24 October 2022
One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance".
What is Diwali?
Diwali is made up of five days of festivity that have religious history. Laxmi Pujan, also called the main Diwali, Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdashi, Govardhan Puja, and Bhai Dooj.
During Diwali, people wear their finest clothes, and illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas (a small type of lamp for worship and decorative purposes) and rangoli (an art of decoration drawn on the floor or the entrances of homes), perform worship ceremonies of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared.
Dance and Diwali
The most spiritual dance from ancient India, Odissi, is one of the eight Indian Classical Dance forms (Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathakali, Sattriya, Manipuri and Mohiniyattam). Odissi dates back to 2nd century BCE, proving that it is one of the oldest Indian dance forms.
Odissi dance originated in the temples of Odisha. Thought to be one of the oldest surviving ritual dance forms in existence, Odissi evolved as a spiritual expression of devotion to a higher being. Odissi has greater torso motion, which enhances its beauty.
Costume and performance
Odissi dance is unique among other classical traditions of India in its use of silver ornaments. The artists wear intricate filigree silver or white jewellery pieces. Filigree means ‘thin wire’ in French. Jewellery and ghunghru (bells) are used, adorning the head, ear, neck, hands, fingers, ankles, and waist of the dancer. Red-coloured dyes, called alta, are used on feet and palms, as well as silk saris and pith flowers.