Last week one of my best friends and I took an adventure out to Queens. A little history on us: She grew up in Bangalore and has essentially made my life complete by moving just a few blocks away. Isn’t that every separated BFF’s dream? We went to college together, worked together, were roommates senior year and I’ve traveled to India with her twice. In school and throughout our travels we’ve always collaborated and made work together- so it just made sense to take a quick trip to the Little India of NYC -Jackson Heights- and document our adventure.
We went just in time to prepare for Diwali, an ancient Indian holiday, also known as the “festival of lights.” I love adding a new holiday to my calendar of things to celebrate, especially one with such positive associations and ~hello~ FIREWORKS! We mostly poked around, ate delicious food, bought spices and mango pickle (one of my favorite Indian snacks; there is nothing like it in American food!) so that we could cook a small feast for some friends that evening.
As Diwali approaches- It’s November 11th this year- take a minute to light a few candles, dress up and appreciate the sweetness of life. It’s too easy to get bogged down in darkness; everyone does from time to time. Whether career struggles, relationship issues (or lack thereof), daunting tasks or perceived failures -the list goes on- now is not the time to focus on that list. Instead, channel your inner goddess, celebrate victories no matter how small, and take time to enjoy life!
Here are three ways to celebrate Diwali this year:
1. Light diyas
The festival of light, Diwali signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. Adorn your home with warmth and light to invite goodness in. Traditionally, clay lamps are filled with ghee and placed all around the home, especially around the front door and windows.
There is light that exists in the form of something intangible. Acknowledge that light which never goes out, whether it is looking right at you or if its tucked away in an iridescent corner of your mind. Remember all the really wonderful memories and pull them forward in gratitude for keeping your heart illuminated.
“Lead us from darkness into light
Ignorarance to truth
Death to immortality”
2. Wear a new outfit
The goddess Lakshmi is the giver of vitality and wealth and Diwali is all about honoring her. Looking good and feeling good is one way to pay reverence to her divine blessings and ask for abundance in the year to come. Reds, greens, golds – these are the colors you will see people wearing to honor the prosperity of the goddess.
Diwali is not just about the outward lights and pretty clothes, it is also about celebrating your inner goddess. Take time to acknowledge your victories in the year past and be thankful for everything that has made your stronger.
Look to the goddess Lakshmi for your Diwali outfit inspo
3. Eat sweets
This is an essential part of all celebrations. Most Indian sweets are made with ghee and sugar and some are spiced with cardamom. My favorite are the ones made with cashew or almond paste and covered in the lovely silver shimmery paper.
The Diwali festival is a reminder to all of us to enjoy the sweetness and abundance of life. Happy Diwali everyone!