Diwali, also known as the “Festival of lights” and one of the most important and delightful holidays in India is almost upon us. It is a celebration that marks the Hindu New Year. As I pen my best wishes for Diwali, people all over India are preparing for the festivities to celebrate with family and friends.
Our ancient traditions from hundreds and thousands of years ago are being remembered at this special time. Indians celebrate with family gatherings, cleaning and decorating their homes with flowers and lights, festive fireworks, sharing of sweets and worship to Lakshmi, also known as the Goddess of Wealth. Some believe that Lakshmi wanders on Diwali day looking for homes where she will be welcomed. People light clay lamps outside their homes to protect them from spiritual darkness. While the holiday has grown to be celebrated by people all over India regardless of their faith, one common thread holds true: that the festival represents the victory of good over evil. Depending on where people live, the interpretation of the origination of Diwali differs.
For example, in northern India people believe that King Rama’s return to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana by lighting rows of clay lamps is the origin for Diwali. Many people also join in on the Diwali spirit by gambling in the hope that it will bring them good luck and prosperity in the New Year. So light up some fireworks and celebrate Diwali!
My very vivid memories of Diwali in India are for all the great food my mom prepared and all the fun fireworks my papa bought for me. I used to love helping my mom make the cotton wicks for the clay lamps. Lining up the lamps around the house was a lot of fun and the memory of the glow of those lamps still warms my heart.
With that same warmth, everyone at Monsoon Kitchens and I wish you and your family a very happy Diwali. To help you celebrate this year, our chef has created some simple menus and recipes.