Since living in Australia (2009), I have very much embraced (and grown a lot from) the diversity this country has to offer. I love travelling and interacting with people from various cultural background. Sometimes my budget or agenda don’t allow me to travel as much as I wish I could, so interacting in my own country with others and learning from them is something I cherish. India is a country close to my heart. I visited in 2014 and keep wonderful memories from my time travelling through the Golden Triangle, where I enjoyed the food of North India almost as much as the scenery and landmarks.
Those who personally know me also know that I love organising and hosting events, especially when there is delicious food involved. As such, I set myself the challenge to plan the first ever Diwali celebrations in the organisation I work for. I recruited the help of several dear work friends to assist me with planning and hosting the event in the office, and it was a great success, if not the best event our company ever had in its premises!
Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year. One of the major festivals of Hinduism, Diwali spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. It’s a lovely occasion to meet with friends around traditional food, play music, dance and chat! Once again HAPPY DIWALI to all.
This is called rangoli, it’s a colourful pattern made with fresh rose petals. Rangoli is an art form from India in which patterns are typically created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards using materials such as colored rice, dry flour, colour sand or flower petals.
We welcomed the guests with a touch of dilak (I’m not entirely sure about the spelling, sorry!) and also handed ‘return gift’ (or guest favours) which is an important gesture in the Indian culture.
A small scented candle were given out as guest favours to each guest upon arrival to the event. In India, gift giving is a form of expressing friendship and affection.
Another Rangoli made of fresh rose petals.
The event was catered by one of the best Indian restaurants in Sydney, famous for their fine Indian cuisine. We had the food delivered to our office. On the menu were a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to cater for all taste, including: veggie Samosa, chicken 65 (65 days aged chicken, marinated in exotic spices, lemon juice and deep fried, tossed with curry leaf, fenugreek powder and coriander), slow cooked lamb shoulder tossed with dash of chilli, curry leaf, cashew, fresh coriander and crumbed, lamb Roganjosh Punjabi, Butter Chicken and Malai Khofta (Dumplings made from potato and cheese, tossed in an authentic Combination of curry leaves and mustard seeds simmered in Moghlai gravy). The dishes were served with a selections of naan bread.
One of the highlight from the event is that guests were encouraged to dress up and rewarded too! We gave away ‘Best-Dressed’ prizes, a competition open to both male and female guests. Out of the 75 guests, about half were dressed for the occasion which created a very colourful and happy atmosphere. Everybody really enjoyed the celebrations and we may renew the fun next year!
Have you ever celebrated Diwali? What did you like most about it?