The Indian Artist, Revamped: The Festival of Lights!

Good evening everyone! Happy Diwali!

I hope that you all are well. I thought that I would bring back on of my old posts. Today is Diwali, The Festival of Lights, and beautiful and important Indian holiday. For new readers and old, I wanted to tell the fun story behind this incredible tradition.

Diwali is one of the most important festivals in Hindu culture and symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, power of good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. During times of Diwali, families adorn and clean their houses, decorating it with beautiful flowers and ornaments. On the days leading up to the holiday and the day of, the entire home is lit up with candles and diyasDiyas are small oil lamps that are generally made from clay. The wicks are made out of cotton and fueled by some type of oil or ghee. These Diyas or oil lamps are lit for deities and to bring light to the house and ward off any darkness. Another part of custom adornment is something called rangoli, a personal favorite of mine. Rangoli is created from either chalk or pigmented powders and used to create beautiful designs on pavements as well as home entrances.

The lighting of candles and oil lamps is a welcome to the Goddess of Fortune and Prosperity, Lakshmi. It lights a path, welcoming her into blessing the home with good fortune, prosperity, and health. The holiday celebrates new beginnings and the start of the Indian fiscal year.

The story of Diwali is long and well-loved. Diwali is said to be the commemoration of the return of Lord Rama and his wife Sita (Reincarnation of Goddess Lakshmi) and brother from a 14-year exile into the forest. While on their exile, Sita is taken by the demon Ravana. Lord Rama and his brother travel with an army of monkeys far and wide, eventually conquering Ravana and bringing Sita back home. Lord Rama’s return to his home kingdom is celebrated by a festival from the townspeople that last for days with music, food, singing, and dancing. From then onwards, this festival came to be known as Diwali. The day Lord Rama returned home with Goddess Lakshmi (Sita).

This piece titled The Festival of Lights is a small depiction of Diwali and the beautiful tradition that it represents. The hands are covered in henna holding a diya lamp. The entire piece is done in colored pencil and was done early on when I started using my culture and upbringing as a topic of my art. For me, Diwali has always been a beautiful time of the year. Family and friends come together and we all sit around enjoying each other’s company and laughter. Eating delicious food and Indian cuisine, praying for one another’s health, prosperity, and happiness, we all forget the daily mundane troubles for a moment and lose ourselves in mutual companionship and love.

Once again, Happy Diwali to you all. I wish you all good fortune, positivity, and prosperity for the year to come! Please let me know if there is anything you all would like to see from me. If any questions or thoughts arise, please comment or reach out to me at my socials!


Until next week,





Riya A

My name is Riya and I am currently a Senior at U of M studying Molecular Biology with a double minor in Art & Design and Sociology on the pre-med track. Art has been a huge passion of mine from a very young age and in the final iteration of my column, I look forward to sharing my passions as they connect to my culture, medicine, and art.

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