Recently I was introduce to a festival that is part of the heritage of India. This festival is called Diwali (pronounced Di-vali-i) and it celebrates the Hindu New Year and is a weeklong festival of light in India. It runs from October 24 to October 28th and one of the companies that produces India authentic Indian food for grocery stores around the country is sharing information about some of the traditions of this country. The company is Tandoor Chef, there food can be found a Whole Foods and King Soopers as well as other stores in the area. This year Tandoor Chef is helping the Deep Kiran Foundation, which helps to educate and care for impoverished children in remote villages of India. With each new Facebook fan, Tandoor Chef, the leader in all natural Indian frozen cuisine, is donating $1 to the foundation.
Some information about each day of this celebration has been passed along to me and includes a wonderful recipe that I will share with you.
Diwali is marked by five days of celebration. Each one has it’s own story, meaning and traditions:
The Days of Diwali
Day 1: Happy Dhan Teras
The first day of Diwali celebrates Lord Rama’s return from exile after defeating evil and restoring goodness and virtue. On Dhan Teras (day one), many prepare and shop for items symbolic of the week’s festivities. These include new clothes for the dawning year, candies for gifts and fireworks to scare away darkness and evil.
Day 2: Happy Naraka Chaturdas
This day pays homage to Lord Vishnu and his triumph over the demon Narakasura. Many celebrate this day by bathing before dawn or dusk, donning new clothes and lighting only a few candles or fireworks.
Day 3: Diwali!
This is India’s New Year’s Eve and the center of the week’s festivities and celebrations. This day is also known as Lakshmi Puja (after the Goddess of Light and Prosperity).
Many celebrate by cleaning their home, praying and lighting their homes and streets with every candle, lantern and firecracker available. It’s a time to welcome a new year with the hope of coming wealth, goodness and light — which is why Diwali is known as the
Festival of Lights.
Day 4: Happy Annakut
Annakut is a day for remembering Krishna’s defeat of evil and the protection of shepherds through lively and brightly colored decorations and feasts. This day is for giving thanks and looking forward to the promise of eating well throughout the new year.
Day 5: Happy Bhayiduj
This is a powerful day for many Indian siblings. Indian legend says brother and sister gods, Yama and Yami, visited each other to strengthen their familial bond, feast, exchange tokens of affection and make promises of care and protection. Many siblings follow these steps with each other on the final day of Diwali.
A Feast for Annakut
You can celebrate Annakut with a traditional Indian feast of your own. Here is a three course meal you can enjoy with loved ones to mark the special occasion:
Appetizer: Tandoor Chef Palak Paneer Samosa, which is creamy, spiced spinach and paneer cheese cooked in traditional style; stuffed into crispy pockets.
Main Course: Lamb Vindaloo with termeric-infused basmati rice is a traditional Indian meal to enjoy throughout any Diwali celebration. Enjoy the succulent lamb marinated and simmered in a rich, traditionally-spicy sauce; served with turmeric-infused basmati rice.
Dessert: Fruit Kheer (Fruit Pudding)
2 large Bananas (peeled and thinly sliced)
2 large santras (peeled into segments with pipe removed)
1/2 tsp saffron strands
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp salt
2(140 ml) cartons curd (plain yogurt)
Mix the sugar, pepper, chili powder, salt and curd together. Then, add the bananas and santras and mix together for 2 minutes. Dissolve the saffron in a tsp of water and sprinkle it over the dish before serving.
I would like to thank Renee and Lesley for passing this along to me. Everyone should check out TandoorChef.com and the Facebook.com/TandoorChef