Growing up, Christmas was IT in my family. My parents saved and saved to make it the most unbelievable blow out, special time full of gifts and delicious food and traditions.
Since we got pregnant, it’s been a goal of mine to make Diwali just as special and joyous of a time in our household as Christmas. I want our son to feel the love and joy in both holidays equally in our home and own them both as part of him.
Our first Diwali as a married couple our house was deeply under construction. We were living in one small section of our home. It was sectioned off with plastic wrap and only included a couple rooms and a bathroom. It was dark and inexplicably moist all the time. We ate everything prepared out of a fridge in our yard and a tiny bathroom sink and a microwave in our hallway. Writing this out now makes me laugh at this time in our life. It seemed so reasonable until we did it.
Despite all of this I was determined to make it special. We started our celebrations by going shopping together for new clothes for the day (new clothes, a tradition in India). I got flameless tea candles and lined the floors of every inch of our space with them. We drove an hour away to pick up some of the only South Indian food we could get our hands on and had a special ice cream cake made from our unbelievably talented friends: Chunky Butt Ice Cream. We ate it all standing up over our washer and dryer, the only room to be in the tiny space. It was perfect.
The next year we had a functioning kitchen and it was time to go all out. I decorated much more heavily as excited as can be with the opportunity. I ordered decorations from India on Etsy and had fresh marigolds everywhere. We invited some friends over that are more family than friends to enjoy a feast. Once again, we had fresh beautiful clothes picked out (we did the shopping together) for the day. The food was perfect as we made it all ourselves.
This year we moved to Seattle where we know approximately no one. My parents were visiting, though, which made the evening even more special. I decorated our new home. This time I even got flameless tea candles on a timer (GAME CHANGER) although I couldn’t put any on the floor with a rampant toddler and we celebrated with Biryani and Gulab Jamun – both my husband and my favorite Indian sweet. It’s a delectable milk sweet fried and soaked in a flavored syrup. You can watch how I make it here.