Celebrating the spirit of Diwali

As we head into a new week, billions of Indians across the world are getting ready to celebrate Diwali, the festival of light. Like most Indian celebrations, Diwali is a four day affair, ending with the Indian New Year. Diwali is traditionally a religious holiday, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, and although each faith celebrates the holiday a little bit differently, ultimately the festival represents the symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

I’m not religious in the slightest, so for me, Diwali is a symbolic and cultural holiday rather than a religious one. Diwali is often described as the “Indian Christmas”, but honestly besides the presents, there’s really no connection between Diwali and Christmas. Growing up, I loved Diwali because we had days off school, there were presents, and my family would get together and eat themselves silly. What’s not to love? As an adult, none of these happen anymore, but I love celebrating anyway.

The spirit of Diwali comes down to 3 things: Love, Light, and Luck

You can celebrate Diwali too - if you’re uncomfortable celebrating the holiday itself, you can celebrate the spirit of Diwali - love, light and luck.

Showing love is really about surrounding yourself with family and/or friends, and there’s probably no better way to show love than through food. I invite my neighbors over for dinner and cook an entirely Indian meal. To celebrate Diwali yourself, host a casual dinner party this week, and if you’re feeling adventurous, try out some new Indian recipes.

Check out my post on Best Indian Cookbooks, and the New York Times has a pretty legit Butter Chicken recipe.

My celebration always includes lots of light in the form of candles (both real and faux) and sparklers after dinner. The sparklers take a little planning, and we stock up right after July 4th, but if you don’t have leftover sparklers, you can just light every candle you own to symbolize the victory of light over darkness.

And finally, for a little luck, my Diwali celebration includes some scratch-off lottery tickets, or lottery tickets in general, but if you feel so inclined, a trip to the casino is also a lot of fun.

Celebrating Diwali is such a lovely experience, and even if you aren’t Indian, I hope I’ve given you some fun, actionable ideas to celebrate the spirit of Diwali this year.

Wishing you a year filled with love, light and luck!

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