayurvedic texts ultimately urge us to cleanse not only the physical or external part of the human body, but also our inner being, the subtle, and the subconscious.
Ayurveda and Waking up Early
It’s not just the purity emphasized upon that originates from Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, Brahma muhurta is an auspicious period that begins 1 hour 36 minutes before sunrise and ends 48 minutes before it. It’s a great time to meditate, read spiritual texts, do creative work, and get some movement. On Diwali, a large majority of people wake up at this hour, because it allows them more time on their hands during the day to complete activities. Waking up in the vata time of the day makes ones feel more centered, energetic, and in tune with nature’s cycle.
This ancient healing science of Ayurveda, which is thousands of years old, teaches us that we are currently in the vata season. The main qualities of vata are dry, light, cool, rough, subtle, and mobile. Ayurveda also tells us that like increases like. For example, if you are predominantly vata prakriti, and your diet and lifestyle increases the dry quality in your body, it will lead to vata disturbance.
Ayurveda and Diwali Cooking
Look at the traditional Diwali menu across all cultures and regions in India. It honors the season and Ayurvedic principles of cooking. If one of the ingredients in the sweets is dry in nature, others counter the effects of those dry ingredients. The sweets and snacks help us control the dryness of the body caused by the changing weather and the vata season. This diet comprising six tastes and daily routine isn’t just meant for Diwali days; it’s supposed to be followed throughout fall and winter season to keep one healthy and balanced.
Ayurveda and Abhyanga
Nourishment of senses comes from various organs. In many homes, families practice abhyanga (massage with warm oil) on Diwali day or during the festival period. Warm oil massage lowers dryness in the body, helps to balance vata, and creates focus.
- Wake up in Brahma muhurta
- Cleanse your mouth, eyes, tongue, ears, and nose
- Eat in moderation
- Practice at least 20 minutes of movement
When our wellness is in place and the light within us is lit, we can brighten other people’s lives with utmost authenticity. That is because all the lights of the world can’t be compared to the ray of inner light.
To learn more about Diwali on SEEMA, check out Diwali: A Festival and A Celebration Like None Other