This Diwali go green with these simple ideas
Created by Sumitra Gopal Updated on Oct 15, 2017
Diwali has always been the most awaited festival for our family- we love to decorate our home, eat the myriad variety of sweet and light diyas and candles! After all Diwali is one occasion when the entire family comes together to enjoy and make merry. When we moved to Singapore a few years ago, we always made the special effort to come back to celebrate Diwali with our family and friends back home. However last Diwali was just not merry for the residue of the burnt crackers that piled along the roads and the smog that resulted because of bursting of the cracker left us disillusioned. We flew back home but for days members of our family were breathing toxic air, had contracted respiratory problems and were fighting the severe smog hopelessly.
What Do We Plan To Do Different This Diwali?
One calendar year has thus gone by and it's Diwali again. This time my children and I plan to make our Diwali as eco friendly as we can, we would like to make our little contribution to a happy, safe and healthy Diwali - and here is our little plan.
- No gifts for the sake of gifting: You know it's been a successful Diwali when your gifts complete a full circle and come back to you. In our childhood, my grandmother, aunt and my mother would make sweets and savouries at home. After puja, all the children would be dispatched with little thalis to our neighbours to share our home-made goodies with them. In return we looked forward to what came from their home. There was also no restriction on how much we ate because everything was homemade and considered good quality. Somewhere along the years, especially in North India, this custom changed. Diwali gifting became a big affair. What was worse was that it was also a game of “passing the parcel” for people would rotate gifts. Streets were jammed for hours together with people wanting to send gifts across the city. Imagine the pollution this vehicular traffic was causing. So this Diwali, we have decided to send only our best wishes to people in the form of hand-made greeting cards.
- Gift wrapping: Well, we still have some gifts to be sent (to immediate family) and for these gifts we decided to use paper from Jerry and Kiki's old drawing books. When we ran short of these papers, we wrapped our gifts in newspaper and made bright coloured diays on the paper. The colour against the black and white contrasted well and the children had a whale of a time decorating the gifts!
- Gift a plant: There was a time when Diwali meant new clothes and it was a big deal. But that was back then. Our children now have plenty of clothes (and so do we). So buying a gift is more of a chore. So this year, for our immediate family, we decided to gift plants. The adults will receive an air purifying plant and the children will receive a kit where they can either grow their own plant or create a terrarium of their choice.
- Use lights non-fired diyas: While clay is bio degradable, once its fired it looses this property. We switched to electric lighting and for show gun, we will make 2 diyas out of atta. The children plan to feed the atta to their favourite ants on their morning walk post Diwali!
- Silver Lakshmi and Ganesh: So every year we diligently bought clay idols of Lakshmi and Ganesh. We decorated their throne and they were celebrities for the Diwali pooja. Every wondered what happened to them post the pooka? I would often see these idols thrown in dustbins or left under peepal trees. Eventually, they would find their way into the main garbage dump of the city. It saddened me to see them in this state. So this year, we brought home silver idols of Lakshmi and Ganesh. We plan to use them every year from now on. Our Gods go green with us!!
- Flowers and Mango leaves used for compost: What do you do with the flowers, leaves and other such decoration? Till now we threw them into the garbage the next day. However this year, we are converting it all into manure. Our neighbours are joining in too!
- Reuse the wax: I know a few neighbours who love using wax candles and dias made of wax. Our children have made a pact with them. They will collect all the wax and we will convert them into new candles…probably to be used the next time we have a light out!
It's good to change with times. But sometimes change also means letting go of age-old customs and traditions. While we would like to hold on to the spirit of Diwali and celebrate it with as much vigour and jubilation as we have in the past, we are also increasing becoming conscious of the repercussions our family, society and environment faces post the celebrations. Here is our little plan on how we will help make this a safe Diwali.
Hope you enjoy reading this blog as much I enjoyed writing it. I will look forward to your comments on how you made your Diwali eco friendly. Please do share your views and feedback in the comments section below.
Till then Happy Diwali to all of you from Kiki, Jerry, Nakul and Sumitra!
| Oct 15, 2017
It definitely would be a smart way of celebrating without affecting our environment. thanks for sharing these amazing ideas for making this Diwali a Green diwali..