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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 10/19/16

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

CREPE PAPER PARTY HATS FOR THAT SPECIAL HALLOWEEN EVENT!.....CAN I GET A WOOOT!!....WOOOT!!

  This diy project is brought to you by www.blumchen.com.  A real cool project for a very impressive childs Halloween party.  They also have many unique craft supplies for almost any holiday.

Tools and Supplies
pair of scissors
ruler or measuring tape
staple gun
"tacky" white glue-all
heavy thread or string
crepe paper, streamers
cardstock or thick paper
crepe paper collection: sheets, crepe streamers
white craft cardstock
Irish linen thread
Dresden die-cut trims
scrap relief pictures
vintage florals
Party Hat Size Guide
A Guide to Average
Head Circumferences:
• Children & Teens
20½" to 22"
• Adult Women
21½" to 23"
• Adult Men
23" to 24½"






Paper Party Hats

Step-by-Step Crafting Instructions

Easily customizable to suit any holiday or festive occasion, our step-by-step instructions
will teach you the the basic crafting techniques and tips necessary to make these fun hats.
For design ideas and examples of decorated crepe party hats as well as more helpful
crafting tips from our artists, be sure to check out page 2 of these instruction.

This hat can be easily adjusted to fit head circumferences that measure from 20" to 23".
If you would like a more customized fit for the smaller sizes, just take off 2" from the
indicated lengths of the crafting materials; for larger sizes add 2" to our instructions.
Instructions to make a standard 22" circumference crepe paper party hat

1) To make this party hat you will need the following crafting materials:
• crepe paper sheet: 1 piece that measures 20" high by 25" wide, cut with the grain running vertically
• crepe streamers or cut strips of crepe paper: 2 strips that measure 1¾” wide by 25" long
• decorative crepe streamer: 1 strip that measures 1½" to 1¾” wide by 25" long
• cardstock or heavy paper: 1 strip that measures 1½" wide by 24" long
2) Fold the crepe paper sheet in half lengthwise.
Next, lightly glue the cardstock strip just below
the fold, centering it evenly on the crepe paper.
Please note that it is recommended that you use
a tacky-style white glue-all when working with
crepe paper. A runny or "wet" glue doesn't hold
as well and may make the crepe paper bleed.
3) Glue one crepe streamer along the inside top
edge of the crepe sheet. Run a small amount of
glue along the bottom edge of the streamer, not
more than ¼" away from the edge. Be careful
not to position the glue too high up on the crepe
streamer, because this may it more difficult to
create a full, fluffy fringed tassel.
4) The next step is to glue the second streamer
on to the top front of the crepe paper sheet. Fold
the sheet back in half so that the first streamer
and cardstock strip are now on the inside of the
sheet, and the folded edge is on the bottom.
Glue the second crepe streamer on the outside
top edge of the crepe sheet in the same manner
as described in step 3.
Design tip: you can use
two streamers of the same color as shown, or
try varying the colors for a multi-hued effect.
5) Now you're ready to create the hat's fringed
tassel. Starting on one side, and with both layers
together, cut down from the top in approximately
¼" wide sections. When cutting the fringe, make
sure that all of the cuts end about ¼" away from
the bottom of the crepe streamers.
Design tip: not all of your hats have to be made
with the same style of fringed tassel! To vary the
look of your tassels, try trimming points onto the
ends of each piece of fringe, or cut the fringe
wider and with rounded ends to create "petals"
to make a flower-inspired pom-pom for you hat.
6) In this next step you will create the hatband.
With the crepe sheet positioned face up, fold the
bottom section up, using the inner cardstock strip
that was glued into place in step 2 as your guide.
This folded-up section creates a sturdy hatband
that will help the crepe hat hold its shape.
7) The final step before shaping the party hat is
to neaten the back seam. Flip the crepe sheet so
that the front side is face down, then fold over
about ½" or so on the left side so that the fold
butts up against the edge of the cardstock band.
Lightly tack down along the length of the fold.
8) You are now ready to form your party hat!
Please note that our hat instructions are for an
average, 22" head circumference, but can be
easily adjusted to fit almost any head size. To
size your hat, measure 22" out (or your desired
circumference) from the folded edge of the band
and make a pencil mark. Roll the hat in a circle
so the neat side edge of the hatband meets the
pencil mark. Staple the two ends together, being
mindful to staple the hat so that the prongs will be
on the outside of the hat. And to help the hat hold
its shape, lightly glue down along the back seam.
9) Start shaping the party hat: gather the top of
the hat together, just under the fringe. The more
even you can make the gathers, the better!
10) Tie together the top gathers of the hat, using
a sturdy thread or string. Loop the thread around
the gathered point just under the fringe and pull it
tight to form the hat into a cone shape. Knot the
thread in the back of the party hat.
11) Finish shaping the party hat by rounding out
the crown area of the hat. A really easy way to
do this is to put the hat on your head, then gently
pull down until the top of the crepe hat stretches
open to become more rounded.
12) Your party hat is now ready to decorate. To
complete this Happy Halloween party hat, glue a
25" strip of decoratively-printed crepe streamer
around the hatband, starting and ending in the
back. The final step is to fluff open the fringe to
create the party hat's frilly pom-pom.
And now is when the fun really starts! Using our
basic instruction, you can create imaginative and
festive crepe party hats for any occasion. 
     
