As we move into autumn, some of you may already be thinking about Christmas. But book flights to India for the 26th October and you won’t have to wait that long for a religious celebration that brings families together with light, food, gifts and prayer. Get ready for Diwali in India – where the gods are always celebrated in style.
Also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, Diwali is one of the most important festivals in India and Nepal. Observed in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, it commemorates the victory of good over evil, in some colourful and delicious ways…
Over the five days of the festival, people clean their houses from top to toe and open up their windows to welcome Laksmi, the Hindu goddess of fortune. Masses and masses of candles and lamps are lit to greet her.
For Hindus, darkness represents ignorance and light knowledge. So on the night of Diwali, the abundance of light also symbolises the destruction of every negative aspect of human beings: evil, violence, lust, greed, bigotry, suffering, and so on.
Rather than meals, families enjoy feasts. Days before Diwali, people make delicacies in preparation. These include all manner of sweets and crackers to make your dentist fearful. For example, Badam Phirni is made of almond, rice flour and milk. Or Gulab Jamun, which are soft balls, dipped in sugar syrup for a whole night.
But the festival also features some mouthwatering savoury vegetarian dishes. Potato Dahiwad, which contains a range of chilies and spices, Paneer Bagh-e-bahar with pineapple, cashewnut and cream, and Peanut Pakodi – to name a few.
Family and friends exchange all kinds of presents. Neighbours usually give each other sweets, including favourites like barfis, gulab jamuns, laddoos, or jalebis, all wrapped up in pretty boxes.
Other gifts usually include chocolates, clothes, home ware, and jewelry for women. But along with all these presents comes the gift of good will to one another.
Although Laksmi and Ganesh are worshipped throughout India during Diwali, other Gods also get their fair share of attention, depending on the region. For example, in the North, people pray to Ram and Gobardhana. Whereas in Bengal people usually worship the Goddess Kali.
Worship happens during the evening before the highlight of the festival: fireworks. All over India the noise of these fireworks interrupts the peace of the night in a most spectacular way that’s definitely worth a photograph…
Check out our Dreamguides for more info on Diwali and India.
Will you be celebrating Diwali this year? Tell us about what presents and sweets your friends and family will be lucky enough to receive…