Saturday, October 17, 2009

Feeling the Fullness of Diwali

Although the thick aroma of spice still permeates the house, the guests have all left, our Indian princess has been sound asleep for a couple of hours and the dishwasher is washing it's second load of the night. Moments ago, I was soaping up my wrists to remove the glass bangles, purchased in India, that barely make it over the bones of my hand. Each time I wear them, I can vividly recall the girl who sold them to me in Jaipur after teaching Karen and I how to fold in the fatty part of our palm to make them fit. My bhindi has been removed, and the salmar kameez I was wearing has hit the dirty clothes bin after a full afternoon of preparing our Diwali feast. Inside, I am filled with pride and joy; not over any of the little events of the day or my ability to follow recipes in an Indian cookbook. My swell of emotion stems from teaching my child about some of her Indian heritage, the pride she feels in learning and celebrating Diwali and how excepting my family is in learning about this part of Devi that is so important to the three of us. How lucky we are to have been given the opportunity and responsibility to relate this to our child in a way that bolsters her self confidence while broadening our own knowledge. This is a true blessing.

Our Diwali celebration actually started on Friday as we discussed our grocery list over dinner and did our Diwali feast shopping together, picking up the ingredients needed for our six course Indian meal.

As Devi drifted off into nap time today, daddy and I went into high gear to clean, prepare the meal and decorate the house for our guests. When Devi awoke a few hours later, she was ready and eager to put on her Indian clothes, bhindi and bangles and tackle the rangoli on our front stoop. The rain stoped just long enough for us to rush outside and scribble a few designs with our sidewalk chalk that due to our changing weather, will most likely be packed away now until next spring.

Soon our house was aglow as each of the guests, Papa and Gail, Oma, Aunt Joan and Uncle Bill arrived and were asked to light candles throughout our home as a symbol of how they bring light to our lives. The three candles in our center piece represented those no longer with us. Our menu started with cocktails and samosas with mango chutney, bhel puri and a few cashews. Dinner consisted of Chicken Makhani prepared crock pot style; recipe courtesy of Nancy, another adoptive mom. We also prepared a few of our other favorites; Muttar Paneer, Channa Masala, Tandoori Jhinga, and Cabbage Raita, followed with a little naan to scoop it all up!

I wonder if I like this holiday so much because it stresses the eating of sweet treats? That we did! After dinner, we continued our feast with mini pumpkin cakes that Devi and I made, mango ice cream and a box of assorted burfi and jammen treats I purchased from Punjabi Sweets. Throughout the meal we chatted about new beginnings, good health and prosperity all things promoted through this holiday that we hope will come to those loved ones who entered our home to celebrate with us tonight.

With a full head, heart and stomach...Happy Diwali and Namaste!


The Labontes said...

Sounds like an amazing celebration, Julie! So glad you are able to share her culture in such a special way, with special people in your life.


The Pfeiffer Family said...

You did a fanstastic job with your celebration. How wonderful that you have made a point to share with Devi her beautiful culture. How much more she will cherish these celebrations because you have given her the opportunity to plan, shop, and cook right along side of you. I am sure she will look forward to this celebration every year.

April :-)

P.S. If you get a chance I would love to get the recipes for the Muttar Paneer, Channa Masala, and Tandoori Jhinga. My email is

Peter and Nancy said...

Count me in with April -- I'd love to add a few new recipes to my India repertoire! What a great celebration . . . we celebrated earlier this week with our Makhani. I'm pretty sure the crockpot factor makes it not totally authentic, but oh well! :o)

Pam said...

I love reading about your celebrations, Julie. How I wish we all could be together and celebrate! :)

Anonymous said...

My sister, Tauni, was here last week. I had to show her the picture of Devi in her dance clothes. I also e-mailed it to Leah. They bothe said how big she looked! I said compared to what? The moulding? She is a little peanut. She is barely bigger than the mixer on the counter.
The main thing is what Tauni said:
"Are these the happiest people on earth?"
Yes, my dear, I think they are.

Love, Monica

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