Diwali is a festival of food, fun and lights! For this Diwali, explore our tantalizing Indian recipes. We’ve gathered together three favorites below, with many more on our website. For people throughout India, Diwali is a major festival equal to Christmas and Hanukkah. It signifies the age-old conviction and promise that good will always emerge victorious over evil.
The story at the center of Diwali tells about Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana who were exiled from their homeland. During this time, the evil king, Ravana, kidnapped Sita. After undergoing tremendous hardship, Rama eventually rescues Sita from the nefarious clutches of Ravana. Together, Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana journey back to their kingdom of Ayodhya. It is said that they returned during the new moon after spending 14 years in exile. Every village they passed on their way to Ayodhya were lit with oil lamps to welcome the wayfarers and guide them back to their kingdom.
Today, people in India—and throughout the world—celebrate Diwali by lighting oil lamps, candles, and strings of lights in the streets and in their houses to metaphorically signify that darkness will always be dispelled by light.
As a little girl, I remember adorning my house with strings of fresh Marigold flowers on the day of Diwali, dressing up in new clothes (often received as a special Diwali gift from my maternal grandmother), and making Rangolis (intricate designs created on the floor using a myriad of colored powders and flowers).
My neighborhood would be bathed in a resplendent iridescence from the strings of lights covering what appeared to be every square inch of every house. All the neighbors would come outside to exchange warm, celebratory hugs with kind wishes of good health and fortune for each other and their families.
It seemed as if on Diwali day, everyone made a tacit pact with themselves to embrace the most generous and loving side of themselves and each other, and they would share benign goodness with the world around them.
Diwali is often celebrated by exchanging gifts of food and clothing with our family members and close relations. The gifts are given with blessings and good wishes for a prosperous year with an abundance of good health. On a community level, people often perform acts of kindness and charity for those that are less fortunate. Copious sweets are shared and eaten as a traditional way of celebrating auspicious events.
In the spirit of Diwali, let’s benefit from the message of this holiday by acting with gentle consideration for the needs and difficulties of others. Let’s strive to make our home, communities, and the world epicenters of love and kindness.
On this festive occasion, prepare delicious, vegetarian food and share it with your loved ones, remembering to hug them often while you spend time in delightful conversation.
~ Archana Khanna for the Veggie Fest Team