Today my Indian coworkers brought in homemade delicacies to celebrate Diwali. We had various starters, Puri (fried, puffed, unleavened whole grain bread), 2 different biryanis (basmati rice dishes), vegetable curry, stuffed chili peppers, and lots of homemade deserts. It was a great success, everyone wanted it to become a tradition. Unfortunately I did not have regular camera with me but you can see a bunch of poorly taken photos here.
Diwali is perhaps the best known of the Indian festivals; it is celebrated throughout India, and in Indian communities throughout the world. It is also known as the “festival of lights”, for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. In urban areas, candles are substituted for diya. The celebration of the festival is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to the people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama’s homecoming, after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king; in Gujarat, the festival honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth; and in Bengal, it is associated with the goddess Kali. Everywhere, it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival; similarly, it heralds the approach of winter and the beginning of the sowing season.