Tag Archives: Diwali

Festival Markets:Nostalgic 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 doing the ritualistic cleaning of the puja altar and preparing sweet treats, my mind races back to childhood memories. Days ahead, my mother used to laboriously prepare big containers of crunchy chakli, a lentil and spice based savoury, murmura or pohe chivda and some karanji (coconut and jaggery filled pockets made with flour. Did my paternal aunt just knock at our door? I wish! Ahh..she was an expert, and humble lady who religiously came every Diwali to help Mother prepare Diwali Faral treats. As children, we would patiently hide behind the kitchen doors, taking in the aroma lingering in the air and hear the clatter of utensils and spoons in the kitchen,their exchange of friendly conversations and our ears tuned to hear the first call to taste these delicacies.

Here are some home made Diwali treats locally known as faral.

Home made Diwali treats

Time flies, bringing changes! This year my friends and I ordered some dry fruit barfi and doodh pak online, reminiscing the old time kitchen buzz. Plenty of faral on the local store shelves too, that have created opportunities for women entrepeuners to support themselves. This choice may be better than the factory packaged stuff. As more women are working outside home and for longer hours, a paradigm shift sees less time for cooking, cleaning, shopping at the end of their busy days. Other lifestyle changes include weight watching, diabetes and BP as people exercise less and use more gadjets at home.

Lack lustre relishing of Diwali sweets? Both yes and no.

Lighting of clay lamps and bursting crackers is an important part of this festival. It signifies light over darkness, good over evil. Traditionally clay lamps are made by the kumbhar the potter community, such a meaningful inclusive way of celebrating each person’s role in society and recognizing their artistic qualities.

Promptly, a visit to the market to buy new clay lamps each year,  old ones are discarded. Change is all over – push carts and vendor boys prompt one to buy traditional brown ones and modern colourful diyas in red, gold, bright green hues, decorated with glitter. Care for fancy, fairy, reuseable electric light strings? Hmmm… no oil, no cotton wicks, no support to social community!  

Changes are also in the beautiful rangoli patterns. These are drawn on floor at door entrances using rice powder and coloured powders, a gateway to creativity and bonding of family or friends to participate in the drawings. Childhood days were fun as we used to (almost) compete with neighbours who would be more artistic or who would wake up at dawn and complete the design. Later in the day we walked to each other’s homes to see how well the dots and lines were placed, which colour combinations were effective, how big or small was the rangoli. 

Contrast that with modern times: pre- cut Rangoli plastic sheets, plastic flowers, sticker Rangoli. Where is all that fun and creativity? No technology can fill the vacuum created by lack of social gatherings! Where are those discussions at the table for how to celebrate the festival and whom to visit and share our cultural heritage with? I moan…almost a death of tradition and culture as one moves ahead with technology and the women stepping out of the threshold.  

 Courtesy: happyshappy. Rangoli design

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Mother used to spend hours on her rustic Usha sewing machine, bending over attach lace or frills to our ONE yearly handmade ghagra or lengha. Diwali is a time to don a new garment, declutter and discard older ones. It used to be our time to choose a particular cloth material, learn to sew beads and tassels, learn to iron hem lines and even help Mother to thread the needle (at times as eyes grew weak). Great bondings, cherished gift of a sewn dress!

Well, you have realized now the ease of online shopping or going to the mall. Money comes as a plastic card – just swipe and transfer. Or head to your nearest apparel store, pret -a -porter-Fab India, Biba, Prakriti, Utsav sarees, Naqshi.

Is it just me who feels this societal change and diminishing interests in traditions and culture? ‘Change is the only constant’ …is the Law of Nature. See here for another post on Diwali.

What are your views? How do you celebrate Diwali wherever you live? 

Fancy dresses for Diwali sales

   May this Diwali bring cheer, Light and       prosperity to all those celebrating.           

All content and images copyright belong to Veena S. (2013 -2020) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.comPlease see copyright disclaimer.

 

World Palate Recipes: Dry Fruits Barfi (Noughat)

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Once again it’s the festival of lights – Deepavali. All over India homes, shops and streets are decked in bright colour, tinkling lights, and garlands of marigold flowers. The festival celebrates ‘light over darkness’ and rejuvenating ourselves with knowledge. People lit diya or mud lamps in their homes and offices, symbolically to spread light.

Rangoli floor design

Indulgence in sweets mithai comes only naturally as friends and family  visit each other exchanging traditional home made sweets like Ladoo, Karanji, Doodh pak, Kalakand, Gulab Jamun. In recent times, fusion food followers are making fresh efforts to introduce new ingredients and recipes. Rose water, figs, khoya and baadam, chocolate, avocado and variety of nuts give a twist to the traditional recipes.

Here is a quick, easy and nutritious recipe using dry fruits.

Dry fruit Barfi

Ingredients

30 gms of each – almonds, figs, dates, pistachio, cashew nut ..and any other nut you may wish to introduce

20 gms roasted sesame seeds

10 gms poppy seeds or khus khus

2 spoons ghee or clarified butter

2 spoons wheat flour (optional)

Method

Finely chop the figs, dates and lightly soak them in very few drops of water for about 5-10 mins.

Coarse grind almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts and roasted sesame seeds – all separately! Keep aside in small separate portions.

Put a large pan on the burner to warm, add ghee and stir as it melts. Add the flour and roast till it gives aroma. Add in the dry fruits and nut mixture. Keep aside some pistachio powder and khus khus for garnish. Stir the mixture till all is well coated and mixed. Remove from burner and roll into cylindrical shape tightly. Tie a plastic wrap or aluminium foil and refrigerate.

