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Festival Markets: Nostalgic Childhood Memories of Diwali Celebrations

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Image result for diwali images

Photo Courtesy:Internet :Holiday Spot.

Year 2018 Diwali comes knocking at our door. Whilst cleaning  the puja altar and preparing easy sweet treats, my cravings for the crunchy chakli, a lentil and spice based savoury and ghee laden karanji or khajjikaya bring back childhood memories. Did my old paternal aunt just knock at our door? I wish! Those were the fun-filled, aroma wafting days of a busy kitchen. Aunt used to help Mother to prepare big boxes of Diwali Faral treats. As children, we would patiently hide behind the kitchen doors, eager to hear the first call to taste the delicacies.

Here I share with you my home made Diwali Faral.

Home made Diwali treats

My friends and I ordered some dry fruit barfi and doodh pak online, keeping with the technology. We also visited our local store and bought some Faral off the shelves, that of course did not taste the same as home-made. Less cooking, less cleaning and no visit to the grocery stores are the choices of the day.  Weight watching, diabetes and BP have added to the lack lustre of relishing Diwali sweets, let alone preparing them.

Lighting of clay lamps and bursting crackers is an important part of the festival. Bright lamps signify light over darkness, good over evil. Traditionally clay lamps are made by the kumbhar potter communities. Life celebrated each person’s role in society and home – their ability, social involement and artistic qualities. Be it the simple kumbhar or the rich Bania merchant, the manual labourer or the wealthy household.

I rushed to buy some new clay lamps, traditionally old ones are discarded, another eco friendly concept. Roadside stalls, wheel carts, supermarket shelves, flower shops – all filled up every inch of space with different sizes and colours of these traditonal and modern diyas.  

As the sun goes down, rows of little oil filled diyas will beautify door entrances of every Hindu home, a symbolic representation to drive out negativity and darkness and illumine the home and heart. I filled out vibrant colours in the rangoli at the doorstep, inviting Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga – each one celebrated for wealth, learning and courage. I was once again reminded of childhood memories when mother, aunt and friends gathered together discussing Rangoli patterns, importance of placement of dots, lines and curves -it was fun-filled learning at the doorstep of each home.

Contrast that with shops in recent times, flooded with pre cut Rangoli plastic sheets, plastic flowers, crafted thermocol pieces to decorate the home. Creativity and business, a move away from the threshholds of home. Add Goggle websites and videos for up-to-date technology. Who needs an artistic neighbour or Aunt? Where is the time and interest? Demands of work pressure at office and nuclear families at home caves in to no involvement, no dedication and decreasing traditional spirit!

Rangoli –  Courtesy:Internet – happyshappy.

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Last but not the least – wearing new clothes and discarding old ones is customary. ”Declutter” – not just your home, body …but also your mind is the message given out through cultural knowledge. Wearing handmade ghagra or lengha and choli, bending over the sewing machine, learning how to thread the beads and laces on to the dress was another nostalgic learning moment, a time for bonding together with elder ladies of the house. A once a year gift to be treasured!

Instead, come visit the mall and revel in multi colours of the shelves and hanging sarees, see the extra-large street hoardings, newspaper advertisements spread over entire sheets during the pre Diwali shopping spree. Try buying online, there are dedicated FB pages. Designers are selling pre ordered clothing, that reaches every corner of India, and the world over, be it Toronto, or Melbourne. http://www.fabindia.com, http://www.utsavsarees.com, Naqshi, Chakor and Saree Speak on FB are some examples.

Fast cash and more incomes, internet connectivity and consumerism and other social pressures are fast changing the deep rooted traditions and symbolic meanings of the festive spirit. ‘Change is the only constant” and it applies here too.

Fancy dresses for Diwali sales

See here for an earlier post on Diwali

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

It’s time now to fill the oil in the lamps, light the diyas and prepare for arriving friends to share the sweets and festive warmth.

Happy Diwali to all my Hindu friends, family and blogging family. May you have prosperity, warmth and good health. May you share your goodwill and bounty with others.

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2018) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

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Festival Market:The Spot Festival, Sydney

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Festival Market:The Spot Festival, Sydney

Remember the nostalgic moments of countryside folk markets popular for food and street plays? Remember as a child you almost got lost in the crowds while buying an ice cream? Remember tapping to the live band and sharing some laughs with school friends at summer festival markets?

Well, recently Randwick, Sydney had it all at their popular festival market.

At the end of the summer (in the southern hemisphere in March) this event takes place annually. Randwick is a suburb in Sydney. It suddenly becomes a great cultural melting pot during this event. ‘The Spot Festival’ proudly attracts not just the local Aussies( as they are called locally), but Greeks, French, Indian, Sri Lankan, Eastern Europeans and Lebanese that make up part of Sydney’s cultural melange. It’s amazing and interesting to hear so many dialects just on one street in Sydney’s suburb!

Music, entertainment, food and craft stalls. The festival market has it all – Enjoy the outdoors in summer, as long as it lasts.

The Spot Festival Market, Sydney

Perouse street, a short walk down the main street of Randwick begins pulling in crowds from 11 am. The dress sense is casual and summery: T shirts, shorts, flowing skirts, a sun hat and eye shades and sandals or flip-flops. ‘The Spot’ building and adjoining restaurants and cafes become a convenient meeting place where a cacophony of voices rise with the growing crowd.

For details see here  http://www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/community/whats-on/the-spot-festival/about-the-spot-festival

The market boasted a wide array of local craft. Home made scented candles, jars and bottles of fruit jam and tomato pickle, exotic fragrant soaps – all made by women entrepreneurs. The packaging, hygiene and display were excellent, perfect for gifting a hamper or present! Other stalls had paintings, caricatures, French linen and Indian block print summer wear.

Exotic scented candles

Exotic things don’t come cheap. And cheap things don’t smell or taste so good! Go shop local ware.

A stage was set up at the end of one street. Jazz Blues, popular beats, Karaoke and stage plays kept the crowds entertained.

The opposite end of the street was a ‘children’s zone.’

Photo courtesy: easternsuburbsmums.com

Gleeful children enjoyed face painting, chasing rainbow soap bubbles, lifting Helium balloons into the air and licking candy, slushes and Ice creams. Loud, happy laughter filled the air, and colourful festoons hung above from the trees and shop terraces. However, for a little quiet time (if baby or pregnant mummy wanted a rest on a hot day!) there was a nappy changing room and a mobile ‘Library on Wheels’ filled with big bright children’s books.

Wait…don’t miss out on the food! That’s half the reason to be here. Fancy a burger and chips or Mexican burrito and salsa? The Turkish Gozleme (spinach and cheese pancake), Lebanese bread, South Asian sugarcane juice and Indian /Sri Lankan chicken rice and Naan stood up for the competition too.

A fun day full of vibrant atmosphere and colour. A day to tickle the palate with variety of cuisines. A day to enjoy a temperate summer. A day to meet up with friends and family for free live music and dance. Or, a day to sip an Expresso or Latte in the nearby cafes and write about the crowds.

Next year, BE THERE! The Spot Festival, Sydney 2019.