Halloween Party Hats


 Design Inspiration and Crafting Tips from our Artists


Additional ways to customize your crepe paper party hats
Once you understand the basic techniques of how to create this hat, it's actually quite
easy to make the small adjustments that will make big changes in the look of your hat.
For instance, just using different colors of crepe paper and types of embellishments will
customize each party hat enough to turn it into its own unique, one-of-a-kind creation.
But to really change the look of a hat, the most important decision is how you will form
the top and crown of the hat. In the examples shown below, we made hats with a standard
tassel, a crown hat with a fanned-open tassel, and two party hats that have no tassels at all.
   These crepe party hats can be imaginatively customized to suit any holiday throughout
the year, from Valentine's Day to Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations, and are
especially charming as whimsically-decorated chapeaux for children's birthday parties!
Halloween Night Hat
   This party hat was made exactly the same as the Happy Halloween orange crepe paper hat in our instructions but for the tassel. Instead of fluffing it into a pom-pom, we just slightly fanned out the tassel and added a strip of Dresden border trim to cover the thread.
   The hat's crown was decorated with a scattering of silver stars to suggest an Autumnal night sky. Using a variety of sizes and styles of silver Dresden stars, we randomly glued them onto the crown of the hat.
   To decorate the hatband, we used our Halloween Night Witches streamer, which was cut down on both the top and bottom so that it measures just 1¾” wide. After gluing on the streamer, Dresden border trim in silver was added to neaten the edges. Lastly, we created a decorative rosette using a filigree silver Dresden medallion that was backed by a circle of black paper, then encircled it with a frill of fringed white crepe paper. The final finishing touch is the "moon face" Dresden, which is actually a smiling sun Dresden with the rays trimmed off!
Halloween Crown Hat
   This hat may look complicated to make, but it is actually quite easy to craft. Complete your hat to step 11. Instead of adding a crepe streamer to the hatband, you will be gluing on a strip of our extra-large paper lace border trim in gold. First, cut down the width of the paper lace trim so that it measures 2¼" high. Next, add glue to the entire height of the paper lace, from the bottom all the way up to the scalloped edge. When gluing on this trim, center it evenly on the front, making sure that the crepe paper on the crown section adheres firmly to the top scallops of the paper lace trim. This is what creates the hat's unique, slightly flattened shape.
   To decorate the lacy hatbrim, we added a variety of Dresden embellishments, including starflowers which were painted black, then centered with silver Dresden daisies that have colored centers drawn on using a permanent marker. A strip of black paper, accented using a gold petite points Dresden border, encircles the bottom of the hat.
This hat's crowning glory is its uniquely shaped tassel. Don't "fluff" open the tassel, but gently press the fringe together, then fan it out so that it creates its semi-circular shape. A gold Dresden medallion features our grinning pumpkin sticker.

Tips for Making Crepe Party Hats without Tassels
   For the two hats shown below, we handled the crown of the hats in very different ways.
    The Black Cat hat is made "inside out" with no tassel at all, while the Jack-O'-Lantern
hat is topped with a "pumpkin stem" and waxed leaves instead of a frilled tassel.


