Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deepavali (Divali) 2010

Deepavali - or Divali as it is called in Mauritius - was celebrated November 5th this year. It is a public holiday and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world. In India the celebration goes on for 5 days. Divali never falls on the same day each year, it depends on the position of the moon (lunar calendar). You can read more about the history of Divali by clicking on the link above.

It is also called the "festival of lights" - or "good over evil".

In earlier years only clay lamps were used to light up around and inside the homes, but nowadays many people decorate their houses with electric lights, which reminds me of the American decorated houses for Christmas. There are some stunning decorated houses in this area, and as late as 9 - 10 o'clock in the evening the road next to us was jam packed with cars. We're living on a slope with stunning view over the town, so not so strange people come here for the view.

The original clay lamps. These are a bit bigger than the usual smaller ones. I prefer these, because they burn longer and is easier to handle.

Who has said clay lamps have to look boring? Nowadays these lamps are painted and decorated nicely. Last year I painted a few lamps just to give it a try, and I did a few more this year.
These are first sanded, then painted. I have used some leftover decoupage from many years back (while still living in Norway). Several layers with sealer and then a layer of glossy spray.

Another of my "art" lamps - lol - burning outside the entrance. Perhaps you don't know how it burns? Cut a suitable piece of wick, then add cooking oil and light the wick with a matchstick - so simple! :))

There's no Divali without tons of (sickening) Indian sweets! OM Gosh - I have eaten too much and most probably gained some grams too!
A couple of weeks before Divali I told DH I won't make any of these sweets! But even if we don't celebrate Divali the BIG way as most others, it has become a tradition for us too.
We didn't make a lot, but enough to distribute to the nearest family and a neighbor. Divali is about distributing sweets to family, friends and neighbors, and it can easily become too much! MIL next door can't eat too many sweets, so what she got ended up our side! I don't exaggerate when saying we got more than 1 kilo of sweets!

Here you can see what we made.
In front left (dark brown) is gulab jamun - one of the sweetest of Indian sweets, but so yummy! After frying the balls in oil, the balls are soaked in sugar syrup. In front right is besan laddoos, made of chickpea flour (besan). The half-moons are gato patate - the dough made of sweet potatoes, filled with a mix of freshly grated coconut and sugar, fried in oil. To the left - in the pan - is a healthier choice; date squares; chopped dates mixed with melted butter, crushed sweet biscuits and chopped peanuts.

You may wonder what is in the little bowl? It is offerings to the dead ancestors, and has to be offered before tasting the sweets.
I didn't know that is important, so I did taste the sweets before the offering....

Once quilter - always quilter - isn't it?
After the candle lights burnt down, the different colors of the lights made a stunning pattern and mixes of colors in the tray. The darkest color is dark blue, then it turns to turquoise and light green...
I have decided to make a quilt using these colors - hopefully I'll get these colors from the Moda Marbles collection. It won't be this year though, but it is great to have some planned projects next year too!

I made this tablecloth approx 4 years ago - one of my first quilts. I was a newbie at that time and haven't used batting; only the top and the backing.


Huisvlyt said...

Oh, I love how the candles create such lovely colours and light in the dish. Beautiful. Can just imagine a quilt with those colours.
Seems that the sweet tooth got you again. :-D
The clay lamps are so cute. I have a few, but never thought of painting them. What a wonderful idea!

karenfae said...

sounds like a fun holiday but easy to eat too many sweets!! I hardly do much baking anymore when Christmas comes around because I will eat it all and then I gain weight.
All of the candles are so pretty.

Notjustnat said...

Hey Astrid, I love reading about Divali and seeing the candles and sweets at your place! I used to have many Indian friends that celebrated Divali and I used to go along to their place, what fun! Are they many Hundus in Mauritius? Your first quilt looks fantastic, you were meant to be a quilter - Hugs Nat

Joanne said...

I agree with both of you ... the melted candles are wonderful color inspiration! We quilters seem to see quilts and/or color combos in everything around us! Astrid I really appreciate how you share the beauty of Mauritius and the culture of the people. I love learning about other cultures and ways of life. Thank you for sharing so generously....

Joanne said...

P.S. I liked your tablecloth too .....

Ă…nGe|e said...

Hmm what a brilliant idea! Lighting up candles instead of the traditional oil lamps =)

Ohh gulab jamoun! My favorite Indian sweet! I think I had an overdose of sugar last Friday. *cough cough* Too much stuffing myself with gato divali!

Sharon said...

You certainly celebrated in style. Artsy oil lamps are much more fun.
Is it coincidence that your first quilt matches the candles in color? hehe

Fleurette@ Fleur's place said...

Love your painted lamps, also over ate too many sweetmeats from friends and neighbours. My fav's are poli, chana magaj,jalebi,gulaab jamun,burfee and semolina balls.Those colours would look lovely in a quilt, your tablecloth is very pretty!