This year, the five-day religious holiday of Diwali, which is also known as Deepavali, Dipavali, Dewali Deepawali or the Festival of Lights, begins Monday, Oct. 24.
More than a billion people observe this holiday around the world: Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists. It is “a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil,” according to National Geographic.
Each of the five days has its own ritual, although how those are observed vary depending on where people live. But the Goddess of Prosperity Lakshmi is a prominent figure. Other universals include lights and celebrating with family, friends and food (particularly sweets).
Here are several ways to learn more or take part in public celebrations in Evanston:
- The Evanston Public Library has a list of Diwali books for adults and children to check out.
- On Saturday evening, Oct. 22, Northwestern University’s chapter of Hindu Yuva presented for Diwali the musical production, Ramleela: The Story of Ram, performed by Mandala Arts in the Cahn Auditorium.
- At 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, the Kellogg South Asian Club at Northwestern University will host a dinner and dance at the Kellogg Global Hub White Hub Auditorium. Tickets are $35 and attendees are encouraged to wear traditional attire.
And if you literally want a taste of Diwali, here are three business in Evanston that can help:
- Inspired Indian, 812 Dempster St., is for those who like to cook. In honor of the business’ first Diwali, Kalpana Waikar, the owner and founder, has put together a Diwali Dinner Spice Kit Box. Recipes and a Diwali shopping list are available to download on the website. Ingredient substitutions to accommodate vegans and vegetarians are noted in the recipes, which are clearly written and easy to follow. Each kit costs $49 and will feed six to eight adults. Cooks will need to purchase some additional ingredients such as cauliflower, lentils and a protein, but overall the cost of this dinner is still a bargain compared to dining in a restaurant, said Waikar.
- Mt. Everest Restaurant, 630 Church St., is offering a Diwali buffet for $25 per person. Bipul Sharma, Mt. Everest’s manager, said the meal includes several courses as well as plenty of naan and sweets, including Gajar Ka Halwa, a sweet pudding made with carrots, milk, sugar and cardamom, for dessert. The dinner special is not available for carry out.
- Mumbai Indian Grill, 1728 Sherman Ave., offers take out every evening between 5 and 9 p.m. At press time their Diwali plans were still in flux.
If you know of any other events, please don’t hesitate to share the details in the chat below.