Black Cat Hat
   Our fabulous feline hat is an example of a party hat made with a rounded crown. To craft this style of hat, you won't be using any of the crepe streamers; all you need is a sheet of crepe paper and a strip of cardstock for the hatband.
Follow the instructions up to step 2, then skip to steps 7 and 8. After completing these steps, you are ready to create the rounded crown of the hat. First, gently push the top end of the crepe paper down through the center of the hat until it sticks out a bit below the cardstock hatbrim. Next, evenly gather together the top end, and tie it together about ¾” in from the edge. Lastly, push the tied end back up through the hatbrim to form a smooth-topped crown for your hat.
   To create the strikingly-graphic face of this black cat, we used colored cover-weight, 67 lb. paper, but you can also use sturdy construction paper. We made the face by cutting out different colors of paper for each feature, then glued the pieces together before affixing them to the hat. You can also paint all of the features on heavy paper, then cut them out. The cat's ears were made from triangles of black paper that have rounded, not straight, sides. We then folded the ears in half vertically, and glued in smaller triangular pieces of pale pink paper. Design tip: make sure to position each piece exactly where you want it before gluing it down, because crepe paper can be damaged quite easily and it will show glue marks!
   The collar is a 7/8" wide piece of heavyweight orange paper that we trimmed with strips of gold Dresden border. The decorated collar was then glued onto the hatbrim "neck," starting and ending in the front. The connection seam was covered with a large Dresden button.
Design tip: to add a slightly more realistic look to your cat hat, tuck a ¾” wide, tri-folded strip of paper down between the hatband and the entire body of the hat. This pushes the body of the hat in and helps create a "neck" just above the collar.
Jack-O'-Lantern Pumpkin Hat
   The inspiration for this hat was a vintage papier-mâché pumpkin of the type made in Germany in the 1920's and 30's. Do note that the crepe paper we used is goldenrod in order to replicate the color often used for German jack-o'-lanterns.
   Follow the instructions up to step 2, then skip to steps 7, 8 and 9. After completing these steps, you are ready to create the rounded crown of the hat with its "pumpkin stem" topper. First, tie off the gathered crepe paper about 1¾” down from the top edge using strong thread. Next, take both ends of the thread and wind them around this top section of crepe paper, shaping it into a graduated stem by pulling the thread tighter as you wind up the stem. Tie the thread about ¼" down from the top. Finish the stem by coloring the flat top surface brown (we used a marking pen), then cover the length of the stem with brown crepe paper. For a more natural look, bend the stem slightly to add a curve, then attach the waxed leaves and a spiraled wire tendril.
   The features of the face were made using a combination of free-drawn and traced shapes. We used colored cover-weight, 67 lb. paper, but any heavier stock paper is just fine. Design tip: drawing templates are a quick and easy way to trace perfectly even shapes! Made of thin plastic with shapes cut in them, we used a combination ellipse template for the eyes. To make the googly eyes, use a black medium-point marker to trace inside the ellipse template; cut out just around the black outline. For the irises, use a blue marker to trace an ellipse shape on lighter blue paper, then cut out small black ellipse pupils; glue the pieces together. The nose and mouth have outlines made using a dark purplish-red marker; the teeth were drawn on with a red medium-point marker.
   To complete the face, add eyebrows cut from black paper; the expressive "wrinkles" that add so much character to this jack-o'-lantern party hat were cut from a dark purplish-red paper.
   The neck band was made from a 1" wide strip of green paper with a glued-on strip of darker green paper and our petite fleur-de-lis Dresden border.

Batty Pumpkins Hat
    The flattened crown of this party hat gives it a unique look that is quite stylish, and especially suited for male partygoers.
Make your hat as per our instructions through to step 4, but instead of using a second streamer of black, substitute a strip of buttercup yellow crepe paper. Continue following all the instructions until you complete step 11.
   To flatten the crown, you will need a piece of cardstock or heavy paper. If you are making our standard, 22" circumference hat, then you will need a cardstock strip that measures 8½" long by 1½" wide; if the hat you are making is larger or smaller then you will need to adjust the length accordingly. Fold over each end of the cardstock strip by ½". The next step is to glue this support into the inside of the hat: attach the strip across the inside the hat, about ½" up from the bottom edge of the hatband. Add glue to the central, top surface of the cardstock strip, then gently press down the crown of the hat until it adheres securely to the cardstock support.
   To complete this hat, glue on a strip of our batty pumpkins crepe streamer, first trimming its edges back to the black borders so that it measures just 2" wide. Lastly, fan open the tassel and add a ¼" wide strip of black paper or doubled piece of crepe paper to cover the juncture where the tassel abuts the crown of the party hat.

