Helping the poor on Diwali is probably the best thing that one can do on this festival of lights. Diwali ranks in the top 5 Indian festivals. The festival is also called Deepavali in many places. Despite the name of how it is called, both the terms Diwali and Deepavali mean the same.
The meaning of word Diwali
The term Diwali originates from the Sanskrit language. Deepavali is formed from two words:
- Deepa – which means Lamps
- Aavali – which means group or gathering
Thus, Deepavali or Diwali means a group of lamps or a bunch of lamps. Thus, Diwali literally translates to the festival of lights.
When is Diwali 2021 Date?
Diwali, like many other Indian festivals, does not occur as per a fixed date. Instead, the festival falls on the New Moon day of Kartika month of Indian Lunar Calendar. Diwali is a festival of many days. Some people celebrate Diwali 3 days while others perform festivities for 5 days.
Diwali 2021 date is on Thursday, 4 November (Amavasya).
The five days of Diwali 2021 start from 4th November 2021, and last till 8th of November.
Diwali comprises the following days of worship and fun:
Govatsa Dwadashi: This day is on the twelfth day of the Lunar Calendar of Kartika month. Cows are considered sacred and divine for Hindus. On this day, people worship cows.
Dhanteras: The 13th day of the Kartika month. It is considered the most auspicious day for the purchase of Gold and other valuable items.
Naraka Chaturdasi: This is the 14th day of the month. It was on this day that Satyabhama killed the demon Narakasura. People do puja to Tulasi trees and light lamps at the front of their homes.
Diwali: This is the New Moon Day and the festive day of Deepavali. People worship Lakshmi Devi in the morning in a grandeur way. The evening is the time for cracking crackers, decorating houses with earthen lamps, sharing the fun with friends and family.
Bhaiya Dooj: On this day, brother visits sister’s houses. They eat special meals prepared by their sisters and spend time with their family. This is another major celebration of the brother-sister relationship after the Rakhi festival.
How is Diwali Celebrated?
Diwali celebrations are so grand and lively that every Indian awaits the festival with a lot of enthusiasm. People celebrate Diwali mainly with Lakshmi puja, fun with friends and family, relishing Diwali delicacies and bursting crackers and lighting lamps.
People deep clean their homes and get rid of clutter ahead to celebrate Diwali in its true essence. They take a head bath and wear new clothes on Diwali. They pray to Goddess Lakshmi in their capacity and seek her blessings for fortune and happiness. Diwali lunch includes sweets such as peda, laddoos, gulab jamun, kheer, etc.
In the evening, people celebrate Diwali with a family gathering, lighting lamps, bursting crackers, and spending time with joy and fun.
Not just in India, Diwali is celebrated in many countries where Indians reside. Gifts and wishes cross geographical boundaries during Diwali season. Irrespective of their geographical location, Indians wear new ethnic wear on the Deepavali festival and celebrate Diwali with every traditional aspect.
Diwali – The Festival of Lights
Irrespective of the rich or the poor, the main aspect that everyone who celebrates Diwali does not miss is lighting diyas. No wonder Diwali is the festival of lights. To celebrate Diwali, people buy new diyas, fill them with oil, and light them using cotton wicks. They decorate their houses and pooja rooms with lamps.
Though artificial lamps are becoming a part of the Diwali decoration, nothing can beat the charm that earthen lamps offer.
Ideas to celebrate Diwali with Poor people
Diwali is a festival of happiness. That said, we can share the happiness with others as best as we can. So why not celebrate Diwali with the underprivileged and poor people this time?
If you want to celebrate Diwali with poor people and looking for ideas, here is a compilation of ideas for the same:
1. Adopt a locality
India has many places with poor people. Every city and town is filled with people who lack basic amenities. Research well ahead of Diwali for localities where poor people live . Gather enough funds from your friends and interested donors.
Adopt a locality and take care of its hygiene and basic amenities. You could join them for the whole five days of Diwali and offer your contribution to cleaning their surroundings, improving their living conditions, etc.
When you open your heart to giving, angels fly to your door.Anonymous.
2. Donate clothes and blankets
Diwali occurs in either October and November which marks the beginning of winter season in India. So, to celebrate Diwali with poor people, donate blankets, sweaters, bed sheets and clothes to the people on pavements, people taking shelter near railway stations and bus stations and other homeless people.
“When a poor person dies of hunger it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”Mother Teresa
3. Buy Diwali gifts to poor kids
Diwali sounds happiness and joy for those who have a nice loving family. But imagine the loneliness the orphans and destitute children go through if they see other children celebrating Diwali with joy?
Celebrate Diwali by buying gifts, toys, sweets, and crackers to orphan children. You could also sponsor them a nice delicious meal on this festive day. See the glow in their little eyes as they take the Diwali gifts. Not just buying them gifts and new clothes, you can also spend the day of Diwali with them decorating their orphanage and encouraging them to put rangoli, etc.
“Make each new day count by helping someone or just making someone smile.”Catherine Pulsifer
4. Sponsor for poor children education
Often, we see in the news and media about poor children who toil hard to pay their fees and feed their family too. This Diwali, instead of spending on crackers and new clothes, you can save money and use it for sponsoring such poor children’s education.
