Diwali - one of the most celebrated festivals in India! Every household has a different custom, and everyone celebrates according to their traditions. With all the celebrations we create some memories. But why is Diwali special to all? Our spokespeople share with us their most cherished Diwali memories.
"Diwali is the family’s favorite festival. As far back as I remember Diwali meant lots of diya and fairy lights, buntings and paper lanterns. Everyone at home would put in their efforts with love to start the celebration. Then the pace changes to making sweets and other savories and planning gifts. The entire process builds up the anticipation and excitement until the day of Diwali when the home, turns into a fairyland and the city is vibrant with lights and sounds of crackers and fireworks.
My most memorable Diwali, I must say, was when my daughter Priyanka returned to India for the first time after spending four years in the USA. Her happiness and excitement were very contagious. Planning for days, shopping for gifts and wrappers, designing rangoli were the highlights of our days. She was all of 16, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. She and her nine-year-old brother brought back the wondrous memories of my childhood where food, almonds, clay lamps, and toys announced the arrival of my favorite Indian festival. There have been many special Diwalis but this one has been the most exciting one that I remember."
Dr. Madhu Chopra, Actor Priyanka Chopra’s mother
"Diwali is an important festival in our house. The preparations start well in advance with a whitewash and house cleaning. We purchase gifts and share it with our loved ones. My favourite gift idea usually is to give a basketful of almonds and seeds as it gives an elegant touch and is also healthy. What’s best is that they can be easily stored as well. The day of Diwali is spent making decorative rangolis with colors and flowers and lighting diyas in the house. Laxmi puja is the most crucial task in the evening. However bursting crackers is a big no in our house. Traditional festive foods and family get-togethers for dinner are my favourite."
Ritika Samaddar, Nutritionist
Each year for Diwali, my family would have hundreds of kilograms of ladoos delivered to our home to give to our friends, neighbours and business associates. They were one of my favourite things, and I was always so excited to have one, but first I had to help my family wrap up all the ladoos that we would give out. It was so hard as a young boy to wrap them and not to eat them! But when I finally got to have one after the Diwali ceremony in the evening, it was always worth the wait! Now as I am more aware about my health and fitness, I prefer gifting a pack of almonds to my near and dear ones.
Manish Mehrotra, Chef
"The most exciting part of Diwali for me is making healthy and tasty gift hampers and catching up with friends who are integral to my health and happiness. Every year I try creating something new. That’s a rule! This year I am looking at quinoa almond flour and palm sugar barfi. Let’s hope it tastes amazing."
Madhuri Ruia, Nutritionist
"Festivals mean lots of sweets, good food, and fun. Diwali is one of the most popular festivals and mostly everyone’s favourite. It brings a lot of blessings and happiness. Get-togethers with families and friends are the most enjoyable part. My Diwali is usually spent with them and preparing food and sweets for friends and family. However, this is also when we need to take care not to indulge in overeating. Come home on Diwali and you will find most of my food to be healthy and full of nutritious ingredients like almonds. In fact, they are my best gifting option too."
Anju Atreya, Nutritionist
"My Diwali is traditional but not ostentatious. I spend on providing a little extra to each and every service provider in my house, whether it is my house help, newspaperman or gardener or the municipal waste collector. I prefer making laddoos, kheer, and halwas at home. Needless to say, almonds form a major part of these sweets."
Amita Singh, Nutritionist
"I celebrate Diwali by dressing up in new clothes, lighting up diyas everywhere, performing Lakshmi puja and bursting crackers and sparklers with family and friends. We exchange sweets and dry fruits with our family and friends where I prefer to give packed almonds as I love dressing them up in different ways. Of course they are healthy, but they are also my favourite gift option as I can gift them to just about anybody and everybody. Diwali is an occasion that gives us an excuse for feasting on delicious food and sweets. However, I experiment with my Diwali food by using almonds in snacks and sweet preparations and for garnishing almost all my food items."
Raksha Goyal, Nutritionist
"My idea of a perfect Diwali gift is a 'plant'. As plants have life, they are a foremost thing for the survival of living beings in a food chain. It purifies the pollution created by firecrackers and makes our planet a better place to live."
Neha Mohan Sinha, Nutritionist
"Last year on Diwali I happened to see a poor a family working and struggling for basic needs. While I was busy preparing for the festival, watching them was like a rude shock for me! I stopped my car and called out to the girl from the family and gave her sweets and some money. And I felt the happiest in a really long time. Money might not always bring you happiness but small gestures like these remain in your memory for a really long time."
Meghana Kumare, Nutritionist
"Synonym for Diwali is gifts. As a dietitian, I prefer healthy options like almonds or dark chocolates. I don’t have a sweet tooth but during festivals, I crave for sweets. But I usually prefer giving homemade sweets as gifts loved ones."
Simrat Kathuria, Nutritionist
"A few years ago, a group of close friends gathered together to celebrate Diwali. Mud diyas were lit and placed around in the house, a simple dinner was laid out elegantly, everyone wore traditional Indian attire and we all chatted through the night. No noisy crackers, no polluting sparklers, no synthetic colours on diyas is my relished Diwali memory."
Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutritionist
During 2010, we were living outside India and my husband booked us a surprise trip to India during Diwali. It was our first Diwali with our family after the birth of my first son. And that has remained my most memorable Diwali gift.
Anjali Dange, Nutritionist
"Festivals are for joys. Instead of giving sweets loaded with calories and fats or juices with preservatives, I as a nutritionist always believe in gifting someone a gift of nutrition. It might include home-baked multigrain cereals, granola bars, fruit and nut muesli and almonds which are packed with nutrition. The best way to make someone’s Diwali special is by gifting them something that they love."
Aastha Khungar, Nutritionist
Diwali, the festival of lights is a perfect time to give your loved ones a gift of health. The occasion is a great time to get along with near and dear ones and enjoy some special moments together. The gifts and the food are my favourite part, but I don’t like to feel guilty all through the festive season. And that is why I keep telling my friends and family to eat smart and sensibly during festivals to ensure you don’t end up with health problems in the new year. A handful of almonds everyday is the best Diwali gift you can give yourself.
Diwali is my favourite festival right from childhood. As kids, it was a great family time, a reason to celebrate with my cousins. Loaded with Diwali delicacies, I remember our father bringing dry-fruit boxes as gifts. Getting up early in the morning on a Diwali morning for the crackers and visiting to all my relatives and neighbours is my favourite memory.
Last year I received a pleasant surprise gift from my family in the form of a trip to Pachmarhi. It's a place of peace and in nature's lap far away from the city life. That is one of my favourite memories.
Shreni Lalpurwala, Nutritionist