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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sparklers and Sweets!

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is an annual holiday that takes place in October or November, depending on the lunar calendar. This year, Diwali officially fell on October 19th. We hosted our Diwali party last month at Pondicheri. Melissa of Taj Hotels cordially invited us to the Diwali celebration at The Pierre. We are excited to share this magical evening of sparklers and sweets with you!
The Pierre's signature restaurant Perrine transformed its Rosé Terrace into a little piece of India. Because Diwali is the festival of lights, the terrace was illuminated with beautiful lanterns, oil lamps and twinkling lights. DJ Suhel mixed Bollywood beats while guests indulged on Indian bites prepared by Executive Chef Ashfer Biju and sipped on Whispering Angel rosé and Bacardi cocktails. 
Guests received a traditional greeting with purple garlands and beautiful diya lamp favors. In Indian culture, flower garlands are a symbol of respect while diyas are small clay lamps that represent the end of darkness and ignorance. The staff decorated the guests' foreheads with pasupu tikkas (tumeric). Turmeric has been a key part of Indian culture for centuries. Indians cook with the spice, apply it to their faces and use it for spiritual purposes.
Guests wore brightly colored traditional garments to celebrate Diwali. Ladies wore a mix of saris, lehengas, salwar kameez and anarkalis. Special thanks to Heritage India Fashions for dressing our friend Theresa. 
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
The event was on a Wednesday early after work, so most of the men wore suits. Boys, if you have time to change, we recommend that you also wear traditional garb. Check out this Diwali post for more tips on what to wear. 
Men
Kurta Pajama: Two piece garment consisting of a loose knee length shirt and lightweight drawstring trousers 
Sherwani: Coat like garment usually long and worn over a kurta
Mojari: Traditional handcrafted Indian shoes
The Diwali celebration included a traditional Puja, which is a prayer ritual in Hinduism, Buddism, Jainism and Sikhism. During Diwali, Indians pray to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The puja took place around the rangoli and rastogi. A rangoli is a colorful, intricate pattern made on a flat surface with colored rice, sand or flowers. A rastogi is a large brass diya lamp. Diya lamps and lanterns were scattered along the edges of the rangoli. Guests took turns lighting the diya during the ceremony. 
Chef Ashfer created a flavorful Indian menu that combined traditional and modern bites. 
The food was almost too beautiful to eat. There was a variety of flavor, spice and heat in the food.
Our favorite dishes were the lobster chaat, the mini brioche sandwiches and the bhelpuri - though we tried pretty much everything over and over again!
Diwali is also known as the festival of sweets. We sampled many mithai (or sweets) throughout the evening. 
We also loved the presentation of the desserts on this bookcase.
The signature drinks were Whispering Angel rosé and Bacardi Lassi cocktails. Forget Magnums, Whispering Angel served Imperial sized bottles of wine! For those of you that don't know, that's 6 LITERS of wine per bottle (or two double magnums). We are big fans of Whispering Angel and served this wine at our Rosé All Day party at Bar d'Eau and we have also made Sugerfina's Whispering Angel rosé gummy bears.
It isn't an Indian party without lots of Bollywood music and bhangra dancing. DJ Suhel's beats kept us dancing all night long! 
We loved our henna from our Diwali party at Pondicheri and it photographed beautifully four days later at The Pierre.
We also had a quick photoshoot in The Rotunda. The stunning murals were excellent backdrops!
Thank you to the Pierre and Melissa for including us in the festivities. P.S. The Kulfi pops were awesome!
Photographs courtesy of Meagan Rachman and  Twinspirational.

On this auspicious occasion,
May joy, prosperity, and happiness
Illuminate your life and your home.
Wishing you a Happy Diwali



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