From Chinatown to Little India, living in the city means we have access to all sorts of different cultures. One of the best ways to understand new cultures is to try an experience them as a family. With a package from Patak we decided to explore the Indian celebration of Diwali.
The Hindu festival of light, Diwali, is a four-day festival. There seems to be a number of different legends, stories and myths behind the festival but most seem to revolve around the significance of good over evil. The idea behind illuminating your home with lights is to dispel darkness and evil and to remind us to commit good deeds.
That bag of tea lights from IKEA came in handy.
Crafts are a great way to involve kids in holiday celebrations. Colour is also key in celebrating Diwali and rangoli art is a great idea. According to India Parenting rangolis are created as a welcome to guests and a way to ask for blessings. Following Power of Mothering’s instructions] we created coloured rice to make our own rangoli art. Working with coloured rice reminds me of sand art but without all the mess. Traditional rangoli art tends to involve geometric patterns but we had fun just making our own creations.
Of course no celebration is complete without food. Patak’s UK site shares what they describe as a traditional Diwali menu but since we were celebrating on a school night I was looking at something a little easier. That’s the best part of the Patak’s sauces, they offer an easy way to create an Indian inspired meal. I made a Chicken Tikka Masala using the Patak’s Tikka Masala cooking sauce. Toss it over some basmati rice made in the rice cooker and serve with cucumbers. Yum. We usually enjoy naan bread with our Indian dishes but this time we tried Patak’s Black Pepper Pappadums with Sweet Mango Chutney. I’ve never tried Pappadums but they are a treat to cook; they pop-up in seconds when fried in oil. I ended up cooking the whole box (a little too much) mainly because it was so neat watching them puff up. (Note: A reader pointed out that Hindus don’t eat meat. Though some Indians may eat meat (except beef) but usually not during a holiday, like Diwali. A vegetarian version of our Tikka Masala dish might be more fitting for a Diwali meal).
Our rangoli art made a great centerpiece to our Diwali dinner celebration. If you’re looking at adding a little India into your evening Patak’s cooking sauces and other items make it easy, even on a night with hockey practice or gymnastic class.
Here are 5 craft ideas to add to your Diwali celebration:
- Salt-dough Diwas (used for holding your tea lights)
- Rangoli Colouring Pages
- Hanging Lights
- Rangoli Sidewalk Art
- Toran craft
Disclosure: I am part of the Patak’s Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.