Old 06-12-2004, 12:05 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Mordor, Middle-earth
Posts: 1,299
How do you light a diya (ghee lamp)?

I have always been fascinated by ghee lamps (diyas). So, I went out and bought a diya, ghee, and cotton wicks. Actually I bought a lamp thingy - a few tiers, topped with a peacock. Reminds me of and resembles the sanjak of the Yezidis.

Now, how exactly do you light these things? I tried dipping the wicks into the liquid ghee, but then as the flame burned the thin part of the wick, the entire cotton ball started burning. I lit a few, and all burned half way and then went out.

Am I doing it right? How does one put ghee on the wick or dip the wick into the ghee? Do I use the solid part of the ghee or the liquid?


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Old 06-12-2004, 12:22 AM
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Decatur, Illinois, USA
Posts: 14,041
Any of this help...shed some light [nyuk nyuk]?

Cotton Wicks (Round) with Brass Diya

A pack of round bottomed wicks suited for traditional puja diyas or lamps. The round base is soaked in ghee or oil and the thinner end is used for lighting a flame.

< snip >

One end of the wick is simply soaked in a little ghee or oil and the other tip is lit.
Old 06-12-2004, 12:23 AM
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Iselin, NJ
Posts: 4,790
Too bad this links only to a poem, followed by some incoherent and contrarian comments.

Whereas this explains the symbolic value of the diya lamp. As does this in greater detail, while placing it in a larger and more ancient tradition in human history, of using fire or light to symbolize enlightenment or knowledge.

This contextualizes (but tersely) the diya lamp in the Arti ceremony.

None of these links spells out how to light the damn thing, though.

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