For those of you who are not familiar with the term “Diwali,” it is one of the major religious festivals in India. Diwali celebration symbolizes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness. Homes are cleaned and decorated with rangoli, elaborate designs made of colored rice, sand, or flower petals. Diwali is a time for visiting near and dear ones, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes, feasting, setting off fireworks, and feeding the poor. It usually falls between mid-October to mid-November each year as per the lunar calendar. The date varies from year to year.
Diwali is India’s most loved and celebrated festival; it is imperative to teach our children the traditions of our culture. For those of us who do not live in India any longer, it is an even bigger responsibility to pass down these beautiful traditions of our culture to the next generation. When the learners are our young kids, the best way to teach them about our practice and culture is through hands-on experience. Also, the festival is the perfect time to get friends and loved ones together. Hence, I try to celebrate our festivals to the maximum possible degree of my capacity.
How to Plan a Diwali Party?
Preparation for the Diwali celebration begins months in advance with deep cleaning, cooking savory and sweet delicacies, and shopping for new clothes and other household stuff back home in India. I went all out to celebrate Diwali this year with my family and friends. I started preparing weeks in advance for the Diwali celebration as I needed to decide on several important things, from decor to food, this is how to get the party started.
- Décor and Setup
All the above key points are necessary to make an event run smoothly. I decided on whether this would be an indoor or outdoor party. Pinterest and various handles on Instagram helped me to finalize my vision. I began making lists, thinking of what I needed almost 12 weeks in advance, and ordering things for the party.
Diwali Celebration Décor for Outdoor Party
You are not hosting just any party on Diwali, so set the tone by creating the right ambiance for the celebration. Designate the space to make your guests well-aware of the party zones. November in South Louisiana usually is perfect for an outdoor setup, so I chose to make the decision accordingly. Diwali, the “Festival of Lights,” so we made a considerable effort to light up our backyard.
Hanging LED String Lights
The first project we started was hanging the LED string lighting in our backyard. We hung twelve strings of Feit Electric 48ft’ string lights all over the backyard to set the atmosphere and ambiance of the party. It took Akhil (My husband) a few failed attempts to figure out how to hang these long spans of lights. It is easier to hang for small spans, but he had to do some hard work for our long spans.
He used a wire braided plastic rope stretched for sturdy, permanent installation between all tie points. This wire rope was were held by wall mount hooks, thimbles, rope clamps, and turnbuckles at both ends. String lights are supported by this wire rope and tied to it using zip ties or wire strings. He used a pulley on one end with the rope passing over it to light the string. Kids would pull the string on his command as he tied each bulb to the wire rope. Then it just slid across the whole span. Search amazon for String light hanging kits, and you will find all things needed in one kit. Once he got the concept, we started buying parts from the local hardware stores. It took him four weekends to finish hanging all of the twelve strings of light.
Wrapping lights on Tree Trunks
Once Akhil was done hanging the string lights, he moved to the next phase of lighting up the backyard project, wrapping the tree trunks in the backyard with lights. To cover the trunks of the big trees, he used 12 mesh/net lights of ‘GE StayBright 8ft x 6ft. He decided to go with mesh/net lights instead of traditional Christmas string lights for the trunks of the Pine and other tall trees.
He used regular LED Christmas lights to wrap the trunk and branches of Sioux Crape Myrtle trees as part of the Diwali celebration decor. These trees have more branches and thin trunks compared to tall pine trees; holiday lights were easy to wrap around these tree trunks. Overall, all lights created a beautiful ambiance and helped to light the backyard’s dark areas as well.
Creating Back Drop for Food Tables
I had the vision to create a backdrop for the food display and tables during the Diwali celebration. To make that vision possible for the backdrop, we had to re-organize the area and move our girl’s swing set to our neighbor’s backyard (obviously with their permission). Once we cleared the site, we placed four 12 feet long 4in x 4in wooden posts, 10 feet apart, at the corner of the yard’s space to create an ‘L’ shape backdrop.
Then we nailed and tied a ‘Black Vinyl Coated Cable’ from one wooden post to another to hang the fabric. I used colorful tulle fabric to generate tulle curtains, adding more required color and further accentuating the ambiance. I repurposed the available tulle fabric I had from my Holi party décor. You can read my Holi post; you may find it interesting.
Then we added Twinkle Star 300 LED Window Curtain lights on the back of the tulle to illuminate the fabric. We used ten curtain lights for 60 feet of lighting for the backdrop. The tulle fabric created a stunning pattern when backlit during the Diwali celebration. Isn't it looking absolutely magical?
Further hung faux marigold garlands, white jasmine flowers, and fabric tassels, which I sourced from India through different vendors on Etsy. Any Diwali celebration decoration would be incomplete without these flowers and decorations.
How do I Enhance the Sitting Areas for Diwali celebration decor?
I use antique white-washed wooden trunks as coffee tables for one of the sitting areas. These trunks added so much character to the overall arrangement. Further to add a Diwali look, I placed small iron trays with cutwork on the sides to set with lamps, various clear cylindrical glass vases, wine glasses with floating candles, fresh flowers, candle votives, and petals on the antique trunks. On the middle trunk, I placed an oval brass tray set with colorful votive candle holders and fresh flower petals. Also placed tall lanterns on the sides of furniture groupings for added ambiance.
I had five groups of sitting areas of which two had fire pits. That allowed a perfect flow of guests to move between the various backyard areas. I did not have to rent any chairs and tables for this get-together. Suppose you do not have enough seating for your guest. In that case, there are party rental places from where additional chairs and tables can rent out if required.
What if the weather gets cool on the day of the Diwali celebration?
Since it was an outdoor party, I closely followed the weather prediction; as per the prediction, the weather was getting a bit chilly that evening. So, I arranged two seating areas with fire pits for guests to stay warm during the party. Also rented a heating lamp that morning from a party rental place for the guests’ comfort. Additionally, we advised all guests to dress warmly for an outside party on a chilly night.
Photo backdrop for a picture opportunity
Everyone loves to take pictures to capture the memories of the Diwali celebration. Hence, I tried to create a spot where my guests could create memories of this event. Colorful bright garlands of marigolds and cloth tassels adorned the tree branches as a festive backdrop. I also used a beautiful set of brass Urli pots with lotus cutwork on the edges of the pots. Which then set up with rose petals, flowers, and floating candles. Lotus cutwork brass Urlis added beautiful accent pieces to the picturesque backdrop. This corner added a different dimension to the whole setup.
Serve Food that Speaks for the Diwali Celebration!
Any Indian festival/party would be incomplete without food. Food is such an integral part of the celebration in India. When deciding the menu for what to serve, I considered that almost half of my guests would be non-Indian. I wanted to showcase how food is vital to Indian celebrations. So, the presentation was also an essential factor for me. Hence, my focus was not just on what but also on how to beautifully present the food.
But I am going to discuss the food in the next post, dedicated to only food. I would like to stop and rest this post here before it becomes a novel.
To Be Continued...
Products used in this Outdoor Diwali Celebration Decor
Below are direct amazon links to some of the products discussed in this outdoor Diwali decoration decor posting. Just click on the image of the item you are looking for in the table below. Alternatively, you may also visit the EYP Amazon shop to find all items in one place.