Once cooled, remove from wrap. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Roll the edges with khus khus. Decorate on plate. (Optional – coat with silver edible foil if you wish, adds a festive touch).

Happy Deepavali. Enjoy the treats with your dear ones.

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2017) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

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Festive Market: Light up for Deepavali

Yes, it’s Deepavali or Diwali once again. Streets and shops are brimming with latest sarees, dresses, lamps, festive puja items, fruit and mithai and electronics. Sale! sale! Glittering gold, red and green twinkling lights and confetti decorate shop windows. There’s hurry (and pressure) to buy the latest designs – be it bumper TV or iphone….or fashion wear! Festive markets are so colourful and fun.

Deepavali, a Hindu festival of lights (deepa) is celebrated all over India with much pomp. Traditionally, festive lamps or diyas, made from baked mud /clay are lit and kept at door entrances. Large colourful Rangoli or Kolam designs dot the floor spaces at entrances of homes and shops, boxes of mithai and meva arranged in colourful baskets, boxes laced with golden trimmings sit on store shelves awaiting customers. At home, every kitchen is given a good scrub. Preparation for making traditional sweets and savoury like sev, ladoo, chakli, halwa, chirote, namkeen begins days earlier. And on the last day…the noise and sparks from fire crackers and sparklers fill the streets.

For a recipe of Besan Ladoo see here.

No wonder, this family festival brings crowds (literally) to the streets. Here are a few photos that to brighten your mood and give you a glimpse the festival.

Diwali items for sale at street Bazaar

Diwali items for sale at street Bazaar

Colourful paper lanterns for sale at street kiosk

Colourful paper lanterns for sale at street kiosk

Here are the festive mud /clay lamps that add colour and bring in ‘light’ to the doorstep.

Festive Diyas or lamps

Festive Diyas or lamps

Many stories about the festival revolve around Lord Rama, the fight of good over evil, light and wisdom over darkness. The significance of lighting the lamps itself is symbolic of removing darkness and negativity from our life and the colours of Rangoli symbolize role of colour in our daily activity.

Here is a small compilation on books, stories and Rangoli:

At home, I enjoyed making simple paper lanterns or Kandil. Soon it will be time to decorate home with earthen lamps, colourful Rangoli and prepare gift plates and Kandil for distribution to friends and family.

Home made paper lanterns

Home made paper lanterns

At centres with disabled or mentally challenged children, economically low /troubled women, jail interns and other organizations teach and sell diyas and kandil to support such groups. It’s a time to light up THEIR life, by making small sacrifices and reaching out to those in need.

 

Beautiful Aakash Kandil. Made by students of Vishwas Special School for Mentally challenged (Thane). Contact: +91.9699699486

Beautiful Aakash Kandil. Made by students of Vishwas Special School for Mentally challenged (Thane). Contact: +91.9699699486

 

                                  Happy Diwali to all my friends who are celebrating.

Don’t forget to leave your comments on how you spent Diwali.

Colourful Rangoli floor design

Colourful Rangoli floor design

 

All content and images copyright Veena S. (2013 -2016) http://www.walktomarket.wordpress.com. Please see copyright disclaimer

World Palate Recipes- Sweet Besan Ladoos for Deepavali

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Diwali-Celebration-photo

World Palate Recipes – Besan Ladoos for Deepavali

 

 

 

 

It’s that time of the year, once again. The noise of fire crackers fills the air, festive lights or Kandil make a welcome at door entrance, colourful Rangoli designs  are made with rice powder to decorate home entrances and wonderful aromas of sweet preparations waft from the Indian kitchens. It’s the Festival of Lights or ‘Deepavali’ a Hindu festival, full of colour and grandeur. (Dee.p means lamp and Aavali means row).

A time to rejoice light over darkness and Truth over ignorance and good over evil! Happy Deepavali to all.

 

Traditional Diwali sweets are: Besan Ladoo, Rava Ladoo, Khoya Gujjiya, Chakli, Chirote and a variety of dry fruit sweets. Crispy savouries or Namkeens also grace the festive tables.  Families and friends exchange gifts and sweets. This brings back my childhood memories – my paternal aunt would arrive few days ahead of the festival to help my mother in preparation. The two women would busy themselves in the kitchen for long hours – sharing conversation and recipes and mixing and kneading dough for sweet Ladoo and  savoury Chakli and Chivda. ‘Wait till Diwali day’ my mother used to warn us children, lest we steal some sweets in a haste to relish them fresh!

As i celebrate Deepavali with my family today, this page becomes a tribute to my Aunt and old mother. Here is the recipe of Besan/Gram Flour Ladoo. 

Ingredients:

3 cups Besan /Gram flour

1 cup fie Semolina

3 cups powdered sugar

150 gms Cow ghee

100 gms. cashews

50 gms. raisins

1 tsp. cardamom powder

1 tsp. nutmeg powder

 

 

Method:

Place all the ingredients in a large plate, ready for use. Slice the cashews in half for decoration. Take a heavy bottom pan /large wok, pour 3/4 the ghee in to it to melt on low flame. Add gram flour to it and roast till light brown, stirring continuously and evenly. Add little more ghee, as required. Set aside to cool on plate. Roast the semolina till light brown, add to gram flour mixture.

Add powdered sugar, flavouring powders and raisins to this semi-cooled mixture. Mix /knead lightly.

Take a small part of the mixture into the palm of hand, roll /toss lightly and evenly to form  a ball/ ladoo.Decorate with halved cashew piece. Place on festive plate or in container. Distribute to friends and family after cooling.

Besan Ladoo for Deepavali

Besan Ladoo for Deepavali