Diwali is here and one of the primary items in our shopping lists are things to light up our houses with, be them diyas, candles or the increasingly popular Chinese electric lights. Diwali is never complete without lighting these, and of course, exploding firecrackers. Nowadays, diyas and candles have gone Chinese, so to say. Instead of the traditional earthen diyas and wax candles, people are more and more going for artificial lights or even electric or LED diyas and LED candles, most of which, at least the better ones, are made in China. Variety of choice and cost are two of the main factors responsible for this shift in preference. This year, among the Chinese lights, LED strips, which look like film reels and can be remote-controlled, and disco lights, electronic lights which give off effects just like in discos, are selling big time. Also in demand are plastic candles with LEDs on top, which from far look just like real candles.
However, we should remember that going eco-friendly is the best way. This means using earthen diyas or wax candles. It saves a lot of energy, which is a big saving in terms of being environmentally friendly. With global warming a raging issue all over the world, saving on energy (which implies having to manufacture less energy) is the way to go.
Traditional diyas are not only environment-friendly, they look beautiful too. Nowadays there are beautiful designer diyas available. So it’s definitely not that we don’t have a choice. An example is the ‘mayur pradip’ or peacock-shaped pradip or diya, which is coloured blue to boot. And there are many more.
The same goes for candles too. To cope with competition, candle manufacturers are making innovative candles. Coloured candles and scented candles (not necessarily the premium varieties) are selling particularly well this time of the year, according to shopkeepers.
Do it yourselves
You can also make your own lighting systems at home from environment-friendly things. Here are a few things you can try.
CANDLES IN SMALL GLASSES: Melt candles, and even half-burnt candles, if you have them, in a vessel. You can also use wax dye to get the right colour. Cut wicks and paste them one each at the bottom of the glasses, making sure the other ends hang out. Pour the molten wax into the glasses, while holding the upper ends of the wicks erect. Once the wax cools down, your candle is ready. You can also make candles with different coloured layers. Just pour in a layer of coloured wax, cool it a bit and then pour in a layer of another colour, and so on.
MOSAMBI PEEL DIYAS: Mosambi or orange peels make wonderful diyas. Cut out a peel into two equal hemispheres, remove all traces of the fruit inside and fill them with mustard oil. You can also cut the sides of the peel in different shapes for an added effect. Now, just place a wick inside carefully and light up. You can also put wax inside the peel and make a fruit-peel candle. That would look really nice!
Lead image: Festival Chaska