As the air gets crisper and the days get shorter, we’ll soon be approaching the darkest night of the fall season. On this night, though it may be dark outside, South-Asian Canadians all across the country will be
Diwali (or Deepawali, the “festival of lights”) is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn (northern hemisphere) or spring (southern hemisphere) every year. Diwali is one of the largest and brightest festivals in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of good over evil.*
Whether Diwali is an important tradition for you or you’re just hearing about it for the first time, it’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of your family and friends around this exciting cultural and culinary occasion. It’s time to taste some splendid sweets, light some calming candles and get your house ready for the festivities. This year, the Loblaw team has partnered with the masalamommas to help you get the most out of your Diwali celebration.
DIWALI 101: Creating the Ultimate Celebration
Sparkle and Shine
For many in Canada, spring is the time for a seasonal scrub of your house, but for those who celebrate Diwali, autumn brings the biggest clean-up of the year. Before having people over to eat and spend time together, it’s important to freshen up the household. This is part of a cleansing ritual to rid yourself of any unnecessary elements in your environment. You can even draw small footprints with rice flour in your house to indicate you’re awaiting the arrival of a Hindu goddess for an authentic Diwali touch.
Light up the night
One of the central themes of Diwali is the triumph of light over darkness. That’s why on this special night, one of the most common traditions is to light clay lanterns known as diyas. Brighten up your home with a variety of different diyas, available at most local Loblaws®, No Frills® and Real Canadian Superstore® locations. Using clay diyas to line your front steps is a warm way to welcome your guests. Some municipalities even permit fireworks on Diwali, but please ensure you use fireworks safely and only where permitted.
Dress your best
It’s time to throw your summer clothes in the closet and don some new looks this fall. Part of the Diwali tradition is to wear new clothes during the five day festival. Depending on how your family chooses to celebrate Diwali, new clothes could be anything from a stylish sari to some superb new sneakers. Make sure you know what your family has planned for the celebration as you’ll want to be dressed just right.
Never show up to a Diwali celebration empty handed. Small gifts and gestures are commonplace during the celebration, but it’s important to respect cultural traditions. Buying a selection of sweets and arranging them in a colourful box tied with ribbon is an easy way to add a personal DIY touch this Diwali. Diwali is traditionally an alcohol-free holiday, so while a bottle of wine seems like an easy hostess gift, it’s not appropriate in this case. Why not bring a selection of teas? Brands like Tea India have an array of traditional and chai teas, so you can experiment with different flavour pairings with sweet and savoury foods.
What could be any better than a clean house, new clothes and spending time with your family and friends? Maybe adding some scrumptious sweets into the mix – also known as mithais. There are hundreds of different types of Indian sweets, treats, custards and cakes. Try Diwali traditions like barfi, a condensed milk treat that can be made in many different varieties, and Laddu, a ball-shaped sweet cake.
Light up your guests’ taste buds with classic vegetarian Indian dishes including Mushroom Masala and Eggplant and Lentil Madras. Whether you pick a dish like a Vegetable-Tofu Korma is up to you, and either way, you’re sure to have a delicious Diwali dinner.