Celebrate the Light of Wisdom. At this time of the year people around the world are getting ready to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights. One of the biggest festivals of the East, Diwali symbolizes the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
People clean their homes and decorate them for the festivities. Diwali is one of the biggest shopping seasons in India and Nepal; people buy new clothes for themselves and their families, as well as gifts, appliances, kitchen utensils, even expensive items such as cars and gold jewellery. People also buy gifts for family members and friends which typically include sweets, dry fruits, and seasonal specialties depending on regional harvest and customs. It is also the period when children hear ancient stories, legends about battles between good and evil or light and darkness from their parents and elders. Girls and women go shopping and create rangoli and other creative patterns on floors, near doors and walkways. Youth and adults alike help with lighting and preparing for patakhe (fireworks).
There is significant variation in regional practices and rituals. Depending on the region, prayers are offered before one or more deities, with most common being Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. On Diwali night, fireworks light up the neighborhood skies. Later, family members and invited friends celebrate the night over food and sweets.
With all its exotic ingredients, unfamiliar dishes, and tongue-tingling flavors, Indian cuisine can be both exciting and intimidating. “It’s such a complete world of taste. You combine all the techniques from other cuisines and add magical spices to get a titillating food experience. Indian cuisine uses the whole palette of flavors—spicy, sour, sweet, and hot all at the same time—making it something that wants to jump off the plate.
There are a basic 20 to 30 spices that are used in many dishes—cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger, to name a few—and there are an infinite number of ways of using them. “Every spice has a reason for being there. They have health benefits, and they make the food more exciting and flavorful.
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