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The Science Behind Diwali

Diwali Decoded: The Science behind it

This post is on some of my findings about the non spiritual & non mythological reason behind the celebration of Diwali. While I am not claiming that it is one hundred percent accurate, it surely felt logical to me. Read on coz I am talking pure science here. 

I am a strong believer that our Ancient Indian scriptures and practices have scientific knowledge hidden as much as they are religious. While the whole world is looking at us for their well being, its only natural that we should seek answers in our own ancient practices. When I hear Westerners going gaga on Yoga, turmeric tea and spices used in Indian food being anti cancerous, I am like, “Dude! we have everything here and how are we still third world”.

Also, with this whole globalization and internet boom, the world is becoming a smaller place than what it used to be. While I am thrilled to get to know newer cultures and learn from them, somewhere I feel that we are ditching our old customs or re-inventing them for the sake of convenience. This is what got me motivated to dig deeper into the reason behind Diwali tradition and practices.

We all know that Diwali is the festival of lights and Light in itself is worshiped as a lord. Also, it is the homecoming of Lord Rama after his victory over Raavana and hence he is welcomed with the grandeur of the shining lights. Now lets look at the science behind it.

The Science of Diwali

Diwali generally falls somewhere in October or November and it is much grander in North India that it is in the South. October/November is also the time when the season is changing, and its a weird kind of weather. Its raining, its humid and its cold at nights. Its also the time of the year, when you can get sick easily.

Diwali Decor ideas

So what about it?

Well, the mixed weather of the season supports the growth and spread of bacteria and germs. An ignited oil lamp, the chemicals emitted from the flame kills germs from the atmosphere around it. And the effect is multiplied when you light hundreds of them. Do you see where I am getting at? (also, when there is a death in the house, there is a lamp kept burning for several days. It all makes sense now.)  The light of a diya also meddles with the magnetic field around, the electro-magnetic waves produced linger on your skin. They activate your blood cells, increases your immunity and makes you feel good.  That is why during Diwali homes are cleaned and hundreds of lamps are lit to ensure the atmosphere around is all safe.

The science behind Diwali

So what, we have modern gadgets now, we are safe!

No we are not. In-fact, I am not sure how it in smaller towns, but the air quality in cities is beyond pathetic. Added to that working in air-conditioned spaces all day long spreads germs faster than ever.

So, this Diwali go bask in to glow of some warm lights and know that you are doing yourself good.


9 thoughts on “The Science Behind Diwali”

  1. Anupama

    A different take on Diwali…and there’s always space for more. Happy Diwali!

    • Preethi

      I know right 🙂

  2. Theodore Anil D

    I too was thinking on this same thread of thought….
    I remember how I would go nuts in school days when one of the essay type questions would be on “Diwali” in the Hindi exam! I’d never celebrated this festival nor had the festive feel of it. Only the noise of the fireworks and beautiful colors in the night sky was all I knew about it.
    Only almost eight years down the line since those agonizing weeks of exam-fever (Hindi was a terror), I chanced on a book by a person who tried to get at the root of Indian traditions and customs. It was an eye opener. I was able to make sense of the seemingly nonsensical practices such as why the saying goes that it’s bad omen to pass from under the parted legs of another person (and guess what! The antidote for that is walk backwards immediately or when the first opportunity presents itself!).
    On Diwali, one of the main focuses is to clean the entire boundaries of ones possessions (physical – property as in houses compounds and such besides the movables including any article of clothing, furniture, books and even and especially monetary transaction records which means balancing the ledgers. This process helps in finding lost items during the past year, money is neither lent nor borrowed and the person is aware of his belongings and especially the past years profits or losses. The lit lamps signify diligent searching (spiritual connotation have an undertone most forget). This process consumes time. It is usually after the second harvest of the year and the beginning of the winter season.
    While the special formula used for the lamps ( now people make do with just about any oil), did have stimulating properties.
    The final step in the preparation is the dung smearing of the homes and verandas and having the female footprint walking into the house beginning at the gates.
    The mystical rituals hold the customs and traditions in place because it is common for people to fear the unknown.
    This festival seems to have evolved around the important ideology of cleanliness and preparation for the winter. Probably a lesson learned from the ants! (Kidding!) but we see it in nature.
    Ours is a land of myth, mysticism and superstition. On this note – each civilization has their version of the “festival of lights”. The Grecoroman civilization it comes in at the 25th of December which the Catholic Church later adapted to Christmas.
    But I believe even a visually impaired person understands the importance of light. Light is just not the physical element which elicits a response to stimuli, but something beyond.
    The Light did come; but darkness did not comprehend it… Those who seek shall find… To those who ask, it shall be given… And to those who knock, the door shall be opened!
    May the Light shine on us!

    • Preethi

      This can be a blog post in itself Theo 😀

  3. Rittika

    So interesting, Preethi.. would never have guessed!

    • Preethi

      Thank you So much Rittika. I think like someone said on my Instapage, question everything and you will be surprised with the findings.

  4. Suphala

    Very well written Preeti.. ☺️

    • Preethi

      Thank you so much Suphala 🙂