HALLOWEEN SUPERSTITIONS, OH SO SPOOOOKKKYYY!





  • Black Cats
    In America some people believed in the magical powers of black cats. Certain bones on the cat has the power to make wishes come true, or even to make one invisible. In Europe, the black cats had nasty connections with witches. 




  • White Cats
    The White Cat in England, at Halloween, is thought to the be unlucky.






  • Blue Cats
    The Blue Cat in Russia brings good luck. The "Blue" is often viewed as a "gray" cat.








  • Snails
    Some believe if you catch a snail on Halloween night and lock it into a flat dish, then in the morning you will see the first letter of your sweetheart written in the snail's slime.







  • Owls
    Many people used to believe that owls swooped down to to eat the souls of the dying. If they heard an owl hooting, they would become frightened. A common remedy was thought to be, turning your pockets inside out and you would be safe.






  • Bats
    In ancient November Samhain festivals, bats would swoop over blazing fires to eat the mosquitoes.







  • No Talking at the dinner table
    'The Dumb Supper' was brought to America by the Africans. This an eerie Hallowmas meal - where nobody is allowed to speak, not even whisper. It encourages spirits to come to the table.







  • Nutcracker Night
    In Britain, people believed that the Devil was a nut-gatherer. At Halloween, nuts were used as magic charms.







  • Husband Finding
    If a girl puts a sprig of rosemary herb and a silver sixpence under her pillow on Halloween night, she will see her future husband in a dream.
  • WHAT IF YOU'RE ATTACKED BY A MONSTER? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? WHAT WOULD YOU DO????






        Being that Halloween is just around the corner. I felt it my job to give out some helpful hints in case we get overrun with monsters. It probably should be noted that I am not a monster expert (though I did play one on t.v.), nor have I ever had any run-ins with one (lately!). Add to that the fact that I have missed my last 15 years of Kung Fu lessons, and suddenly my credibility may come into question.
        Van Helsing, I am not (even though I have watched it a handful of times), but I have watched quite a few horror movies over the years. I have also had countless dreams in which I battled some sort of monster into submission. Lastly, you would not believe how frequently I stage monster vs. monster battles in my head during my lunch time (what else am I supposed to do during lunch? eat?).
        Remember, in no way am I implying that these ideas will work or save your life. Rather, I think they will make the last few moments of your life more enjoyable. So, in the event of any of these creatures taking over the world (or your neighborhood), I urge you to give my suggestions a try ( they may save your life in case of a great monster migration).









    Mummies

    Hands down, this is the least scary monster out there, lending them to the most potential case of ridicule. Their wrappings are obviously a weakness that begs to be exploited. And what better way to exploit them than to make money off them? I would gather 10-12 mummies (would that be considered a flock of mummies) and tie their bandages to a sturdy object such as a building. Then I would fire a gun and have them race on some kind of course, and whomever unravels last, wins (winner, winner chicken dinner). A little gas and some matches would take care of any mummy problem in a short period of time also. With those bandages being so old they would go up like a Christmas tree without water (poof!!!)








    Frankenstein

    Based on the monster's inability to concentrate or speak, I believe that this is another opportunity to take advantage of a possibly scary situation. He can't walk fast and what's he supposed to do to catch someone when he walks with his arms straight out. You could run down to the supermarket and back 3 or 4 times until he catches up with you. Once you turn a corner, how's he going to know where you've disappeared to. He would be great for hide and seek (the only problem is the game would last too long, and everyone would get board, except for Frankenstein, he would probably search for a missing sock in the dryer if you let him). The easiest way to get rid of him is to trip him and when he's down have a friend in his truck run him over a few times.




     
     
     

    Swamp Creatures

    This is one for the senior-citizens. In the event of some kind of water monster taking over the world. I would suggest loading a helicopter with some of the senior citizens (mainly ones from New York) and a load of bricks and fly over different bodies of water where these creatures were reported to be lurking. Everytime one pops up out of the water they take turns throwing the bricks at them and sinking them (almost like plunking gophers with a mallet). The one who sinks the most gets a prize. (lifetime supply of denture grip)

     

    Zombies

       They are another of the slow moving monster kind (what's up with all of these slow moving monsters these days!). Zombies would be perfect for a shooting gallery. You plink them going in one direction and they turn around and go the other way and you plink them again and again. They have the attention span of a 5 year old. You could always call one of the local little league teams in your area and they could take batting and thowing practice (one!two! three strikes he's down in the ole Zombie bashing game!!)







