Diwali – popularly known as the “Festival of Lights” – is not something that I have ever celebrated, nor known much about. Simply because a) I’m not Hindu (or Indian); b) I’m not even religious.
However, this year, I have a few Indian colleagues who suggested that we all dress up and celebrate Diwali with Indian cuisine for lunch. What a great idea! Luckily I work in a company that is all for us doing team-associated things in the office!
Almost all the girls dressed up in Sari’s (supplied by our Indian colleagues) and I had an Indian-style beach-dress type-of-thing laying around in my cupboard so I decided to put it to good use.
On the day – Tuesday 13th November – those dressing in Sari’s arrived early to be dressed, and by shortly after 9am we were all looking the part, complete with the “row of lamps” at the entrance to the office. One of our Indian colleagues brought in samoosas and Indian sweets for breakfast, so we all got stuck into those to start the day off.
The lunch was superb – I am a very big fan of Indian food, and while Murray eats it, he’s not a huge fan like I am (he finds it very heavy, which is a valid enough comment) which means that we don’t eat it very often. So, with naan, butter chicken, tikka chicken and a load of other delicious dishes on the boardroom table, I got stuck into my Indian feast!
Diwali – primarily a five day festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-November. It is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated by families taking part in traditional activities together in their homes. It involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. The lamps are kept on during the night and the house is cleaned, in order to make way for the goddess Lakshmi to feel welcome. Unfortunately for dog (and pet) owners, especially in suburban areas, fire crackers are lit because it is believed that they drive away evil spirits. (Summarised from Wikipedia.)
Another reason that fire crackers are burst is because it is believes that the fumes produced by them kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains.
However, with the negative of the fire crackers (for the pets), the lights are brilliant and should be enjoyed by everyone. It is popular to see many balconies adorned with strings of lights.