From Taking Oil Baths To Drawing Pulli Kolams; Here’s How Tamilians Celebrate Diwali

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
From Taking Oil Baths To Drawing Pulli Kolams; Here’s How Tamilians Celebrate Diwali

India is the land of festivals! There are so many festivals celebrated in a year, and all of them are celebrated with the same warmth and enthusiasm! The best part is that every part of the country has its own way of celebrating this festival. Ever thought about how Tamilians celebrate Diwali? Well, it’s super unique and something you must know about.

Here’s How Tamilians Celebrate Diwali

Credits: Canva

Tamil Nadu adheres to many customs and rituals that are unique to their religion and culture. It’s time to combine the joy and celebration of Diwali with important religious rituals that are part of Tamil Nadu’s culture. 

The festival takes place in November or October. Deep (light) and vali (array), two Sanskrit terms, are combined to produce the name Deepavali. The five-day Deepavali celebrations in Tamil Nadu start with an oil bath just before sunrise. It is said that this is similar to bathing in the Ganges. 

Oil is a symbol for purging oneself of negative qualities like ego and jealousy. Just like it is believed that the pure Ganga snan can wash off sins and impurities from a person’s life, oil baths too hold that power. Hence, this tradition is one of the most important ones here which is followed by all the Tamilians. 

Men and children are given a mix of sesame oil and coconut oil to apply to their scalps and bodies. While women go for a full-body massage before bathing, While bathing, they do not use soap. Instead, cheap, homemade paste prepared from gram flour, turmeric powder, and a small amount of milk is used on this joyous morning in place of soap.  

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Diyas Drive Away Evil Spirits

Credits: Canva

People change into new clothing after bathing with this mixture, which is said to be good for one’s skin. With such powerful and medicinal ingredients, applying the Thai mixture actually gives soft and healthy skin. 

After wearing new clothes, Tamilians go ahead to perform puja. For the celebration, the houses are cleaned and decked out with Kolams, also known as Pulli Kolams. These are drawn around a set of dots; basic lines create a variety of complex designs. These designs are made using rice flour mixed with water. Using rice flour is supposed to benefit the family by providing food for insects and tiny birds.

They offer God everything, like fruits, flowers, nuts, and betel leaves. Diyas, or clay lamps, are lit to drive out evil spirits. Additionally, crackers are broken to commemorate the triumph of good over evil. Deepavali sweets would be overflowing into Tamil Nadu restaurants. Boondi, palkova, ukkarai, omapodi, jangri, vellai appam, and pathri are a few of the menu’s savory options.

Based on historical accounts, Deepavali originated as a summer harvest celebration that coincided with the Hindu month of Karthika. This event is mentioned in Sanskrit scriptures from the first millennium CE, including the Skanda Purana and Padma Purana.

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How is Diwali celebrated at your place?

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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