    Vampires

       If vampires took over the world, a lot of things would probably change. Blood banks would be franchised as drive-thrus. Dentists would be a vampires best friend (want to keep those canine teeth sharp). The night life would go way up (it would suck if you were a human though!). If you're still human and you think a vampire is stalking you, just carry some high powered ultraviolet lights (don't forget fresh batteries). You may also want to start taking those Kung Fu lessons again and learn how to use Chinese fighting sticks (sharpened at both ends mind you). If you get along with them and lets say you're a hairdresser and they come in to have their hair permed, how are they going to tell if you did it right or not if they can't see their reflection in a mirror?(that's when they bring a vampire buddy with them)








    Werewolves

       Werewolves may be the hardest to take down because they usually travel in packs. This is another case of taking up Kung Fu again and learn the art of throwing silver plated throwing stars. Having an axe would come in handy also, but they are usually a little bulky. I have seen some late night infomercials on about a new folding axe made of space age materials that can chop down a tree and saw through an aluminum can and still cut a tomato (plus you get 2 for the price of one, just pay extra shipping and handling charges).My suggestion would be on full moon nights would be to stay at home and watch a couple movies on HBO or Showtime.
        I hope that my ideas and suggestions have sparked some thoughts into your mind about what to do during a monster battle royal. As much as I do not want to see creatures invading our planet, I would hate to squander such promising opportunities for you and I to have some fun at their expense. Good luck and happy hunting!!! BoooYaaahhhh!!!!!

    ODIWALI FESTIVAL FROM INDIA!!






       Diwali is one of the biggest festival of Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness in India. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, where the third days is celebrated as the main Diwali festival or 'Festival of lights'. Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this auspicious day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. They perform Laxmi Puja in the evening and seek divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. The festival od Diwali is never complete without exchange of gifts. People present diwali gifts to all near and dear ones.

    Diwali in history

        The history of Diwali is replete with legends and these legends are moored to the stories of Hindu religious scriptures, mostly the Puranas. Though the central theme of all legends point out to the classic truth of the victory of the good over the evils, the mode of their presentation and the characters differ. Diwali, being the festival of lights, lighting the lamp of knowledge within us means to understand and reflect upon the significant purpose of each of the five days of festivities and to bring those thoughts in to the day to day lives.

    The five day of Diwali
        The first day of Diwali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi or Dhanwantari Triodasi also called Dhan Theras. The second day of Diwali is called Narak Chaturdasi. It is the fourteenth lunar day (thithi) of the dark forthnight of the month of Kartik and the eve of Diwali. On this day Lord Krishna destroyed the demon Narakasur and made the world free from fear. The third day of Diwali is the actual Diwali. This is the day when worship for Mother Lakshmi is performed. On the fourth day of Diwali, Goverdhan Pooja is performed. The fifth day of the diwali is called Bhratri Dooj. It is a day dedicated to sisters.








     Hindu Mythology
       The Story of Rama and Sita: Lord Rama was a great warrior King who was exiled by his father Dashratha, the King of Ayodhya, along with his wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshman, on his wife's insistence. Lord Rama returned to his Kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, in which he put an end to the demon Ravana of Lanka, who was a great Pundit, highly learned but still evil dominated his mind. After this victory of Good over Evil, Rama returned to Ayodhya. In Ayodhya, the people welcomed them by lighting rows of clay lamps. So, it is an occasion in honor of Rama's victory over Ravana; of Truth's victory over Evil.

    The Story of King Bali and Vamana Avatar(the Dwarf):
        The other story concerns King Bali, who was a generous ruler. But he was also very ambitious. Some of the Gods pleaded Vishnu to check King Bali's power. Vishnu came to earth in the form of a Vamana(dwarf) dressed as priest. The dwarf approached King Bali and said "You are the ruler of the three worlds: the Earth, the world above the skies and the underworld. Would you give me the space that I could cover with three strides?" King Bali laughed. Surely a dwarf could not cover much ground, thought the King, who agreed to dwarf's request. At this point, the dwarf changed into Vishnu and his three strides covered the Earth, the Skies and the whole Universe! King Bali was send to the underworld. As part of Diwali celebrations, some Hindus remember King Bali.









