Diwali is the Holiday We’ve all Been Missing
This November 11th, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji will be celebrating a festival of lights the likes of which the western world rarely sees. Diwali is a celebration of light over darkness. It roughly follows the end of the fall harvest, but there’s a lot more behind it. While the holiday means a lot of different things to many different groups, the celebration is essentially the same.
First, you clean your home in preparation—think spring-cleaning, but before you sequester yourself away for winter. Got home repairs or renovations you’ve been planning? Now’s the time to get them done. Once the cleaning is done, you treat yourself, and your family, to new outfits, small gifts like sweets or dried fruit, and even more expensive extravagances like jewelry or new cars. Families share myths and legends with their children about the forces of light triumphing over darkness, knowledge versus ignorance, or basically, good triumphing over evil.
The celebration lasts for five days, and Dhanteras kicks off the first day. Lamps are kept burning throughout the entire night to honor a number of different traditions. It’s also a major shopping day, when celebrants often purchase gold and silver bracelets. The second day of the festivities is called Naraka Chaturdasi, when women frequently decorate their hands with intricate henna designs and families prepare sweets for the following day—Lakshmi Puja. The third day is the main celebration when everyone wears their new finery. The festival lights are lit and people celebrate in hopes of wealth and prosperity for the new year. The evening ends with a massive firework displays. The fourth day, Padwa, honors the love and devotion between husbands and wives. Bhai Duj, the final day, celebrates the relationships between brothers and sisters. Generally, it marks a time when separated families reunite over food and small gifts.
So what can the rest of the world take away from Diwali? Light and knowledge are worth celebrating in any season. It’s always good to clean before a party, but you should really treat yourself (and those you care about) afterwards. You shouldn’t need a reason to wear a nice new outfit out, but it certainly helps when everyone else is on the same page. And November is the perfect month to indulge in something special. So in honor of Diwali, light some candles, pour a little SomruS, slip into something special (maybe with someone special) and celebrate—because while the winter months are long, light is always worth cherishing.
Here’s a thought:
- 2 oz. SormuS
- 1 oz. Black Label
- One large ice cube
- Mesquite smoke (optional)
Combine SomruS, Black Label and ice in an old fashioned glass. Stir vigorously with a bar spoon. (Optional) Use Polyscience Smoking Gun to fill glass with mesquite smoke prior to mixing the cocktail.