Diwali: The Festival of Lights

Food and Travel,Holidays,International Food
October 3, 2011

Discover India's most sacred holiday, then celebrate by feasting on our colorful menu of Indian favorites.

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Mark Boughton/styling: Teresa Blackburn
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For five days each fall, the entire country of India is soaked in a sea of rich colors, covered in strands of bright lights and inundated with mouth-watering aromas of curry and spice to celebrate Deepavali. For Hindus, this holiday is the year’s most significant celebration and represents the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

Each day of Deepavali celebrates a different Hindu god and their gifts to man. But the most scared and significant day is the third – Diwali, the festival of lights. Those of the Hindu faith will spend the entire day preparing for the arrival of the Goddess Lakshmi, who is celebrated in all three of her forms—respectively representing wealth, learning and the gods' treasury.

On Diwali, Hindus wake up before dawn, put on formal attire and leave their doors wide open for Lakshmi’s visit. Once night falls, candles are lit throughout homes and streets are set ablaze with fireworks, as it is believed Lakshmi will only visit places with light. But one of Diwali’s strongest (and our favorite) traditions is to make fabulous feasts of channa dal, curries, biriyani and other Indian delicacies. Families will then share these feasts with one another and deliver freshly made sweets to friends, neighbors and loved ones.

Join in on the celebration on October 26th, by gathering those you love, making the following Indian dishes and sharing the abundance you have been blessed with.

—By Emily Arno

channa dal

Creamy Split Peas (Channa Dal)

This dal is mildly spiced and creamy and can accompany just about any Indian-style dish.

Mango Raita

Enjoy this creamy, zesty raita as a condiment or side dish for your favorite Indian dish.