Diwali celebrations and shenanigans

Vibrant Diwali festival is full of sparkling colour’s, which celebrates life and family. Five days of sheer bliss and alluring aromatic indulgences with near and dear ones. The first day Dhanteras celebrations are followed by Narak-Chaturdarshi or Chhoti Diwali hullaballoo. On this particular day, people make it a point to get up early and each member of the family is expected to have an early tailabhyangam (oil-bath) and later this is followed-up by aromatic uptan application to cleanse the body and calm the soul with herbs (like turmeric) that are scented with essential oils.

In the good-old-days, matriarch of the household was in command and demanded each member to finish the elaborate bathing ritual and dress up in their new clothes bright and early.  Once ready post-bath; the womenfolk of the household decorated the courtyards with rangoli’s (drawing traditional motifs with colorful powders.) Now, they have that the festive stage is set and traditional puja thali decorated and lit;  worship of Lord Krishna’s victory over evil wicked demon king Narakasur ensues. Post puja the sweet and savoury indulgences start.

Legend of Narak-Chaturdashi- The second day of Diwali is dedicated to the victory of Lord Krishna over the wicked demon king Narakasur. Narakasura was the son of Bhoomi God and despite of the righteous parentage, he possessed devilish tendencies. Ancient scriptures have it that Naraka after a severe penance had acquired immense powers due to a blessing given by Lord Brahma. Under his rule everyone suffered a lot of hardship and torture. Also, Narakasura attacked the heavens and got hold of the army of elephants of Lord Indra. In his arrogance he even snatched away the splendid earrings of Mother Goddess Aditi who was a relative of Lord Krishna’s wife, Satyabhama. Narakasur imprisoned sixteen thousand daughters of Gods and saints of marriageable age in his harem, and intended to marry them. This created chaos everywhere. When Lord Krishna learnt about Narakasur’s evil deeds, he decided to destroy him. On hearing this Satyabhama, Lord Krishna’s wife, took this task upon herself and with his help killed the demon in the early hours of the fourteenth day of the dark half of Ashvin.  The women imprisoned by the demon were liberated.  As a symbol of the victory Lord Krishna smeared his own forehead with the demon’s blood. On his return, the womenfolk massaged his body with scented oils and gave him a good bath to wash away the filth.  Since, then the custom of taking a bath before sunrise on this day has become a traditional practice.

In South India before sunrise people break a bitter fruit that represents the head of the demon king that was smashed by Lord Krishna and apply a mixture of kumkum (a red powder applied on foreheads generally by women) and oil on their foreheads; to re-live the glorious victory of good over evil. They then have an oil bath using sandalwood paste.

After Narak-Chaturdashi, Laxmipujan is performed on the third day of Diwali.  As the story goes on this particular day Goddess Laxmi emerged from the ocean of milk called the ksheersagar. She carried with her wealth and prosperity blessings for mankind. This emergence of Goddess Laxmi is celebrated with great splendor and grandeur. A lot of people believe that the Goddess of prosperity and good fortune visits the homes of devotees on this day after sunset. Hence, they perform the puja at the stroke of midnight!

For the following alluring aromatic Diwali delights, there would be no need to burn the mid night oil. Try out the dishy dishes!

Phuljari Kebab

SantraBarfi with Lauki


True Diwali Spirit

Commonly known as the festival of lights, Diwali has lost its true sheen and real meaning, along the way. The core meaning of it is triumph of good over evil. Deepawali or Diwali means the victory of righteousness by defeating the spiritual darkness. The bigger take away lesson in it would be being virtuous and doing good by defeating the evil or negatives we all have within our own selves. 5 Day Diwali celebrations in India are popularly celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

  • In the northern regions of India, the Diwali celebration is associated with return of Lord Rama to Ayodha after defeating demon Ravana.
  • In the Southern regions of India, Diwali commemorates the triumph of Lord Krishna over wicked – Narakasura.
  • To the Jain population, Diwali is celebrated to mark the spiritual triumph of Lord Mahavera who attained Nirvana.

People start Diwali preparations in advance and it beings with cleaning and decorating their household’s weeks in advance. It is believed Goddess of wealth likes cleanliness and roams the earth on festive days and enters only those households that are neat, clean and very well illuminated. Thus every household does their best to clean the house top to bottom and decorate it with flowers and rainbow coloured rangolis. Marigold flower torans adorn the main gate of most homes and lit-diyas are generally placed uniformly on each side of the main door, to attract wealth and prosperity.

First day of Diwali – Dhanteras: On this day Goddess Lakshmi who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshiped. A very famous story connected to Dhanteras – once there was this King called Hima who was destined to die young by a snakebite. However, his wife saved his life. The day he was destined to die, Hima’s wife did not allow him to sleep and she blocked his room by heaps of gold ornaments. She lit a million diyas all around the house and inside his room such that bright lights dazzled reflecting more light of the gold ornaments as well. Yama – the God of death came disguised as a serpent to take Hima’s life but the brightness of diyas and the dazzle of the gold ornaments prevented Yama from entering the room. He fell asleep outside and in the morning left, sparing King Hima’s life. In remembrance of this story, people pay their homage to Yama on Dhanteras which is also known as Yamadeepdaan.

This day is considered very auspicious and people buy gold, silver and jewels and businesses start their new accounting year. People also buy new cars, offices and utensils on this day.  Trying out these recipes on new utensils bought that day seems only fair. Try out the suggestions listed below…

Stuffed Gulab Jamun

Gajar Halwa Burfi

Mawa Gujiya

Our innovative Diwali treats!

Well, yet another Diwali has come and gone, but the taste of our innovative Diwali treats lingers on! The festivities had begun with full gusto and they ended with a keen competition amongst four teams that cooked to their hearts’ content for the Innovation Station. Began the week with a havan, and it was really peaceful and tranquil after the chants and prayers got over.
Then, there was this super duper excitement for all Khazanaites regarding the Innovation Station Competition on Tuesday. So it was 4 teams, 2 hours each and 3 dishes each…quite challenging, I must say it was more exciting to select the winner among
st all the creativity dished out before me! All the teams were in full form to make their dishes and it was quite difficult to decide the winners. But the team that was a stand-out performer of course won! They made a starter called Soya and Suran ka Jhatka. The main course was Jugalbandhi Tokri with Kedegree and the dessert was Pachim Falooda Mousse. Team members – Satyaki Mukherjee, Dilpreet Kohli, Nisha Dingra, Sheetal Kadam and Rohit Mangela – well done all, and congratulations!
You can see the creations in the pictures and in the same space I will be sharing their recipes soon. Diwali was different this year around and I hope my team keeps honing their skills all through the coming year.
So with all this fun and amazing food set before us, how about using these traditional recipes for the weekend guests?

Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor