We love any excuse to celebrate with a good meal, so the Indian festival Diwali seems like a great opportunity to us. Especially as one day of the festival is traditionally dedicated to feasting!
Diwali is one of the most celebrated times of the year, with more than a billion people worldwide recognising its importance.
So what is Diwali and how can you celebrate it at your home?
Well, like we said, food is a good start. But, it is so much more than that. Read on to see how else you can celebrate this vibrant Indian festival in your home.
Light Up With Diwali - How To Enjoy The Festival Of Lights At Your Place
What Is Diwali?
Diwali, also known as the Festival of Light, takes place in either late October or early November. In India, the holiday comes in Autumn and marks the end of the summer harvest.
Families gather with loved ones to worship Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and good fortunes. Different regions mark the festival slightly differently. But the common theme is one of the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil, plus new beginnings.
The festival spans five days, and each day has a different activity. On the first day, people clean their homes in preparation. Day two is all about decorating. People create coloured patterns called Rangoli on the floor and decorate their homes with clay lamps. It is these lamps that give Diwali its name as the Festival of Lights. The name comes from the Sanskrit word dipavali, which means row of lights. Families line the clay lamps up outside their homes.
On day three, families gather to pray to Lakshmi and then enjoy a feast and fireworks. Days four and five are visiting days. Friends and relatives come on day four, bringing gifts and best wishes. And on day five, tradition sees brothers visiting their married sisters who make them a meal.
How To Celebrate Diwali In Your Home (With A Mediterranean Twist)
Diwali is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the amazing things in your life, connect with your loved ones and enjoy some delicious food.
So, here are our ideas for enjoying Diwali at your place, and adding a little bit of a Mediterranean twist, if you are so inclined!
Put together a feast
Food is a central part of traditional Diwali celebrations, so make it a central part of yours.
If you’d like to be traditional, then try some Indian dishes, particularly sweets and desserts which are a big part of the celebratory meal.
Otherwise, Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes are great ways to feed a crowd. Start your party with a platter or tasty dips and bread. Then move on to your main courses. You could choose a meal with chicken or beef, or choose vegetarian options. Vegetarian dishes make up a large part of Indian cuisine so including these would be traditional - and maybe an opportunity to try something new?
We have everything you need to whip up some delicious dishes in our shop. Stock up on our dips like hummus and pita bread, or grab some of our all-purpose spice Za’atar to add to your meats or vegetables. Need some Inspiration? Head over to our recipes page to be tempted and inspired.
While Diwali falls in Autumn in India, in New Zealand, it comes near the beginning of spring. So it’s the perfect time to do some spring cleaning in preparation for your Diwali feast. Cleaning isn’t everyone’s favourite job, but if you rope in the whole family and make a day of it, you’ll get things done quickly and might even have some fun.
One of the traditions of Diwali is to visit friends or family members. So why not make a date to catch up with some family or friends you haven’t seen for a while? Don’t forget to take a gift or some yummy food along with you.
Try some traditional crafts
If you are a bit crafty, then why not try creating your own Rangoli patterns or make some clay lamps?
Rangoli art is usually made using coloured sand or rice. You can buy coloured sand from craft stores or garden centres or try making your own using normal sand or rice and food dye. Clay lamps or diyas can be made from clay or salt dough and then painted. You could also buy some henna and create henna patterns on your hands.
You can find instructions and patterns for all of these activities online.
Head to a festival
If you’d like to see how communities around New Zealand celebrate Diwali, then see if there is a festival event near you. All the main centres like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch have festivals, and many smaller places do too.
Ready to prepare your Diwali feast? Head over to our shop to buy your ingredients.