Diwali, diyas, potters

Diwali diyas

The tradition of pottery is one of the oldest crafts of India. For generations people have been lighting their houses with earthen diyas (oil lamp) during Diwali, the festival of lights. Diya automatically relates to Diwali, which is the time of the year to buy lamps made from clay. Lighting a diya, symbolises removing darkness, and victory good over evil, knowledge over ignorance. Moreover, it is believed that the earthen diya is essential to welcome the goddess of wealth, Laxmi.
Nowadays people are increasingly buying electric strings of lights, floating candles and perfumed wax lights for Diwali replacing the simple earthen oil lamp.


Diyas being made with potter wheel – Image source: Wikimedia Commons
The production of kulhars Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Enjoying chai and lassis in kulhars, a clay cup which is disposable and harmless for the environment, are somewhat keeping the pottery art alive. However, in order for the potters to make the rest of the year pass by relatively comfortable, they mainly depend on the sales of diyas around Diwali time.

The demand of earthen utensils such as pots and vessels has been falling every year, which is slowly leading to the disappearance of the craft. However, various initiatives and attempts are being made, to keep the ancient craft alive through heritage tours + workshops, such as in Delhi and design interventions in collaboration with the craft sector. If you are interested in masterclasses or residencies in Indian pottery, do get in touch with us!

Cheesemaker created using various crafts including pottery. By Studio Makkink and Bey in collaboration with Indian craftsmen