Its that time of the year again. Happy and Jolly! Time for celebrations, color and joy. Time for Holidays. Just like in the west Christmas is awaited all year long, Diwali holds a very special place in the Indian culture. If not ahead then definitely alongside holi and Durga Pooja.

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In India Diwali is one of those celebrations which symbolizes happiness, positivity and excitement which breaks any barriers of cast, creed or religion and brings everyone together. It is a 5 day celebration which also marks end of the harvest season in India and the beginning of winter. And India being an agriculturally rich country, on completion of the harvest season people bow in front of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity and seek blessing for a successful new financial year.

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Diwali has several interesting stories behind it. Hindus believe that when Lord Rama, a Hindu god, defeated evil king Ravana and came back home to Ayodhya with his beautiful wife Sita and brother Lakshman after 14 years of exile, it was a no moon day. So the city was dark but the people of Ayodhya wanted to welcome their king and they brightened up the whole city by lighting rows of oil lamps. Probably the reason Diwali is also called “the festival of lights”. Jains believe that on this day Lord Mahavira attained nirvana, the spiritual awakening. For Sikhs this marks as the day Guru Hargobind Ji, their sixth guru was freed of imprisonment. Whatever the story behind it Diwali symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. Victory of light over dark.

Celebrations:

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Diwali is celebrated with festive fireworks, strings of lights brightening up their houses, streets, towns and cities. People adorn in new colorful clothes and gather with families and friends to share food, laughter and love. Its a 5 day celebration which starts with spring cleaning the house and/or place of work. Second day also known as Dhanteras is when people decorate their houses with lamps and buy gifts for the family. Third day marks as the main Diwali day or also known as badi diwali. This day families gather, light fireworks, brighten up their houses with diyas and do lakshmi pooja. Fourth day is when people meet friends and families and share gifts and sweets. Fifth and the final day is when brothers meet their sisters. Sister puts tika (holy dot) on the brother’s forehead and they share love and gifts.

What to wear?

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Diwali is when people just go all out. Pull out their best attire and dress up in the most colorful and vibrant clothes and jewellry. Women and girls dress up in gorgeous sarees laced with gold and silver zari works, salwar kameez and lehengas in red, yellow and pink hues. Gold and silver jewelry with gems and stones. Glass or clay bangles studded with colorful stones and dress up the hair with fragrant strands of flowers. Men can feel free to pull out their colorful kurtas and vibrant scarves.

Food:

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Just like any Indian festival food is definitely one of the important and sought after part of the celebration. People start cooking for days in advance. Be it sweet delicacies like gulab jamun, kalakand, ras malai or laddu, pede or savory goodies like mathri, samosa or dahi vade, you are bound to see them in Indian kitchens on Diwali. Although not restricted to but most Indian families keep the meal completely vegetarian for meat is not a common sight on pooja days in Hindu kitchens. Paneer makhni, veg biryani, poori, pakoras and chole are some of the most common dishes cooked on this auspicious occasion. Following are a few helpful recipe links that you help you in the kitchen while cooking for Diwali.

 

Chawal ki Kheer (rice pudding) http://www.indiansimmer.com/2016/05/chawal-kheer-recipe.html

Jalebi http://www.indiansimmer.com/2012/03/jalebi-recipe-announcing-indian-food.html

Gulab Jamun Tart http://www.indiansimmer.com/2015/12/gulab-jamun-and-saffron-yogurt-tart.html

Instant Mysoor Pak http://www.indiansimmer.com/2016/09/instant-mysore-pak.html

Shahi Tukda http://www.indiansimmer.com/2016/03/thandai-shahi-tukda.html

Dal Makhni http://www.indiansimmer.com/2010/04/dal-makhani-lentils-at-its-perfection.html

Paneer Butter Masala http://www.indiansimmer.com/2016/10/paneer-butter-masala-recipe-awesomeness-butter-paneer.html

Masala Papad http://www.indiansimmer.com/2016/03/gluten-free-chickpea-crackers.html

Dahi Vada http://www.indiansimmer.com/2013/10/indian-dahi-vada-recipe.html

Kachori http://www.indiansimmer.com/2012/10/khasta-kachori-and-october-unprocessed.html

Methi Malai http://www.indiansimmer.com/2016/03/methi-mushroom-matar-malai.html

Poori http://www.indiansimmer.com/2010/10/simple-hindu-pooja-meal.html

 

May this Diwali bring you and your family all the joy, peace, love and prosperity. Happy Diwali!