How to Decorate for Diwali

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Diwali is an annual festival in which Jains, Sikhs and Hindus commemorate the return from exile of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, and his defeat of the evil demon king Ravana. Oil lamps throughout India are lit to celebrate the coronation of Rama. Some lamps are placed in front of buildings and others are set adrift on rivers. All across the world, people celebrate Diwali with lanterns, candles and decorative torans and rangolis designed to bring good luck and welcome the gods into their homes.

Diwali Toran

  • A toran is a decorative garland that typically hangs near the entrance to a house. Create a saffron toran by drawing circular designs on colored paper and cutting off the area around it. Punch holes in each of the circles and after stringing them together with thread, hang them up. Make glitter foam torans; substitute glitter foam sheets for colored paper. Cut shapes out of cardboard and glue colored paper onto the cardboard, adding accessories such as leaves and mirrors to create a cardboard toran.

Diwali Rangoli

  • Rangoli is a millennia-old decorative art form in which people draw elaborate designs on the floors of their homes or public buildings. These designs typically are made with colored chalk or powder, but other colorful substances often are substituted, such as washable paint, which leaves temporary patterns on a floor that disappear within a few days. To make a water rangoli, fill a glass bowl with water, take a transparent plate and rub oil over it, then pour colored powder over the oil in the design you want. After the powder has absorbed some of the oil, pour a little more oil over the design. Place the plate inside the water-filled bowl.

Flower Decorations

  • Use tissue paper of varying colors to make paper flowers as a table centerpiece. Place the flowers inside a ball of clay and allow the clay to harden before placing it on the table. Set flower petals in a diya or bowl filled with water. To create flower fairy lights, cut out and paint the cups of egg cartons then wire them together and insert lights into each cup.

Lanterns and Lighting

  • Celebrants hang up lanterns, burn candles and light diyas, which are special oil lamps typically made of clay. To make seashell candles, collect seashells large and deep enough to safely hold melted wax. Pour the melted wax into the shells and place wicks into the wax, letting it stand for about half an hour to harden. Glue together a stack of glass bangles and place the stack around a tea-light candle as a candleholder.

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