|Add glitz and glamor to your Diwali tablescape - I've done it with crystal, color and metallic accents!|
Aalayam's annual Diwali edition by Deepa + a Giveaway (for details scroll down)
As with every other festival, I am still finding my way around traditions and Diwali is no exception. I yearn to recreate the traditions of my maternal home and long for the Deepavali of my childhood. Lucid memories of facile traditions are rekindled - the oil bath at the break of dawn that heralds the onset of the three day festivities, the aroma of the delicacies prepared by mom, the stash of firecrackers painstakingly divided in 2 equal halves by us (bickering) siblings, earthen diyas awaiting to be lined in neat little rows, visiting aunts, uncles, grand parents in all our Deepavali finery, boxes of sweets and the glittery explosion of firecrackers! The magic of Deepavali beckons – after all it is the most adored childhood memory for most of us.
|Nothing says Diwali like a traditional thali dinner!|
Fast-forward to my expatriate life and Diwali is a weekend potluck dinner, rows of tea lights and maybe some sparklers! A far cry from Diwali’s of the past!
|Italian etched goblets work great for serving mango lassi! Pair them with colored water tumblers!|
But over the years, I have learnt to add the sparkle back in small doses via our own family traditions while ardently reflecting on past Diwali’s . At the heart of our celebrations is a good Diwali meal and that is what today’s post is all about. I am passionate about my Diwali meals and many of my own festive memories are intrinsically tied to the food traditions – my grand mom’s rice appams (yele appa) were to die for and I long for it each Diwali. Talk about Pavlov’s classical conditioning! Living in America, I have come to appreciate Western holiday traditions that are strongly rooted in food and feasting and so I attempt to savor Diwali via a meal that promises to bring food, people, culture and tradition together. And hopefully, these meals will leave lasting impressions on my young one and conjure up fond memories of a radiant Diwali night.
|Take stock of what you have and creatively work them into your tablescape|
This year, I pulled out all the stops in creating a magical tablescape for our dinner guests. I will break this down for you step by step – stay along with the pictures and please do not hesitate to ask me any questions. Make sure to stay with me till the end of the post as I have a giveaway to announce! We also have more Diwali decoration inspirations in our previous year's post. Make sure to check out this, this and this!
Creating a beautiful Deepavali tablescape - made easy!
|Add the layers one piece at a time - silver chargers are versatile decor pieces!|
I love creating visually decadent tablescapes and I promise you there will be many more tablescapes on Aalayam. This year, I have combined my eastern heritage with my travel inspirations to create a tablescape that merits a distinction of its own. It all started with the crystal candle holders that I found at Home Goods this year – they reminded me of the crystal chandeliers that I saw in the Hall of mirrors at the Palace of Versailles (remember our trip to France?). That was my inspiration!
|Hall of mirrors- The Palace of Versaille!|
I was blown away by the delicate beauty of the French chandeliers and swore to add a touch of French chic to our home. I was euphoric when I found these candleholders– they were definitely going in my Deepavali décor this year.
|A travel inspiration works its way into a tablescape at home- for the love of crystal light accents!|
And then it quickly became a matter of adding things that would work with these focal pieces. Colors, textures and patterns were blended in experimentally till I knew I had nailed it!
Lessons from my tablescape:
|Paisley - the ultimate ethnic motif!|
Create cohesion – by threading different elements with a common theme. In this case I used the Paisley motif to unite the various components and keep the eye moving. The block print paisley napkins, the hand made cards with the paisley stickers and the amber glasses with the paisley motif all work great together and add an ethnic charm to my tablescape.
|Always buy enduring pieces and get more mileage out of them - gold toned flatware paired with silver charger and a steel thali - it works!|
Use versatile pieces – the fabrics, the tray, the thalis (plates) and the goblets are enduring pieces that I can creatively combine to create an entirely different look next time. So, take stock of what you own and think about how you can use it before you go shopping. My solid blue cotton tablecloth will work well for a birthday or a tea party next time. By layering a saffron block print napkin on it, I have added a festive tenor to the base layer.
|A fun conversation starter - the great Indian two-wheeler, move over elephants and peacocks!|
Think outside the box. After all you are trying to create a memorable scene that can be remembered long after Diwali is gone. My steel scooter is a fun conversation starter and a fond reminder of home. Let the elephants and the peacocks be… after all there is more to India!
|And it comes to life....|
Indulge a bit - After all you will be adding a touch of sparkle to your wardrobe. So, why not add some glitter and shine to your home and your dinner table too? I love the sparkle emanating from the light reflected off the crystals in my candleholder. I love the colorful radiance of the rhinestones used in handmade Deepavali signage and my personalized greeting cards. I love the sheen on my gold toned flatware. There’s lots of ways to add sparkle and shine to your décor and here’s just a few ideas.
|Make sure to let the flowers pop - they need not all match!|
Stay away from faux flowers – please! My friendly neighborhood florist patiently replaced all the fall colored flowers with bright fuchsia ones to create this vibrant bouquet. I wanted the flowers to stand out and not blend in with the blue and orange background. In return, she got a one-one lesson on the splendor of Diwali. It was a win-win for both of us!
|Hand made with love!|
And lastly – add a few personalized touches for a lasting impression. A handmade Diwali sign and some personalized cards are sure to make your guests smile. These cards can alternately work as menu cards if you are hosting your non-Indian friends for dinner.
|Indian decor need not be tacky and gaudy - there I said it!|
Indian décor need not be tacky and gaudy! Indian décor is elegant and beautiful and let your home and table speak for that! The warm glow of the candles will surely knock your décor out of the park!
Embrace the Diwali festivities with a piquant home cooked meal served in style. Once again, this post is about combining the Indian tradition of hospitality with the Western art of entertaining. I hope you all partake in a memorable Diwali meal this year and if you are hosting one - I hope I have inspired you to set a beautiful table!
|Our home awaits its guests!|
Let us also spare a minute to reflect on the spiritual traditions of Deepavali that bear significance to our every day lives. The killing of Narakasura by Lord Krishna symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. The waking up at Brahma muhurtha symbolizes the early to rise …..concept. The lighting of the diyas emphasizes the need for self-reflection and the need to move away from darkness and ignorance. I hope to be reminded of all these Diwali tenets as I look at the flickering glow of the candles on Diwali night.
Dear readers we wish you health, peace and lots of colorful memories this Diwali.
Now in keeping with the spirit of giving –Supriya and I want to giveaway a fifty dollar gift card of Home Goods and thank you all for your warmth and love!
|Love my candleholders? They can be yours with the giftcard - see below for details!|
If you loved the crystal candleholder or the Italian etched wine goblets (they are perfect for serving mango lassi or badam milk this Diwali) I have used in this tablescape then here is your chance to buy it with the gift card we are giving away. This giveaway is open to readers in the US. Readers in other parts of the world are welcome to enter on behalf of friends and family here in the US.
Here is how you become eligible
1. Join Aalayam as a member and leave us a comment stating you are a new member.
1. Join Aalayam as a member and leave us a comment stating you are a new member.
2. If you are an existing member, you must introduce at least one new member to the Aalayam family and leave a comment introducing the new member. You and the new member will both be eligible!
3. And finally! Increase your chances of winning by introducing additional new members. So, if you introduce 5 new members, you have 5 chances to win the gift card!
The giveaway will close on October 24th at 10 pm eastern and the winner will be announced in our next post. Good luck!
All images are from my home and shot by Uj. Please do not use without permission.