Diwali/Deepavali is one of the most celebrated of all Hindu festivals, with the significance of the victory of good over evil foremost in Diwali/Deepavali mythology… from darkness to light – the light that empowers individuals to commit themselves to good deeds, also symbolically represented by the lamps that illuminate the homes of devotees during this time. It is also a time for celebration, with sweet delicacies enjoyed, gifts exchanged, new clothing adorned, ‘diyas’ lit and the skies glowing with colourful fireworks.
Sanjay Govind of the Shree Pretoria Hindu Seva Samaj (SPHSS) told the Laudium Sun, “We wish all Hindus celebrating, a very happy Diwali. As the Hindu New Year dawns, may the year ahead be filled with joy, prosperity, and new beginnings. Let us embrace the traditions and values that enrich our lives and communities, and may the coming year be a source of inspiration and growth. With hope in our hearts and unity in our spirits, we extend our warmest wishes to all, with wishes for the promise of a brighter tomorrow. A prosperous New Year to one and all!”
This year, Diwali/Deepavali will be celebrated on Sunday (November 12), with the predominantly Gujarati community celebrating New Year thereafter. The Laudium Sun joins Sanjay Govind and the local dancers from Tantra Dance Academy in our accompanying photo – in wishing all our readers who will be celebrating Diwali/Deepavali, a festival filled with delight and sparkles of joy. A glorious New Year to those celebrating; one that promises to cover the power-triad: health, wealth and happiness.
Thumbs up for SPHSS Diwali Festival… a kaleidoscopic occasion
The spirit of Diwali was alive and vibrant in Pretoria this past Saturday (November 4) as the Shree Pretoria Hindu Seva Samaj (SPHSS) and the Pretoria Navyug Mandal came together to host a remarkable Diwali festival.
The event served as a beautiful reminder of the cultural diversity and unity that enriches the city. As families and friends gathered to celebrate the ‘Festival of Lights,’ it was a perfect occasion to strengthen bonds and spread joy.
The festival, which took place at the Laudium Sports Stadium, saw thousands attending what was described as one of the biggest Diwali events held in the city, featuring a wide variety of activities and entertainment that catered for all ages. One of the highlights of the event was the kids’ zone, where young ones were treated to an array of fun and engaging activities, including face painting, temporary tattoos, a jumping castle, and mini soccer fields. This area was a haven for children, and their laughter echoed throughout the event. For food lovers, the festival didn’t disappoint. A variety of food stalls served up a delightful assortment of traditional Indian cuisine, from samoosas and pani-puri to mouth watering sweets as well as a wide variety of warm and cold drinks. The tantalizing aromas wafting through the stadium grounds left attendees craving more and vendors selling out. The Diwali festival was a shopper’s paradise with stalls showcasing a variety of handmade and intricate jewellery, traditional clothing, and decorative items, all of which added to the festive ambiance, making it the perfect place to find unique Diwali presents for loved ones. Attendees also had the opportunity to get their henna/mendhi done to further get into the Diwali spirit.
The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the jam-packed stage program. Professional-level dance performances, showcasing various Indian dance forms, enthralled the audience, while Gauteng singing sensation, Aap Ka Suraj, serenaded the crowd with soul-stirring melodies. What made this festival even more special was the live streaming of the event from Jungle FM’s platform, allowing those who couldn’t attend in person to experience the magic of Diwali from the comfort of their homes. Avin Moorley kept the crowd entertained with his superb MC skills throughout the live streaming. As the night descended, the excitement reached its pinnacle with a spectacular 15- minute fireworks display that painted the night sky in vivid colours. The fireworks illuminated the surrounding area and filled the hearts of the onlookers with awe and wonder. It was a mesmerizing sight that marked the grand finale of the event.
As the last fireworks sparkled and faded, the hearts of the attendees were filled with warmth and gratitude. The Diwali festival had achieved its purpose, bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness and the victory of good over evil, just as it has for countless generations.
This unforgettable evening was a testament to the organizers’ dedication in ensuring that the essence of Diwali was cherished by all who attended. The festival not only brought the Indian community together but also welcomed the broader Pretoria community to participate in the festivities.
Diwali/Deepavali messages from the community…
Bhabhi’s Corner – Diwali Recipes
Dear Bhabhi’s Corner readers… With the joyous festival of Diwali upon us, we are delighted to bring you a selection of recipes that we hope will illuminate your festivities with tradition and flavour, from the mouth-watering burfee to the eggless chocolate cake. Bhabhi’s Corner expresses gratitude to our dedicated contributor, Irene DaSari, for her recipes which always add that special touch to this column and which we just know enrich our reader’s culinary experience. To all who will be celebrating, wishing you a very Happy Diwali!
