Whether you live in India or the United States, Diwali is a cherished part of Hindu culture. Even if you’re not Hindu, chances are you’ve heard of this celebration at least once. Typically, families light candles and lanterns as part of this traditional event. However, it is much more common to see fireworks and sparklers for Diwali in modern times. In reality, it is not much different from using sparklers for holidays anywhere else in the world. If you’ve ever wondered how it all works, I’ve put together this post just for you.
What is Diwali?
Diwali is the largest and most celebrated holiday in India. It goes by other names as well, including “Deepavali” or “Tihar” in Nepal. The name translates to “festival of lights”, which is derived from the tradition of decorating with clay lamps (deepa) in rows (avali) outside of your home. The intent of these lamps, called diya, is to symbolize the inner light and protect from spiritual outside darkness.
Essentially, it is the Hindu equivalent to Christmas for those who practice Christianity. Just as Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, Hindus celebrate the power of light to overcome darkness on a spiritual level. Beyond decorating outside with lights, observers also decorate inside their home. Additionally, this holiday is associated with shopping, gifts, feasts, and fireworks such as sparklers. Of course, the primary focus is always on prayer because this is where the spiritual battle truly lies.
When Does Diwali Take Place?
Unlike most holidays in the United States, Diwali takes places on a different date each year. Additionally, most families observe this celebration for up to one full week out of the year. More precisely, Diwali always begins on the eve of a new moon between the months of October and November. According to the Hindu calendar, these months are called Asvina and Kartika, respectively. Since the date is always fluctuating, you can find a calendar of Diwali dates here.
Do People Use Fireworks and Sparklers for Diwali?
Overall, using sparklers for Diwali is incredibly common in the United States. However, there are varying opinions on this practice in the country of India. While many people embrace the more modern traditions of this holiday, some people prefer to stick to the old ways. In fact, many traditional Hindu families forego the modern elements like shopping and gift-giving all together. However, even in India, the vast majority of families use fireworks and Diwali sparklers to enhance their celebration. After all, there’s no harm in making the event a bit more fun and exciting!
What Type of Diwali Sparklers are Best?
There are many different types of sparklers on the market, and each of them can work well under certain conditions. However, it all depends on how and when you plan to use them. Of course, there aren’t any special Diwali sparklers made just for the occasion, so choosing can be a bit tricky. Here are a few factors to consider before you start shopping.
If you want to use them indoors, it is always best to stick with smokeless sparklers for your celebration. By definition, these can be identified with their steel wire handle and will be gold in color. Truthfully, you can get away with using ones that create smoke indoors if you open every door and window in your house. However, it is still dangerous and going with smokeless versions is always the preferred choice.
If you are comfortable using them outdoors, you have many more options at your disposal. Sadly, because Diwali happens between October and November, weather can sometimes make outdoors a bit tricky. However, you can use color versions or anything else that happens to be available safely when smoke isn’t a concern. Though I still prefer the smokeless design, it allows you much more freedom to choose when using them outside.
Best Size for Children
Most of the time, sparklers are intended for the children to use during the celebration. As such, it’s important to choose a size that is easy for them to handle for safety reasons. Luckily, most places only sell very short versions that are 8 to 10 inches in length; which are great for smaller hands! However, I usually suggest 20 inch sparklers for children because they last longer and are still very easy to handle. Lastly, avoid anything longer than 20 inches for kids. Though they last longer, they are more difficult to maneuver and can lead to unintended injuries.
Presenting Your Diwali Sparklers
Presentation is another key factor when putting your plan together for Diwali. Usually, sparklers come in very ugly boxes that don’t encompass the spirit of the celebration. Fortunately, there are a few easy remedies for this situation. First, consider removing them from their boxes and placing them in your own sleeves. The cheapest option is to simply tie them together in bundles using twine or ribbon. Next, think about using them as a surprise for the children. That way, they also act as a fun little gift for them to enjoy! One popular idea is to stick them in fruit such as apples or peaches. Lastly, wait to hand them out until it’s time for them to be used. If you give them to the kids too early, they will hound you endlessly asking to go outside and light them.
Alternatives to Using Sparklers for Diwali
Of course, there are a number of situations where using real sparklers is either inappropriate or just not feasible. Fortunately, there are a few alternatives that work just as well; and in some cases are even more appealing.
My favorite option is to use LED sparklers instead of traditional versions. First off, they last as long as there is battery life and you can easily swap out batteries. Second, they are completely safe and there is absolutely zero risk of injury. Lastly, they are completely reusable so they can be enjoyed year after year. In fact, some people even use them in place of diya for their outdoor decorations. Plus, since they feature multiple lighting patterns, you can customize they way you decorate your house.
Making your own ribbon wands is a fun activity that can also be part of your celebration. Instead of spending money on sparklers for Diwali, you can craft simple wands with items you probably have laying around the house. Sitting down with your kids and building them can become a fun tradition on its own. However, the real fun begins when everyone goes outside and waves them around!
Some people prefer not to have their children holding extremely hot sparklers in their hands. However, they still want to do something fun and special for the family. One of my favorite items to use is sky lanterns because they embrace all of the elements that Diwali is supposed to represent. They are similar to Diya because they are essentially a candle inside of a paper lantern. However, the captured heat causes them to float into the air like a mini hot air balloon; so in that respect they are similar to a firework. Considering that you’re celebrating the “festival of lights”, what could encompass that more than a fun aerial lantern?
Using Sparklers at Hindu Wedding
Lastly, Diwali is a very popular time of year for Hindu people to get married. Given the deep meaning behind the event, it’s easy to understand the appeal. Fortunately, there are already plenty of wedding sparklers on the market that suit the occasion perfectly. Many couples make a direct connection to the holiday during their ceremony or reception. By utilizing sparklers for Diwali weddings, you end up getting the best of both worlds.
Hopefully, this post has demonstrated all the benefits of using fireworks and sparklers for Diwali celebrations. Whether you adhere to traditions or prefer to be more progressive, they are appropriate for both situations. Be sure to take your time and choose the right products for your family. From everyone here, we wish you a very happy celebration and all the happiness in the world!