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happy diwali

Happy Diwali!

There is no denying Diwali is one of the most beautiful and joyous celebrations within the Hindu faith.  Diwali Day falls this year on October 30, but the 5-day celebration begins on October 28 with gorgeous festivities happening throughout.

Diwali is celebrated in honor of the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother, Lakshmana, from Lanka. It illuminates their path to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness or good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair (all concepts we love!).

Lord Rama and Sita

When you add in the pageantry of the attire, the food, the coloured rice powder and flower floor designs called rangolis- and of course, fireworks – you’ve got yourself a full-on vibrant spectacle of hope and togetherness.

celebrating diwali

From Bollywood to London to Hollywood, Diwali is an over-the-top affair celebrated by Hindu’s, Sikhs and spiritually inclined people around the world. And, you don’t have to be a celebrity like Shah Rukh Khan, George Harrison or Julia Roberts (all practicing Hindu’s) to get into the spirit. 

 julia roberts hindu

If you are unable to experience a grand affair at the Taj Land’s End hotel in Mumbai, on the Johari Bazarin Jaipur or at Trafalgar Square in London, chances are you are invited to an intimate home festival within your community.  Here’s how to navigate the whirlwind of Diwali in style:



You’ve RSVP’ed your eVite and are excited to celebrate, but what to wear? Whether you don an embroidered sari or kurta (for the men), or blend traditional Indian dress with more Westernized dress, the look is about splendor and grandeur.  You can be as bold or demure as you feel comfortable (just be sure to cover your shoulders and legs), but traditionally, women adorn themselves with beaded and metal jewelry and lots of colour.  Dark-rimmed eyes, deep berry lips (you can’t go wrong with Tom Ford’s Bruised Plum Lipstick) and bright manicures rule the make-up looks that balance the flowing silks draping their bodies.  The look is exotic but always very polished.

diwali makeup looks The Beauty Look

tom ford plum lipstick Tom Ford Bruised Plum Lipstick at Nordstrom

jewelry to celebrate diwali Jewels to Celebrate Diwali

saree to wear on Diwali Polka Dot Saree-full of color!

Bhumika Arora celebrates diwali

Bhumika Arora Celebrates Diwali (Vogue)



Of course, you aren’t going to show up empty-handed, so what to bring? It’s customary to bring something sweet and alcohol is not typically consumed during this holy event, but you can be more Westernized and bring home-baked cookies, cupcakes or beautiful chocolates (did someone say Godiva?). Or, try a hostess gift like a sweet necklace that your host can wear every day to highlight her faith after all the pageantry is over. This little dainty elephant charm (referencing the Hindu God, Ganesh) is one of those gifts that you’ll buy one for her, one for you!

 lucky elephant necklace faithhaus

Or, go with the celebration theme of light and bring paper sky lanterns for you and the guests to release during the celebration (tip: probably best done separately from the fireworks!)  

sky lanterns faithhaus

A gorgeous candle is always appropriate and ups your hosts good fortune quotient, as Hindu’s believe that the Hindu Goddess of Luck and Wealth, Lakshmi, visits the homes that are brightly lit. 

lakshmi prayer candle

Like any celebration, food is the core of joining guests together.  Diwali does not disappoint – but you’ll definitely have to embrace your sweet tooth!  Most often, Mums and Aunties prepare counters full of trays loaded with luscious delectables such as Gulab Jamun (here from Manjula's Kitchen)– a spongy milky ball of sweetness drenched in exotic rose syrup – or the divine and classic cardamom and saffron infused Kesar Peda alongside the colorful swirls of crushed pistachio and cashew nuts in Kaju Pista rolls.

gulab jamun manjulas kitchen

Among all the beautiful Indian oil lamps and flowers, you will also find bowls overflowing with various dishes of spiced lentils called Dal, Masala made with chickpeas, and squash and vegetable curries to feast on.  It’s actually overwhelming the amount of food, so if you have never celebrated Diwali and are joining in with friends – prepare for a Thanksgiving-type-of-day where you’ll be thankful you are wearing a sari and not jeans!

The shimmering décor, sweet and savory cuisine and gathering with friends and family make Diwali a social and warm celebration, but the various ceremonies performed during the 5 days of Diwali are what make it the spiritual beauty it truly is. 

When celebrating Diwali in the United States – traditions may be altered to accommodate work schedules, but practicing Hindu’s always find a way to honor their faith during this brilliantly happy time. Some will indeed even observe Halloween with their young children to celebrate the country where they are raised while still embracing their heritage and religion.  The point is that family and friends come together in gratitude and harmony to acknowledge all they have together and all the wonderful things still to come.





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