Dhanteras, ‘Choti Diwali’ or Roop Chaudas, mark the beginning of festivities

The traditional celebration of Diwali starts with a ‘yama diya’ on the first day, eleven diyas on the second and 21 on the third day and in the next two days there are a number of rituals that are followed by the Marwadis.

The five-day celebration begins with Dhanteras, ‘Choti Diwali’ or Roop Chaudas, Diwali, Padwa or Budha Diwali and Bhai Dooj. On Dhanteras, purchase of silver is mandatory.

The festival is celebrated to mark the triumph of good over evil where Lord Rama rescues Sita and brings her back to Ayodhya, after killing Ravana. It is believed that Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the return of Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after the 14 year exile, said C Sangeeta, a Marwadi. “It symbolises victory of light over darkness, enlightening oneself with knowledge and wisdom. On this day, Yama diya will be lit, a new silver coin bought is placed on the plate to perform puja. Once the puja is done, the Yama diya will be placed at the entrance of the house to ward off the evil from the house,” she said.

The major activity on the second day includes ‘pithi ceremony’. Taking bath with the scrub powder made of ‘besan’, haldi and other homemade ingredients. In the evening, puja is performed with eleven diyas.

After worshiping, sweets will be placed on each diya and the lamps are then kept in every room of the house. It is also known as Choti Diwali.

The main activities on Diwali day includes planning the menu, arranging for the feast, preparing sweets, performing Lakshmi puja and bursting crackers. Referring to the celebrations, Kavitha Mundra said, “We have to prepare many dishes on the occasion like meethi chawal, dilkushar, kangi vada, dahi vada and two to three varieties of subjis. In the evening, 21 diyas are placed in every room.”

Marwadis visit each other’s house and exchange goodies and greetings. They offer dry fruits and sweets during the fourth day of the festival Buddha Diwali or Padwa. The celebration concludes with Bhai Dooj where brothers visit sisters’ house and feast there. The Marwadis celebrate the festival wearing new clothes on all the five days.

Recipe of Dilkushar

Coarsely ground gram flour-one and a half cups; equal proportion of khoya or mawa; ghee-1 cup; for syrup: sugar 3 cups and one cup of water. Almonds and pistachios for garnishing.

Method: Heat ghee in a kadai and add besan to it. Sauté the besan until it turns golden brown. Blend khoya to the besan and mix well and keep it aside. Make sugar syrup and mix the besan into the syrup slowly. Keep stirring the mix until it becomes to a consistency similar to halwa. Remove from heat, place dilkushar on a greased tray and allow it to set in. Garnish it with crushed almonds and pistachio and cut it into small cakes when it cools down to room temperature and serve.

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