    The Defeat of Narkasur by Lord Krishna:
        Lord Vishnu in his 8th incarnation as Krishna destroyed the demon Narkasura, who was causing great unhappiness amongst the people of the world. Narkasura was believed to be a demon of filth, covered in dirt. He used to kidnap beautiful young women and force them to live with him. Eventually, their cries for rescue were heard by Vishnu, who came in the form of Krishna. First, Krishna had to fight with a five-headed monster who guarded the demon's home. Narkasura hoped that his death might bring joy to others. Krishna granted his request and the women were freed. For Hindus, this story is a reminder that good can still come out of evil.


    Krishna and The Mountain:
        In the village of Gokula, many years ago, the people prayed to the God Indra. They believed that Indra sent the rains, which made their crops, grow. But Krishna came along and persuaded the people to worship the mountain Govardhan, because the mountain and the land around it were fertile. This did not please Indra. He sent thunder and torrential rain down on the village. The people cried to Krishna to help. Krishna saved the villagers by lifting the top of the mountain with his finger. The offering of food to God on this day of Diwali is a reminder to Hindus of the importance of food and it is a time for being thankful to God for the bounty of nature.


     



     

    Diwali Traditions &  Customs

       Deepavali, the literal meaning of which in Sanskrit is 'a row of lamps.  Filling little clay lamps with oil and wick and lighting them in rows all over the house is a tradition that is popular in most regions of the country. Even today in this modern world it projects the rich and glorious past of our country and teaches us to uphold the true values of life. It is associated with many customs and traditions. One of the most curious customs, which characterizes this festival of Diwali, is the indulgence of gambling, especially on a large scale in North India.
       The first day of five day long Diwali celebrations is of great importance to the rich community of western India. Houses and business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colorful with lovely traditional motifs of Rangoli designs to welcome Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. To indicate her long-awaited arrival, small footprints are drawn with rice flour and vermilion powder all over the houses. Lamps are kept burning all through the night. Believing this day to be auspicious women purchase some gold or silver or at least one or two new utensils.
       Lakshmi-Puja is performed in the evenings when tiny diyas of clay are lighted to drive away the shadows of evil spirits, devotional songs- in praise of Goddess Laxmi are sung and Naivedya of traditional sweets is offered to the Goddess. There is a peculiar custom in Maharashtra to lightly pound dry coriander seeds with jaggery and offer as Naivedya In villages cattle are adorned and worshiped by farmers as they form the main source of their income. In south cows are offered special veneration as they are supposed to be the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and therefore they are adorned and worshiped on this day .








       On second day there is a traditional practice specially in Maharashtra of taking bath before sunrise with oil and "Uptan" (paste) of gram flour and fragrant powders. In northern India, especially in places like Punjab, Diwali is dedicated to the worship of Lord Rama. While in Bengal, Kali/Durga, the goddess of strength, is worshiped. Diwali is one of the few Hindu festivals, which is celebrated in every part of the country, even in states like Kerala that has Onam as its main festival. To the Jains, Deepavali has an added significance to the great event of Mahaveera attaining the Eternal Bliss of Nirvaana.
       Govardhan-Puja is also performed in the North on the fourth day. This day is also observed as Annakoot meaning 'mountain of food'. In temples especially in Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are given milk bath and dressed in shining attires with ornaments of dazzling diamonds, pearls, rubies and other precious stones. After the prayers and traditional worship innumerable varieties of delicious sweets are offered to the deities as "Bhog" and then the devotees approach and take Prasad.










       Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in every Hindu household. In many Hindu homes it is a custom for the wife to put the red tilak on the forehead of her husband, garland him and do his "Aarti" with a prayer for his long life. In appreciation of all the tender care that the wife showers on him, the husband gives her a costly gift. This Gudi Padwa is symbolic of love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and given presents. Diwali celebration is a very happy occasion for all.

    Diwali Meaning & Significance

        Deepavali is a festival where people from all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen 'diyas' (lamps), decorating the houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to god for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame.
       It is one time in the whole year that children volunteer to leave their beds long before the day begins. In fact, the traditional oil bath at 3 a.m, is the only chore that stands between them and the pre-dawn adventures. They emerge, scrubbed clean to get into their festive attire, and light up little oil lamps, candles and scented sticks(agarbathis), the wherewithal for setting alight crackers and sparklers.








