As the time of the year for the most popular Indian festival draws near, a lot of preparations begin. Ads and hoardings of great festive sales and offers weeks ahead of Diwali begin, and everyone is keeping an eye out for things to gift. Clothes and sweets are the most sought after items, and travel tickets are booked months in advance to join family members for a few special days in this season. But why do we do it?
The story goes that Diwali day was the day Rama finally entered Ayodhya after his 14-year exile. The joyous citizens lit lamps in their homes to welcome their beloved prince home, and fed each other sweets to mark the happy occasion. Another story says that this was the day that Krishna defeated Narakasura, and that Diwali is celebrated to commemorate this victory of good over evil. A third story claims that Diwali day was the day the goddess Lakshmi emerged from the sea that the devas and asuras were churning for Amrit.
However, Diwali happens to coincide with the Hindu New Year. In the past, farmers would have sold their harvest and counted their returns by Diwali. They used to celebrate their success and pray for prosperity in the coming year. This is why the occasion is celebrated in the same spirit of newness everywhere- people buy clothes to symbolize a fresh start, share sweets to spread the good spirit and gift their loved ones.
Thus, Diwali marks new beginnings and prosperity. Gifting on a New Year occasion like Diwali can be more than just about buying expensive things- it can be about showing support for the dreams of your loved ones, and helping them chase it. A pair of shoes for a sportsperson, a camera for a budding photographer, an expensive pen for a writer; gifts that the receiver would cherish.
For children, we see relatives gift a lot of toys and books to please them. But wouldn’t it be more meaningful to help children have fun exploring their own potential? What children want to do, and do best, is play and learn. It could be a new book for your cousin who loves to read, or a basketball for an energetic ten-year old or a meaningful learning toy for your 5 year old niece. What matters is that your gesture helps them explore new things freely.So, this Diwali, when you shop for the little ones in your family, pick a gift that’ll help the child learn something for life. It would be the most meaningful “New Year” for them.