Jamila Faizullabhoy and Zoe Mixon
Diwali is a huge event in India. It lasts 4 days and represents the start of a new year. This year Diwali is on October 19-23. During this festival, people decorate their house with lights and candles and lots of color. They also cleanse their house. Meaning they usually throw out items they don’t want or just clean in general. Diwali is a new beginning for every Indian.
Diwali also means really good food. Some of these sweet foods are jalibee (ju-lay-be), Gulab Jamun, Shankarpale, Kheer, Gajar Ka Halwa, Kajoo Barfi, Suji Halwa, Besan Ke Ladoo and Karanji are amongst the most popular during this occasion. Some popular savory foods are Channa (chick peas), Saag (spinach), Daal Maharani (three different daals mixed), Navratan Korma (mix vegetables and paneer), Khasta Aloo (curried potatoes), Malai Wali Subzi Kofta (diced cabbage and spinach balls), Nariyal Aur Badam Wale Chawal (Basmati rice with coconut), Pooris (fried soft round breads), and Raita (plain yoghurt with shredded raw onion and cucumber).
Diwali is when most people in India have firecrackers. They burst these firecrackers to get rid of bad spirits and bright the good spirits in. Firecracker are also one of their sources of light during the Diwali festivals.
Each day of the festival has a different meaning. It’s dedicated to celebrating wealth. People traditionally buy gold and new kitchen utensils on this day. Homes are also cleaned and readied to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, inside. The second day is known as Naraka Chaturdasi in south India or Choti Diwali (Little Diwali) in north India. Rangoli (Hindu folk art) is created, and people start bursting crackers. Lord Krishna and Goddess Kali are believed to have destroyed the demon Narakasura and freed 16,000 captive princesses on this day. Demon effigies are widely burned in Goa in celebration. On the third and main day, lots of small clay lamps (called diyas) and candles are lit and placed in houses, and fireworks are let off everywhere, giving Diwali its name of “Festival of Lights”. Families gather together and perform the Lakshmi Puja, and give each other gifts and sweets. On the fourth day, merchants open fresh accounts for the new year, and offer prayers. The fifth and last day, known as Bhai Duj, is dedicated to celebrating sisters. Brothers and sisters get together and share food, to honor their sibling relationship.
Diwali is one of the biggest shopping festivals in India. On the first day of Dhanteras it is considered good to buy gold and silver coins as well as jewelry. Utensils are also considered a good buy on this occasion. Electronics, gadgets, clothing, etc. people will buy for themselves or for other people for gifting purposes. It is also known to be a good time to invest.