On this festive spirit of Diwali, we decided to do a combined post!
Growing up, I don’t think there was anyone who did not get excited with Diwali. And we celebrated some of our best Diwali’s back home. Bursting crackers for at least a week, and on the day of Diwali itself we were all up way past midnight, dustbins being blown up to the roofs, dressing up for the annual party, and hogging on the pakodas. And no Diwali was ever complete, with at least one aunty trying to kill the rest of us.
It’s Diwali! The festival of lights, Diwali is literally the Indian New Year. Even though I grew up in Thailand, Diwali was probably the biggest festival for us. New clothes, fire crackers, endless sweets, pujas (prayers) and parties with families and friends made Diwali so special. In the US, I lost touch with Diwali. I only made it to the Shiva temple in Parma, Ohio and that too for may be 5 minutes. After 9 years I am having the chance to celebrate Diwali again and that too in India itself. I can’t explain my excitement. What makes it even more special is that this Diwali is being celebrated with my parents and fiancé.
Diwali usually consists of families conducting festivities for 5 days. These rituals include making rangolis (colorful floor paintings made by using colored powder), lighting diyas (mini lanterns), bursting crackers is probably the diwali tradition I missed the most. Lighting them and sprinting for my life was my mantra for crackers. Yesterday, I had my fair share of lighting sparkles, bombs, and rockets and then running:) It was such a small thing, but one that made me so happy.
I look forward to spending the next few days with family-bursting more crackers, eating more sweets, and lighting up those lights! It’s these similar pleasures that make it so memorable.
I absolutely love Diwali and Holi, and I guess it’s my dad’s enthusiasm for both the festivals that has rubbed off on me to. I remember always going shopping for crackers with him a week or so before Diwali. Lighting up houses is universal with Diwali, everyone put ups lights and diyas. Oh, and bursting crackers, as it is meant to ward off evil spirits. In addition to that people clean their houses, make sweets and elaborate snacks. My mom makes the most amazing besan ka ladoos during Diwali, mine just don’t turn out like hers. Here in India, the decorations are on a larger scale, and in Maharashtra, households put up aakash-kandils, which is a lantern of sorts and make elaborate rangolis. The snacks as well are prepared to last at least a month, and are these days usually prepared by a cook. Preparations this year included: sev, chakli, shankar paras, and ladoos.
Back home, on the day of Diwali itself, we would do Lakshmi puja in the evening, and as after we would just be running in and out bursting crackers, mom would always prepare a snacks dinner. Chole bhatures, tikkis, samosas, which were not only quick to eat but were also ideal to grab and go.
Here, at my in-laws, at least one meal is supposed to be puran poli, and since it is quite heavy, we decided to have it for lunch. A full plate is shown to the deities in the temple at home, and to the photos of parents or grandparents who have passed away. Dinner, however turned out to be quite a heavy affair as well, since we decided to go out for a thali meal.
I do miss the firecrackers of Thailand. Used to love pop, dragon eggs, soccer and triangle bombs, none of which we get here. The names here are funny; chatachat, Indian Ocean, flower couple romance and Red Fort to name a few. And they are most unpredictable, both with the sound they’ll produce and the direction they might fly off in.
And I definitely miss Diwali back home with my parents and brother, and the lovely gaon ki goris who I grew up with, and with whom I have celebrated my best Diwalis.