Makes +/- 24 depending on the size. This recipe can be doubled for larger quantities. 250g Klim milk powder, 1/4 cup fresh cream 3/4 cup milk and fresh cream mix (equal amounts of each) 3/4 cup icing sugar, +-1/4 tsp saffron / rose essence (its concentrated so be careful not to add too much), 125g butter
Mix the first 2 ingredients together to a fine bread crumb like texture and allow to dry for a few hours. Pulse in a food processor until fine and lump free. Mix in +-1 tsp freshly ground elachi and keep aside until needed. Combine the remaining ingredients in a heavy based pot and bring to a slow boil. Allow to simmer on medium low heat for 8-10 minutes. Add the Klim mixture into the pot and stir well and fast until it comes away from the sides of the pot. Remove from stove at this point to prevent drying out. Set in a greased shallow dish or once it cools slightly to the touch, roll into equal sized balls, push tightly into Malaysian moulds and press put onto a tray or clean surface. I used fancy cake/biscuit decorations but almonds or any nuts of your choice can be used instead, to decorate.
1kg chana/gram/chickpea flour
1/2 cup fresh cream, 1kg butter or ghee
+-5 tsp freshly ground elachi (according to your taste)
1/4 tsp rose essence,
4 cups Klim
1/4 tsp saffron essence
4 cups icing sugar,
1 cup roasted and roughly chopped almonds and cashew nuts
Place chana/gram/chickpea flour in a large thick based pot. Warm fresh cream in the microwave (+-40seconds), add to the chana/gram/chickpea flour and rub in until it resembles bread crumbs. Leave to dry for an hour or 2 stirring regularly. Melt butter and add it to the flour pot and bring to a slow boil on medium heat. Stir continuously for an hour on medium to low heat until the colour darkens and the raw flour smell cooks out. Leave to cool completely in the pot. Once cooled you will find that the butter / ghee has risen to the top. Mix well to combine butter with the mixture and then add the sifted Klim and icing sugar..Mix well press down into a greased pan and scatter the nuts on top….press lightly into the Magaj. You can also use Malaysian cutters. Leave to set and enjoy.
2 cups gram flour, 2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp elachi powder, 2 tbs butter / ghee
± 1 cup water mixed
1 tsp vanilla essence
±1⁄4 tsp each red & egg yellow food colouring (add a little at a time until it reaches the colour you like).
Mix the first 3 ingredients together. Rub in the butter. Mix in water, a little at a time until you get a thick batter (like chilli bite batter). TIP: Push the batter through a slotted spoon / colander / ladoo maker into the hot oil using a dhal ladle to press it through. Do this in small batches. Fry the boondis until lightly golden brown. TIP: Remove from oil with a slotted spoon, place into a colander lined with paper towels for a few seconds just to remove excess oil then drop immediately into the warm syrup. Once all are fried & added to the syrup, toss well, making sure that all the boondis are well coated with the syrup. If it looks a little dry, you can make a little extra syrup and add it to the mix. Leave to soak for a few hours or overnight until all the syrup is absorbed. If possible, give it a mix every few hours for even absorption. Mash the boondi mix with a potato masher and shape into balls. Weigh each one so that they are equally sized. Top with or roll in coloured almonds, place on a tray covered in cling film and leave to dry for a few hours or overnight. Place in a sealed container & refrigerate.
Eggless Chocolate Cake
Mix together in a large bowl
6 cups all-purpose flour, 3 cups sugar
4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt, 1 cup cocoa, 11⁄2 cup oil
In a separate bowl mix together
3 tsp strong coffee, 2 cups boiled water
2 cups tap water, 1⁄4 cup white vinegar
1 tbs vanilla essence
Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Bake in 2 lined oven trays at 180°C for ±30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Decorate as desired.
Household tips & hints
- Skip the rinse before loading the dishwasher.
- Stop rinsing dirty dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. You’ll save water and time and you’ll end up with cleaner dishes.
- Dishwasher detergent powders, liquids, and tablets contain enzymes and other ingredients that are meant to attach themselves to food particles to dissolve the mess and then allow the spray action of the water to flush them away.
- When you rinse dirty dishes, the detergent is wasted because it can’t cling to anything.
- However, it’s still important to scrape away large amounts of food before loading dishes into the dishwasher.
Food for thought
“Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.”-Reader