So the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is upon us and summer, all bare feet and spritzers, is but a distant memory. It is now that my thoughts turn to cosy evenings hunkered down on the sofa with a bottle of red and a box-set to binge-watch. Rock 'n' Roll.
Despite the gloom and inevitable wet weather, November for me is full of light. It conjures up images of flickering flames, fireworks and sparkle. Ah yes, Guy Fawkes' Night? No. I'm talking about Diwali.
Although I'm neither Hindu, Sikh, Jain or Buddhist I can't think of a better way to embrace the darkness than with a Festival of Lights. Diwali rituals and the names of the festive days vary significantly according to the region of India; spiritually, the festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, hope over despair and good over evil. Celebrations are extended over five days, with the main Diwali night being the third, and darkest, night of the new moon. Rangoli patterns are created on doorsteps and in courtyards for good luck, diyas (lamps and candles) are lit and placed on windowsills to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, who is believed to roam the earth on this night.
Overall it is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate their love, relationships and respect for one another. Gifts and sweets (mithai) are exchanged, conversations are had and food is plentiful.
This year Diwali falls on the 11th November. I will be lighting up my home and opening the doors. Hopefully Lakshmi will stop by and say hello!