Brighten Up Your Diwali (the Indian Festival of Lights)

Brighten up your Diwali (the Indian festival of lights)

The Indian festival ‘Deepavali’ (also commonly known as ‘Diwali’) symbolizes the victory of light over dark, good over evil and righteousness over treachery. Celebrated at a time of the year when ages ago Lord Ram, exemplifying the perfect human, had defeated king Ravana to rescue his wife and returned to his kingdom after 14 years. This festival of lights is marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition, but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness. There so much more to Diwali than what meets the eye…the slight winter chill, the happy faces, planning ahead for gifts, the excitement of shopping, Diwali greetings, lighting, decorations, but most importantly Diwali Parties..!

Diwali is the time when you will be surrounded by all your relatives and friends expecting a magnificent Diwali dinner because it’s Diwali and it’s time for awesome food. Now the dilemma is that whether you will enjoy your own party or be busy in the kitchen? Just the right solution for that is to hire a catering service and eat your way to enjoyment.

Thinking why just dinners why not host a Diwali party? Yes, why not…here are some exciting ideas to choose from for a Diwali theme party:

  1. Terrace Get-Together:

Diwali is the best time to organize a get-together on your terrace. Doesn’t sitting outdoors in the pleasant evening weather with string lights and diyas on the railings for illumination sound divine. You can have wrought-iron gazebo and cover it with creepers, flowers, fairy lights, and lots of garden ornaments to add to the effect. Also set-up seating under garden umbrellas and decorate them similarly. You could opt for Open Terrace parties or shamianas.  Light insect-repelling candles with citronella, lemongrass or lavender to keep bugs away.  The menu can be planned accordingly for instance, for beverages you could offer a selection of  mocktails and liquor along with some exclusive savory snacks and then a Diwali feast with: Biryani, Dal Makhani, Babycorn Korma, Raita, Assorted salad; Rabari with Gulab jamuns; Gajar ka halwa.

Apart from the food the music that you play at your party sets the mood of the party. It should go with the theme so keep out the raucous DJ beats and play instrumental or lounge tracks instead.

As Diwali is all about sharing your love flower pins of pretty silk blooms or wine glasses painted with pretty flower motifs can be given out as token of love to the guests.

  1. Desi Diwali

True to its name, it’s all desi and traditional. To make it so the décor consists of flower decoration. For instance adorn hallways and doors with marigolds, have bouquets of flower of your choice made and keep them in beautiful vases decorating the sitting area. Incense sticks among the flowers can be used to enhance fragrance. Light the house with diyas and candles use the traditional serial lights for exteriors.  When sending the invites, tell your guests it’s an ethnic do and the dress code is Indian wear.

Card games with a bit of fun-gambling are popular for Diwali. When it comes to the food, traditional north Indian food is the best bet. Even the beverages can consist of cool Indian drinks like lemonade or cocktails and mocktails. If you are not hiring a caterer, try a pot luck dinner. Not only will there be variety it will also ease the pressure. A set of hand painted diyas could be given away as a Diwali gift.

Apart from hosting dinners and parties another way to make this Diwali special is by preparing a dish exclusive to the occasion of Diwali for your loved ones. Here’s a simple dessert recipe you can try for your guests / family to relish on Diwali:

Recipe: Badam ka Halwa (Almond pudding)

Ingredients
1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight
1/3 cup milk
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
3 tbsp ghee

For the garnish
2 to 3 almonds, peeled and sliced

Method

  1. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the almonds. Leave aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain and remove the skins of the almonds.
  3. Purée the almonds with 4 tablespoons of milk to a smooth paste in a blender.
  4. Heat the ghee in a non-stick kadhai and add the almond purée. Cook over a slow flame while stirring continuously till the mixture turns golden brown (approx. 15 minutes).
  5. Boil together the remaining milk with 4 tablespoons of water, add to the almond mixture and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar and cardamom powder and cook till the sugar has dissolved, while stirring continuously.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with the almonds.

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