Also, take an initiative and form a group of like-minded friends and peers. Spread your idea of celebrating Deepavali with poor people and encourage others also to join your noble mission. Alone we can do something, but together we can do many things.
“Here is what a team can do for you… It allows you to help others do their best.”John C. Maxwell
5. Distribute food and clothes at hospitals and public places
Many poor people lie outside and in the compounds of government hospitals and public places like railway stations and parks. Distribute hot fresh food, clothes, and sweets to them. If your budget fits, you can also consider buying them essentials like medicines, blankets, raincoats, etc.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”Gautama Buddha
6. Tie up with NGOs
We may get the idea to help poor people to celebrate Diwali with a cause. But if we are alone, we may not be able to dare or proceed ahead with confidence. If you are in such a situation, research for NGOs working in your locality. Share your thoughts about how you plan to celebrate Diwali with poor people. They will surely welcome you to join their team. Thus, both your mission and passion are accomplished on Diwali.
“I feel that if you are blessed, or lucky enough, to be doing well, you should help others.”Laurell K.Hamilton
7. Take poor people on a trip
This option suits well if you are a big team with many amenities. Poor people often get no scope to travel to new places. You can spend your Diwali savings on organizing a local tour to poor people. This could include taking them to nearby sightseeing places, parks, museums or historical places. Spend a whole day with them on Diwali. Fill a new sense of joy and happiness in them on this beautiful festival of lights.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”Anne Frank
8. Spend time in villages
India lives in its villages. And this is beyond any doubt. Unfortunately, many villages in India lack hygiene and basic facilities.
This time celebrate Diwali in villages. Form a team of bright young minds and organize a local camp in the village. Spend time exploring the village. Talk to the people and get to know how they live with such limited facilities in remote places. Offer your ideas and share your knowledge with them.
Spend time with village kids. Guide them on their future plans and ideas. Suggest how they can make use of various scholarships and government schemes.
At night, spend time in the village, lighting diyas, and burning crackers. Meanwhile, enjoy the serenity the village offers too. Doesn’t that sound a great way of relaxing on Diwali too?
“One must be poor to know the luxury of giving!”George Eliot
9. Purchase handmade diyas and crackers from poor people
This Diwali, stop making the rich richer. When we purchase diyas and pooja essentials in supermarkets and online, we are just giving our money to business owners who are keen on profits.
Instead, to celebrate Diwali with poor people, purchase diyas and Diwali decorations from poor people and roadside sellers. Thus, every penny you spend on Diwali decorations shall help poor people and provide them food.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”H. Jackson Brown Jr.
10. Support handloom weavers
Wearing new clothes on Diwali is the norm. But the bitter fact about handloom weavers in India is that they are a part of the poorer section who struggle for making their ends meet.
Celebrate Diwali with a poor section of handloom weavers. Support their families with whatever your budget permits. Extend your help in sharing the information that can help their children to gain education or scholarships. Sponsor them groceries and medicines.
“The only gift is giving to the poor; All else is exchange.”Thiruvalluvar
11. Sponsor medical emergencies
Use your Diwali savings most humanely. Sponsor for a premature baby’s medical needs or child who needs blood transfusion because of thalassemia. Distribute nutritional supplements and syrups for malnourished children in poor families. Research for children who need dialysis or medical emergency help and sponsor them for making a difference in this Diwali.
“We have a responsibility to help those around us and help others in need.”Virginia Williams
12. Take up educating campaigns
Diwali these days is nurturing more pollution due to the chemicals that are used in crackers. Educate people with the ways to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way.
To accomplish this, you can gather poor children and make them decorate diyas with eco-friendly colors and sell them in small stalls. Also, teach poor children how to prepare paper packaging and gift wraps that can be used for Diwali gifting. This way, you can be a savior to Earth on Diwali and also celebrate Diwali with poor people in a meaningful way.
“In charity there is no excess.”Francis Bacon
13. Let poor people monetize their talent
Diwali is synonymous with grandeur and decorations. Right from adorning homes with flower garlands to drawing rangolis, encourage your apartment-mates to delegate such tasks to the poor. This helps them to save time and energy as well lets the latter make some money too. This is a win-win for both parties!
One can celebrate Diwali in many fun ways. But every festival of Hinduism deeply believes in serving and respecting Mother Nature and sharing happiness with the fellow human beings. So, let’s add a touch of helping the needy on this Diwali.
“To fold the hands in prayer is well, to open them in charity is better.”French proverb
14. Sponsor for vaccination
Sponsor for poor people’ COVID vaccination. Tie up with government schools for the same. Or choose one locality and explain them your intention. Educate them about the importance of vaccinations and sponsor for the same.
Modern times, sadly, have made Diwali synonymous with noise pollution and air pollution. But if we are determined to change this, we can initiate that change we want to see in society.
By celebrating Diwali with poor people in an eco-friendly and humane way, you are passing a profound message to your children and the next generations. That said, who is asking you to step away from enjoying the Diwali sweets and delicacies? Eat, have fun, help poor people, and repeat!
A one-step today for a greener and poor-friendly Diwali is a great step towards initiating a deep change in the society. By doing so, you also gain immense happiness from within. After all, what else makes true riches than the incomparable satisfaction we gain from helping the needy?
“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”Nelson Mandela