Celebrating Diwali, The Festival of Lights
This Thursday, 19 October, 2017, Diwali will be celebrated around the world with gift exchanges, fireworks and festive meals. If you live in Bur Dubai or Karma you’ll see the whole area decorated with candles and lights – it’s very beautiful and worth a visit if you don’t!
Diwali is a five-day festival. Lamps, fireworks and bonfires illuminate this holiday, as the word “Deepavali” or “Diwali” means “a row or cluster of lights” or “rows of diyas (clay oil lamps)”.
There are many stories about Diwali, the most popular of which is that the Hindu God Rama and his wife Sita returned to their kingdom in Northern India after being exiled for 14 years during which period he fought and won a battle against the demons and the demon king, Ravana. The day they returned was Amavashya (no moon) night and the people lit traditional earthen diyas (clay oil lamps) to light up the city and to celebrate the return of their King Rama and his victory of good over evil.
The goddess of happiness and good fortune, Lakshmi, also figures into the celebration. It is believed that she roams the Earth on this day and enters the house that is pure, clean, and bright(which explains the vigorous house cleaning activities that take place in Hindu households a month before Diwali). Diwali also marks as an auspicious day for new beginnings and celebrated as the Hindu New year.
Read on to learn all about how we “eat, pray, and love” this Diwali.
Food is a central theme during this festival. Like Christmas is synonymous with its traditional roast turkey, Indian sweets (mithai) plays a huge role in Diwali celebrations, which come in a range of colors and flavors. The celebration also features various rich savoury and sweet dishes, and while eating out is popular, families back home will mostly prepare food at home and have guests over to celebrate this day.
Thinking of eating out, mamas? Here’s our pick of top 3 restaurants to head out to if you are looking to enjoy a traditional Indian meal.
Bombay Bungalow, JBR
Bombay Bungalow transcends the traditional Indian dining experience in Dubai and transports you to the streets of modern India while you feast on some lip-smacking delights. This Diwali they have special set menu which is mix of Bungalow’s favorites as well some new surprise dishes created specially for the festive season. Mama, ensure you leave enough room for desserts (you will not be disappointed!).
For AED 145/person
Call 04 4498595 to reserve your table
Available from 12-28 October, 2017
Bombay Brasserie, TAJ Dubai
This Diwali head over to Taj Dubai’s signature restaurant, Bombay Brasserie for dinner. A dining experience here, promises drama, authenticity & innovation with a live open kitchen, vibrant oversized art and a botanical bar concept. The restaurant for this occasion has put together a special 3-course set menu with live ‘chaat’ (savoury Indian snack) counters and an unlimited tasting menu. Be prepared to be welcomed the traditional Indian way.
For AED 295/ per person
Call 04 4383222 to reserve your table
Available on October 19, 2017
Rang Mahal, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel
For this special occasion of Diwali, Rang Mahla has crafted a special set dinner menu with five elements which takes you on a journey highlighting the different elements which is synonymous with Diwali. The first course showcases the first day of Diwali celebration which is Dhanteras. The second course is a dedication to potters who design & prepare beautiful diyas & lamps for Diwali. For the third course they have prepared kebabs which show cases light (fire crackers). For the main course which is a family feast they have taken inspiration from a dining table which is laid on the evening of Diwali. And lastly with all the homes painted in colors, rangolis made at the house entrance, we want our dessert course to be as colorful & vibrant with the exceptional selection of Diwali sweets.
For AED 275/person
Call 04 4143000 to reserve your table
Available from 17-22 October, 2017
For the Hindus the start of Diwali marks with a visit to the temple. For those in Dubai the only temple is the one at Dubai fort (close to Meena Bazaar). This place of worship houses Shiva, Saibaba as well as a Gurudwara in the second floor.
During Diwali the whole area gets lit up with street stalls and vendors selling sweets, diyas, home decoration items related to Diwali and much more.
To experience Diwali in the most traditional way possible, we recommend booking the “Diwali trail with Unseen trails”. They will take you on a journey past a tucked-away temple into the alleys of Meena Bazaar, where the streets surge with glittering lights, “pujas” in family-run jewellery shops, and local celebrants thronging the streets in their finest festive wear. Carry your appetite with you.
For more information, go to www.unseentrails.com/diwali
The festival of lights, Diwali, brings together families and smiles on children’s faces. If every child eagerly waits to wake up only to burst crackers, elders look forward to celebrating it with near and dear ones. Here are a couple of things you could do mamas, to give it a completely sassy touch.
Give your home a makeover
Gather your littles and give your home a complete makeover. This Diwali, give your home a new feel, be it simply by changing the bedsheets and drapes or moving the furniture around a bit. Together as a family, make the entrance to your house colourful with intricate rangoli patterns.
Contribute to a Cause
It could be as simple as adopting a pet or making a donation in cash or kind for a cause you as a family believe in. Take this opportunity to teach your littles the importance of giving. This will also add a whole new dimension to this festival.
Lighting Diyas (lamps)
With the restrictions on bursting crackers in Dubai, Diwali becomes more about lights. Arrange a series of traditional lamps around the house, outside and inside, and involve the entire family in lighting them. These lamps will bring forth the festival feel.
You can find a good collection of diyas at Lulu’s, Carrefour, shops Karma and Bur area.
Think of interesting ways you could involve your littles to make beautiful gifts to be handed over to friends and family. It could be homemade candles or handpainted jars (some poking around on Pinterest should give you tonnes of ideas, mamas!).
Don’t have the time to do “DIY gifts”, no worries, mama, here are some options to pick up a gift from or even better get it delivered to where you are at.
If you are looking for a traditional gift box then head over to Chappan Bhog and buy one of the counter. Many outlets across Dubai.
And if you want something a bit different and healthy, then pick the Diwali gift hamper from Heartigrub. It has some homemade and heavenly tasting nut butters, granolas, clay lamps and few other goodies which are all made from quality organic ingredients and refined sugar free. Good thing mamas, they deliver too. You can order your box here.
Don’t fancy anything sweet, then why not order a spice box from Peace of Bake. The spice box has 3 different kinds of spice mixes like Dukkah – a nut and spice mix, Provencal – a Italian herb mix, Sichuan – a blend of Chinese five spices. You can order your box here. You should also get your hands on the limited edition Autumn spice mix while you are there.
Lastly the Big Song and Dance Party
No Indian festival is complete without some jhatkas and the quintessential Bollywood music. We Indians love song and dance irrespective of the occasion. So, if you want to make your Diwali full of dhamaka, laughter, fun and frolic then, organize a music-and-dance party at home or head to India Club for their big Diwali bash. Perfect ending to this colorful festival.
Eat, Pray, and Love this Diwali, Mamas! Wishing you all a happy Diwali from the team at Sassy Mama!