A comforting cup of chai, which is traditionally brewed with milk in India (photo © Charles Chocolates).
 A chai blend of blacck tea andd spices (photo © Spice Station Silverlake).
 Iced chai (photo © Republic Of Tea).
Diwali, or Dipawali, is India’s most important holiday. The five-day festival begins today, so we’re celebrating with a cup of chai (the word for tea in Hindi) and additional chai recipes.
Diwali, a festival of lights, gets its name from the row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa) that Indian families light outside their homes.
Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and the human ability to overcome. The lights symbolize the inner light that protects them from spiritual darkness.
The festival is as important to Hindus as the Christmas holiday is to Christians.
Diwali’s date is determined by the India calendar and changes every year, ranging from October to November. It’s observed on the 15th day of the 8th month (the month of Kartik).
Day 1: Cleaning. People clean their homes and shop for gold or kitchen utensils to help bring good fortune.
Day 2: Decorating. People decorate their homes with clay lamps and create design patterns called rangoli on the floor using colored powders or sand.
Day 3: Feasting & Fireworks. On the main day of the festival, families gather together for Lakshmi Puja, a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi, followed by mouth-watering feasts and firework festivities.
Day 4: Gifting. This is the first day of the new year when friends and relatives visit with gifts and best wishes for the season.
Day 5: Visiting. Brothers visit their married sisters, who welcome them with love and a lavish meal.
THE 5 DAYS OF DIWALI
Light candles or lanterns.
Plan for a feast on Wednesday. You don’t have to cook: Head to an Indian restaurant or purchase delicious frozen Indian foods from your local market (we enjoy the frozen Saffron Road brand, and Kitchens Of India, a shelf-stable brand). Check out pairing wine with Indian food.
Drink chai. While it’s not “official,” chai is part of everyday life in India. Enjoy a cup on your own, or invite friends, neighbors, or colleagues to sit down for a cup.
At THE NIBBLE, we’re having chai for afternoon tea, with banana chips and almond brittle (check out these Indian snacks).
It’s a lovely holiday. Here’s more about it from Diwali Festival.
HOW CAN YOU CELEBRATE?
> The history of chai.
> Chai vs. tea: the difference.
Chai Hot Chocolate
Chai-Spiced Pound Cake
Homemade Chai Concentrate
Iced Maple Chai
Make Chai From Scratch