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Throwing a Diwali Party: Food prep, entertainment & thoughtful gestures

Planning the perfect Diwali celebration involves attention to cultural nuances, ensuring your home resonates with the essence of this cherished festival.

Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

In this article (below), we will delve into the heart of Diwali preparations, focusing on culinary creations, entertaining activities, and thoughtful gestures that enhance the joy of the occasion.

Diwali Feast: Crafting a Spice to Sweetness Menu

Vegetarian Traditions

While Diwali traditionally emphasizes vegetarian cuisine, the choice of incorporating meat dishes is yours. Opt for a sit-down meal for smaller groups and buffet-style for larger gatherings.

Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

Catering vs. Home Cooking

Decide based on the gathering's size, balancing the emotional connection of home-cooked meals with the convenience of catering. Both celebrate Diwali's spirit.

Quantity Considerations: Plan for approximately 1 lb. of food per adult and 1/2 lb. per child to ensure everyone's satiety.

Serving Ware

For a small event, use copper / stainless steel serving bowls that give it an Indian touch. A Kansa dinner set is an investment but it lasts for ever.

For a catered event, go for a glam theme OR a Diwali theme for plates / napkins. We would highly recommend a Chafing Dish Buffet Set with wire rack stands - Easy to store and can be used time and again. The fuel cans that be replenished for each party but they have a decent burn time and can keep the food warm.

Curating a Diwali Menu

Inspired Menu Sources

Seek menu inspiration from culinary experts. These are our favorites:

Colorful Curries, Vegetables & Bread

Create an appealing spread with a red tomato-based curry and a green spinach-based curry. You could opt for a dry vegetable as long as you have a few more with gravy. Keep one curry vegetarian and dairy-free to accommodate diets.

Naan can be purchased from the Indian grocery store or from your local Costco. Saves money too as bread from the caterer / restaurant really adds $$ up. Always offer rice to accommodate those with a gluten-free diet.

Savory Appetizers

Offer at least two savory Indian appetizers and serve with chutneys!

Dessert Delights

Prepare traditional Diwali sweets like ladoos, gulab jamun, and barfi. Indian grocery stores offer authentic alternatives for time-saving options.

Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

Beverage Extravaganza

Set up a tea corner with masala chai, cardamom tea, and ginger tea. You could also offer thandai, mango lassi, as well as a selection of Indian beers and red and white wines, and India-inspired non-alcoholic cocktails.

Diwali Entertainment

Rangoli Competition

Organize a Rangoli-making competition, allowing participants to unleash their creativity with vibrant colors and intricate designs. Buy rangoli stencils and involve the kids!

Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

Bollywood Dance-Off & Sparklers

Stage a lively dance competition with Bollywood tunes, encouraging participants to dress in colorful, traditional attire. Bring in a dancer and have him / her lead a dance session with both kids and adults. Hire a DJ. There are a ton of possibilities here!

While fireworks are certainly a big NO in our books, a few handheld sparklers are enough to add a little magic to your celebrations. We often find them at our local Indian grocery stores a few weeks before Diwali.

Tambola Thrills

Host a game of Tambola, a beloved Indian pastime, offering exciting prizes to winners and enhancing the festive spirit. This game is like Bingo (or Housie which is played widely across the Indian sub-continent)

Henna Art

Elevate the cultural experience with a henna artist, adorning guests' hands with intricate designs symbolizing Diwali's joy and celebration. And of course, there are always tattoos!

Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

Thoughtful Diwali Favors

Sweet Remembrances

Send guests home with Diwali-themed favors like decorative diyas, incense sets, or traditional Indian sweets. Use 'Happy Diwali' bags to gift.

You should also capture moments through group photos, sharing them post-party with heartfelt notes of gratitude. Create photo-booth opportunities with Diwali props and backdrops.

The Religious Side of Diwali

Puja or no Puja?

The debate about incorporating the religious facets of Diwali into the house party remains. For some, beginning the celebration with a communal Puja and Aarti is an integral part of honoring the festival's religious significance, fostering a deeply spiritual atmosphere. Others, however, prefer to distance themselves from these rituals in a public setting, focusing solely on the cultural and festive elements of Diwali.

Photo credit: Pexel
Photo credit: Pexel

In the diverse mosaic of Diwali festivities, there are subtle ways to infuse cultural depth without overwhelming newcomers to the traditions. This approach is especially significant when introducing the festival to non-Indian friends and family keen on learning about your heritage. For those readers living abroad, this certainly rings true when it comes to your own children, your spouse, your in-laws and perhaps even you!

Lighting a diya, for instance, signifies the victory of enlightenment over ignorance. Rangoli patterns, gracing the floor with intricate designs welcomes guests with warmth. The tradition of exchanging gifts and sweets transcends language. Sparklers and dancing bring joy to all. Acts of kindness, like charitable donations, echo the festival's core values of compassion and community. These gestures, deeply rooted in Diwali's cultural heritage, speak a universal language, inviting everyone, irrespective of their background, to participate in the celebration.

By infusing your Diwali celebration with great food, entertainment, and heartfelt gestures, you create a multi-sensory experience that envelops tradition, culture, and profound gratitude. As Diwali unfolds, savor the flavors, dance to the rhythms, and build memories! Wishing you a joyous and prosperous Diwali!


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