Diwali~ The Quintessential Festival

Throughout India, it is one of the most favoured festivals and is celebrated with much fervour. Beautifully lighted up homes, prettily dressed up people, aromas of mouth-watering delicacies, sparkles and crackles from the fireworks are few things that are part and parcel of this festival.

Like every other festival, Diwali also has its own significance and purpose. Diwali is observed to celebrate the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. In Hindu mythology, the reason for celebrating Diwali festival varies from region to region across India. Several events are associated with Diwali such as the killing of Narakshura by Lord Krishna’s wife Satyabhama, the homecoming of Lord Rama after 14 years in exile, the birth of goddess Lakshmi and celebration of the return of Pandavas from 12 years of banishment as result of defeat to Kauravas. These mythical and historical reasons undeniably indicate that Diwali is a festival of happiness.
Diwali usually falls on the new-moon (Amavasai) night and that is why the earthen oil lamps and fireworks have their significant role to play on this occasion. Temples and marketplaces are lavishly decorated with lights, a few days before Diwali, as a gesture of welcoming this great Hindu festival. . The fireworks prominently bring the festive mood even before the festival’s arrival. The multi-colored, impressive fireworks come in wide assortment to please all age groups. Despite the growing environmental concerns and safety issues, fireworks still continue to be an integral part of the Diwali celebration.

Diwali and sweets are inseparable. Without enjoying some delicious sweets, the celebration of this jubilant festival wouldn’t be complete. The spirit of Diwali is in sharing and spreading happiness. Exchanging gifts and sharing homemade delicacies with friends and neighbors brings a sense of exuberance.

The day begins, in most households with the traditional oil bath (Gangasnanam) and getting dressed up in new clothes bought specially for this occasion. The rest of day is usually spent feasting on the various delicacies and visiting friends and relatives.

Despite the many mythological stories and reasons attached to the festival, spending time with friends and family and rejoicing in the togetherness is essentially what the festival denotes today!!

Wish you all a happy and safe Diwali!

Silk for the little princess

Pure silk with fine golden zari will always have its special place in the hearts of South Indian women. Be it a festival or a function, a typical south Indian woman will first reach out for a silk sari. No other fabric epitomizes luxury and elegance - both at the same time, as silk does.

While women get beautifully draped in their rich silk sari, little girls dress up in ‘Pattu Pavadai’.

‘Pattu Pavadai’ meaning silk skirt in Tamil is the traditional dress in south India for small girls. The ‘Pavadai’ is tied on the waist and flares out till the ankle. Usually, the golden zari patch borders the flare of the bell-shaped skirt. Teamed up with a contrasting silk blouse it, pavadais make an ideal traditional outfit for little girls.
Slightly older girls in their teen years, wear ‘Davani’ which is often called as half-sari. This is draped over the pavadai like a saree.

In recent times, ‘Pattu pavadai’ comes in myriad colors and designs that is exclusive for little girls. With the designs of fairy tale characters such as Cinderella and Snow White intricately woven in silk, the ‘pavadai’ not only looks attractive but also adds an element of fun for the kids to wear.

Another trend in ‘Pattu Pavadai’ is having the skirt made in Kanchivaram silk and the blouse stitched in contrasting silk colours. Gleaming golden embroidery punctuated with lavish gem stonework in the silk skirt and blouse makes the little ones look like princesses.

The first pattu pavadai a girl receives is from her maternal grandparents’ usually on the occasion of her naming ceremony or in some families, the first birthday. The one she receives when she is on the threshold of womanhood is probably her last one. From here she moves on to wearing sarees.

The ‘Davani’, makes an easier transition to saree as she reaches womanhood.

The long forgotten traditional pavadais and ‘davanis’ is now gaining a lot of popularity. With some western twists to the blouses, pavadais even make great party wear for little girls.

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