Just when you thought Halloween was the time to roll out the sweets, think again. Diwali (also known as Divali, or Deepavali), one of the largest holidays in India, begins October 26th. Though it might not be as big as Thanksgiving or Easter here in the U.S., it’s the perfect excuse to host a get-together with friends and family.
A five-day festival of lights, Diwali is a festive time when celebrations full of excess are the norm. As tradition has it, families gather together and light small clay lamps to signify the triumph of good over evil. Those celebrating wear new clothes (often in bright colors and more extravagant than normal), put on colorful jewelry, and exchange cards. It is also a celebration of sweetness, and a time when plenty of treats are shared amongst friends.
Here are some ways you can celebrate this year:
• Light lots of candles. For one night, turn off the overhead lights and table lamps. Set the table with a variety of votives, or purchase some floating candles like these and stick them in a bowl with a colorful array of dahlias.
• Host a color-themed dinner. Ask guests to dress up in their brightest, dressy clothing, and be inspired by the colors of the rainbow. Start with an orange soup, like butternut squash, then a purple beet salad, for example. Even make sure what you serve to drink is colorful, like adding a splash of grape or cranberry juice to a flute of bubbly. Shop your fridge for colorful produce to use in lieu of flowers for your centerpiece.
• Set off fireworks in the backyard. They’re a beloved part of many modern-day Diwali celebrations.
• Make something sweet! Here are some of our favorite treats to celebrate the holiday. Not sure what to choose? Click here for the ultimate guide to India's regional sweets to see what's most popular.