Side Project: DIY Diwali Lights

November 13 marks the start of Diwali this year.  To those not familiar, Diwali—also known as the ‘festival of lights’—is the most important event in the Hindu calendar.  It’s a five-day celebration of Lord Ram’s return after 14 years of exile, and to all practicing Hindus, it’s the biggest celebration of the year.  As a Roman Catholic and a neophyte to the oldest religion in the world, I admit that I do not know the full details of Diwali.  (Ask me about the nativity scene anytime, no problem.) What I do know, however, is that it’s a very special festival—comparable to a Christmas-and-New-Year combination to the western Christian world.  It’s a celebration that’s filled with family, friends, gifts, sweets, and most of all, beautiful lights.

decorate-for-diwali-clean-jars1 of 1.2 billion

There are over 1 billion people in India and around the world celebrating Diwali today.  And since my husband cannot share the occasion with his family and friends, I thought of surprising him with a festive home instead.  I decorated the house with some candles—40 to be exact.  It’s a simple DIY project that anyone can easily complete within a couple of hours and next-to-nothing expense.

What you’ll need:

- Glass jars in various sizes (image left)
- Decorative ribbons
- Glue (that works on glass)
- Sand
- Candles
- Wooden tray (optional)

Step 1: Clean the glass jars. For months, I kept and collected pasta sauce jars for this project.  To get rid of the sticky label, just soak the jars in boiling/hot water with soap and the labels will come right off.

Step 2: Pick your ribbons.  Opt for translucent ribbons or those with designs that will let the light thru.


Step 3: Glue on the ribbons to the glass jars.  Make sure not to put them so close to the lid that they might catch fire.


Step 4:  Add the sand and candles.  Once the glue is dry, pour enough sand in the jars to serve as the ‘bed’ of the candles.  Secure the candles by pressing them into the layer of sand; this way, the candles will stay fixed in one position inside the jars.


Step 5:  Arrange all the candle jars in a tray.  This step is optional but I personally feel that arranging the candles together heightens the effect.

Also keep in mind that some jars will crack or break if it gets too hot.  Make sure you do not leave the candles unattended.


And of course, the final and most important step:  Make sure that the gods are well lit.  The celebration is, after all, in their honour.  Happy Diwali, everyone!



May love, light, and peace fill your homes and travels in the coming year!

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