Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Diwali... 2012

Happy Diwali to you... May light win over darkness, within and out!

Today is the Fall new moon day when the festival of light, 'Diwali' is celebrated in Hindu community throughout the world. This is a continuation of the festival season that started with Navratri (Nine days of praying to the goddess of power) and Dusshera (The day of victory of good over the evil)... Diwali celebrates the return of king Ram back to his home after 14 years of exile and to celebrate his victory over Ravan, the demon.
Apart from mythology, it is a harvest festival in agricultural communities and a closing/balancing of  yearly financial books festival in the business communities.
On the 13th day of the lunar cycle (two days ago), we celebrated 'dhan-teras'. A day to be thankful for all the wealth and prosperity that God has bestowed upon us and celebrate whatever we have accumulated through our life. I guess, when we take account of all that we have accumulated through our life, we are bound to find 'stuff' that no longer serves us.
So, on day 14th (yesterday), we celebrate 'Narak chaudas' or 'chhoti Diwali' by cleaning up and clearing our houses, hearts and minds of all that which is hindering us in achieving our life's purposes. Often, we tend to follow the rituals superficially and overlook the spiritual significance but the more you observe, the finer these messages that come hidden in rituals, become.
These following pictures were all taken yesterday; and besides celebrating chhoti Diwali, we also welcomed first snow fall on the ground, and paid tribute to the veterans and celebrated them.

I cleaned up my kitchen and felt the relaxation that clean surroundings bring...

 And then I started messing up my kitchen again, to cook sweets for today, cause its Diwali and every year I aim to make five Indian sweets for the puja. I am three down and two more to go that would be done by evening when we perform the puja and offer sweets to the God. My girls cannot wait for the God to bless the sweets, so that they can try it.
Yes, according to the culture, we don't taste what we are making to offer to the God until the ritual is done, and I used to freak out in the beginning about not making perfect sweets but over the years, faith has taught me that nothing that I am making with clean heart and for offering to the God ever turns out bad. And at this point, cooking doesn't remain a food science but becomes art...

Roshogolla - Cheese balls cooked in sugar syrup

Gulab-jamun - Milk balls, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup

Balushahi - Pastry dough balls filled with nuts and soaked in honey (traditionally in sugar syrup)
Today evening, we will wear new clothes and pray to Goddess Laxmi, to bring prosperity and happiness in our lives. And we light oil-lamps and candles to fill the moon-less night with glowing lights and shoo away the darkness of our mind and our lives....

Wish you prosperity and happiness!!!

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