Diwali, the Indian “Festival of Lights,” is a joyful five day celebration with candles, finecuisine, and other traditional customs marking the New Year on the Hindu lunar calendar. Begun in ancient India as a harvest festival and celebrated this year on November 13th, it is now observed in India and other parts of the world as a triumph of good over evil, light over darkness, and a renewal for starting life afresh as revelers exalt transcendence of the physical body and honor their “Inner Light.”
Derived from Deepawali (a row of lamps), the Diwali holiday centers on the new moon in Kartik, the Hindu month corresponding to October and November. Each of the five days of Diwali (Dhan Teras, Naraka Chaturdasi, Diwali, Padwa, and Bhayiduj) is distinguished with its own set of rituals rooted in history and mythology. Origins of the festival vary in India, but the overall theme consists of the triumph of good over evil. To celebrate, candles and fireworks are lit, regional food and sweets are indulged, and many other activities are engaged.
Candles & Fireworks
As a festival of lights, small clay lamps called diyas are central to Diwali and are lit for both decorative and ceremonial purposes to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness. Coming in a variety of sizes and designs, they are an essential element to any Diwali celebration. Fireworks also mark the tradition, adding color, fun, and excitement to nighttime festivities. This constant brilliance is a way for practitioners to express gratitude for health and prosperity gained year-round.
Among the many delicacies common to Diwali are these delicious main dishes and desserts: Cabbage ‘n Carrot Bhujia, Wheat Laddu, Karanji, Malpua, and Chick Peas and Potatoes Curry. Recipes can be found at the links below.
Card-Playing, Gift-Exchanging, and Other Traditions
Other traditions associated with Diwali include: card-playing and gambling, said to favor those who played with a prosperous new year; gift exchanging as a way to hasten the feeling of love and affection; creating Rangoli, traditional Indian folk art involving rich, vibrant colors and unique patterns, usually made on the floor; plus many others.
Create your own custom and celebrate this illuminating festival by sending someone a Happy Diwali postcard. It’s a thoughtful way to light up their holiday, and everyone who receives this candlelit card will be touched by your best wishes!Cabbage ‘n Carrot Bhujia http://www.diwalifestival.org/recipes-for-diwali.html#cabbage-carrot-bhujia Wheat Laddu http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes.html#wheat-laddu Karanji http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes.html#karanji Malpua http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes.html#malpua Chick Peas and Potatoes Curry http://www.diwalifestival.org/diwali-recipes1.html#potatoes-curry