Sometimes called the "festival of lights," Diwali originates in India, where it is celebrated between October and mid November. Endowed with rich cultural and religious significance, Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama -- an incarnation of Vishnu -- from exile, symbolising the triumph of good over evil. Although a variety of vibrant decorations feature prominently in Diwali celebrations, no item is more ubiquitous than the diyas, or small clay oil lamps, burnt throughout the five-day festival.
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Explore Vibrant Colors
Although simple in design, diyas create dramatic displays when painted using vibrant colour. Shades of gold, bright pink and red commonly appear in Diwali decorations and work well on diyas. Contrasting colours also work well on diyas, such as bright orange on the inside with midnight blue on the outside, or black and bright pink. By utilising contrasting colours, you increase the level of visual impact in smaller diya arrangements.
Although diyas look great with just a coat of bright paint, adding additional ornamentation increases their beauty even further. Painting Hindu symbols, geometric figures and scrolling lines in contrasting or metallic paint provides an authentic feeling to diyas, as well as lending them a festive look. In addition to paint, metallic beads and glitter look attractive on diyas, as well as sequins, bits of polished glass and small seashells, all of which provide texture, colour and sparkle even when unlit.
Try a Large Centerpiece
Most homes have at least one dimly-lit, out of the way corner that is difficult to improve, yet during Diwali, a corner such as this provides a perfect backdrop for large displays of burning diyas. Place a small table within an area such as this, or any seldom used area of the house, and create a large centrepiece featuring diyas, marigold flowers and figurines of Hindu deities such as Vishnu, Ganesha and Krishna. A brightly coloured tablecloth or runner should be placed under a Diwali centrepiece, both to increase the festive look and to absorb any oil that might spill from the diyas.
Create a Hanging Display
When decorating with diyas, most people choose to create tabletop centrepieces, however hanging displays provide a novel approach to Diwali decorating. Best used outdoors, hanging diyas should be hung in out-of-the-way areas at eye level or below to help decrease the likelihood of accidentally bumping into them. Diya hangers are available at Indian import shops, usually wrought of brass or other gold-tone metals, but hangers can easily be made at home using silver florist or wreath wire.
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