       On Diwali night, little clay lamps are lit in Hindus homes, but now a days colored electric lamps are also used. What is the significance of lighting a lamp? There is a logical answer to this question. It is through the light that the beauty of this world is revealed or experienced. Most civilizations of the world recognize the importance of light as a gift of God. It has always been a symbol of whatever is positive in our world of experience.
       To Hindus, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces- wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering, etc. Competition is stiff, and even the little girl in silk frocks and their finery are watching out for the best sparklers and flowerpots, the rockets and Vishnuchakras, which light-up the night sky like a thousand stars. Grown-ups are the soul of generosity. Festive bonhomie abounds.





     

    Diwali Celebrations

        In the midst of today's busy lifestyle, Diwali gives an opportunity to pause and be grateful for what we have, to make special memories with family and friends, to laugh and enjoy what life offers us. Though the festival of Dipavali has undergone some changes, in due course of time, yet it has continued to be celebrated since the time immemorial. Every year, the festive season of Diwali comes back with all the excitement and merriment. Times may have undergone a sea change but customs and traditions remain the same.
       It is difficult to state that, since when the festival of Dipavali has been celebrating in its present form. In India, the economy is based on agriculture, this festival was believed to be started as the celebration of 'rituparva' thousands of years ago. By this time the harvest of crops were complete. As a result the people had not to worry about food for the rest of year. This joys of their reflected ion the illumination of countless lamps. In due course of time, numerous historical incidents got connected with this festival. There are many tales in the Puranas related with this festival.
       With the evolution of the lifestyle, there has been certain change in the way people celebrate Diwali, as more and more technology has been included, but the zeal and the spirit of celebration remains the same. Earthen lamps may have been replaced with stunning electric illuminations, dress code may have changed, but the custom and tradition of performing puja has been carried very well through generations.




    Filling the many oil lamps



       People wake up at the crack of dawn to conduct the customary pujas. Dressed in brilliant silks and glittering gold jewelry families gather and light crackers to usher in the great evening. After a session of bursting crackers, its time to visit friends and relatives. Armed with sweets and savories people meet their near and dear ones. Even today, Diwali is such a wonderful festival, a time of giving and sharing, a time to catch up with people, in other words its time to catch up with the little joys that we keep overlooking for the remaining part of the year.

    Regional Significance of Diwali

        The origin of Diwali festival is not known, but it has gathered a number of legends around it over the centuries. In the northern and the western regions of India, its origin is attributed to the return of Lord Ram to his kingdom after defeating the demon king Ravana. The joyous people of Ayodhya, his capital, celebrated his arrival. In the eastern states, Diwali is associated with the story of Narakasura who had menaced his people with tyranny.
       In the regions of Maharashtra and Mysore, Diwali is linked with the legendary king Bali who was immensely popular with his subjects for his generosity. However, king Bali had become arrogant and conceited, and provoked the wrath of godly people. His generosity was put to test by Lord Vishnu who appeared in the disguise of a dwarf, and asked him for a piece of land equal to three steps. When Bali granted his wish, Lord Vishnu took the form of a super giant person, and with his two steps covered Bali's entire kingdom. With his third step he pushed Bali to the underland. Since then, his people celebrated his arrival on this day, locally called Bali Padyami.









       In the north, most communities observe the custom of lighting lamps. However, in the south, the custom of lighting baked earthen lamps is not so much part of this festival as it is of the Karthikai celebrations a fortnight later. The lights signify a welcome to prosperity in the form of Lakshmi, and the fireworks are supposed to scare away evil spirits.
       In Punjab, the day following Diwali is known as tikka when sisters make a paste with saffron and rice and place an auspicious mark on their brother's foreheads as a symbolic gesture to ward off all harm.
       Likewise, on the second day of the month of Kartik, the people of Maharashtra exchange gifts. In Maharashtra, it is the thirteenth day of Ashwin, the trayodasi, that is observed as a festival commemorating a young prince whom Yama, the God of Death, had claimed four days after his marriage. Filled, however, with compassion for the luckless youth, the legend goes, Yama promised that those who observed the day would be spared untimely death-and so the lamps that are lit to mark the festival are placed facing south, unlike on other festive days, because south is the direction mythologically assigned to Yama.
       For the Bengalis, it is the time to worship Goddess Kali , yet another form of Durga, the divine embodiment of supreme energy. Kali is the Goddess who takes away darkness. She cuts down all impurities, consumes all iniquities, purifies Her devotees with the sincerity of her love.