Light The Diya! | Twinspirational -->

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Light The Diya!

Happy belated Diwali everyone! Diwali, also known as the "Festival of Lights," is the biggest and brightest festival in India. Although we were unable to properly celebrate Diwali on October 30th due to our Halloween commitments, we had an amazing time cohosting our first Diwali party with our friends, Divan and Michelle, this past weekend. We celebrated this auspicious and festive occasion with colorful traditional clothing, vibrant diya lamps, beautiful rangoli art, delicious food, Bollywood beats and our closest friends. 
A LITTLE HISTORY
If you are unfamiliar with Hindu mythology, Diwali commemorates the return of the Hindu God, Rama, from a 14-year exile after defeating the demon, Ravana. Villagers celebrated Rama's return by illuminating the streets and their homes with diya lamps and firecrackers. On a deeper level, Diwali celebrates this triumph of good over evil. Diwali also marks the beginning of the new year in some parts of India. During Diwali, Hindus incorporate light by lighting diya lamps to keep darkness out of their hearts and to embrace goodness and knowledge. Some Hindus believe that Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, travels through all our homes on Diwali night and stops to bless the brightly lit homes.
BRIGHT INVITATION
Splash is a one stop shop for creating and managing events. We used the site to custom create our beautiful online invitation (think Evite, Paperless Post and Punchbowl), manage contact lists (think MailChimp), sell tickets and track RSVPs (think Eventbrite). You can find our original invitation here.
FESTIVE DECOR
  • Lighting: Since Diwali is a festival of lights, we incorporated diya lamps to brighten our space and to pay homage to the villagers in the legend
  • Rangolis: We created our beautiful floral rangoli on the floor with red and orange carnations, yellow daisies and red diya lamps. These colorful artworks can also be made with colored rice, powder or sand
  • Flowers: Inga of International Garden created our beautiful bouquets with orange gerber daisies, yellow spider mums, red carnations and yellow freesia. We scattered these stunning arrangements on the bar, henna and props tables

WHAT TO WEAR
Diwali allowed our guests to unleash their inner Bollywood star and dress in brightly colored outfits. Ladies wore saris, lehengas, salwar kameez and anarkalis, while men mostly wore kurtha pajamas. Ladies who didn't have time to get a traditional outfit chose to accessorize with Indian scarves, bindis and jewelry while the guys sported traditional turbans.
Women
  • Sari: Single garment that is wrapped around the waist and draped over the shoulder and paired with a form fitting blouse
  • Lehenga: Three piece garment that includes a long skirt often elaborately embroidered with beads, shisha mirrors or other ornaments, a blouse and a dupatta scarf
  • Salwar Kameez: Three piece garment with loose pajama-like trousers, a long tunic and a dupatta scarf
  • Anarkali: Floor length gown with embellishments and a dupatta scarf
  • Bindi: Decorative mark worn in the middle of the forehead
Men
  • Kurtha Pajama: Two piece garment consisting of a loose knee length shirt and lightweight drawstring trousers 
  • Mojari: Traditional handcrafted Indian shoes
  • Turban: Cotton or silk headdress

WHAT TO EAT
We ordered traditional appetizers, entrees and desserts from Deccan Catering. Kanchana created a beautiful dinner menu with Must Have Menus.
Deccan Catering set up the dishes in trays with burners, which kept the food warm throughout the evening.
WHAT TO DRINK
We believe every party needs a specialty cocktail. The signature libation for Diwali was a spiked mango lassi. We also served Mazza Mango Juice, which guests also mixed with rum. Indian is a tough cuisine to pair with any wine since the dishes can be intense and overpower the wine. We recommend pairing Indian food with a semisweet Riesling. The acidity in Riesling cuts through the creaminess of Indian curry while the sweetness allows the wine to compete with the heat and spice of the food.
ENTERTAINMENT
We began the evening with a naming ceremony. Our guests loved their new Indian names. We also hired a henna artist, who created beautiful artworks on the guests' hands, wrists and arms.
DJ Michelle (aka DJ Mira) mixed Bollywood beats with deep house music, while Divan taught a quick Bollywood dance lesson.
We believe every party needs Photo Booth props. We purchased these beautiful Diwali props from Etsy. Children and adults had fun taking pictures with diya lamps, firecrackers, lotus flowers, beards and other Diwali props.
GIVE THEM A PIECE OF BOLLYWOOD
Divan created a beautiful gift table featuring vibrant bangles/bindis for the ladies and Rakhi bracelets for the gentlemen. Bangles are rigid, colorful bracelets made from metal, wood or plastic while Rakhis are scared threads. During the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandana, sisters give their brothers Rakhis to symbolize the love between siblings. We also awarded best dressed prizes. Our three judges, Arjun (Andrew), Ganesh (Greg) and Shwetha selected Kareena (Kate) and Jayraj (Jeffrey) as the winners. Check out Jayraj's traditional Indian shoes below.
We had an amazing time celebrating Diwali with our closest friends.

"With a hope that you can attain success and bliss with every light that is lit on the day of Diwali"    ––Anonymous

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