Known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali unites people from around the world in a celebration of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and hope over despair. Many South Asians celebrate and this year it is on October 19. No matter your faith, everyone can share in the joy of Diwali by coming together with family and friends.
Here, Anjum Choudhry Nayyar, award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of Masalamommas.com, gives her advice and tips for those celebrating for the first time this year.
Sharing the light. True to its name, Diwali is a time when those celebrating the occasion decorate their homes with lit diyas and other festive lights. Light is a symbol of unity and an invitation for everyone to share in the joy of the festival. If you’re attending a Diwali celebration, consider taking a personally designed diya or another light source as a gift to the host. It is also customary to celebrate with neighbours with some backyard fireworks.
Get cooking. A meatless celebration, Diwali is known for its sweets, snacks and savoury treats. Mithai and samosas are among the many food items that are typically prepared, along with sweets such as mohanthal and patishapta. These may sound difficult to make, but finding the ingredients is as easy as visiting your local Real Canadian Superstore or No Frills locations where you can pick up authentic South Asian brands along with the rest of your groceries at low prices.
Prepare your home. The lead up to Diwali includes a thorough cleansing of the home, so why not use it as an opportunity for a fall cleaning? Take inventory of what you need and what you can part with. It’s a Diwali ritual to clean and decorate with flowers and candles or even fresh paint. During Diwali, celebrants pay particular attention to the rangoli, which is the entrance to a home, and often decorate it with vibrant colours or flowers. A bright potted plant at your front door is the perfect Diwali addition.