First, I had to get a saree. (You can spell it "saree" or "sari," but I spell it how the Indians spell it.) The event organizers hooked me up with a local saree vendor, and I got this beautiful green and gold number. You didn't "have" to get a saree to attend the event, but I've always really wanted one. I love my saree.
I had to let out the bodice ("choli") a bit, but it was easy with the help of my coworkers. The vendor showed me how to put it on, but I still had to look up an article on how to wear a saree before the event. Just to be sure. It's a lot of wrapping, and I'm very tall.
The event was held in Barrington, which is really close to where we live. This is part of what I love about the northwest suburbs - more ethnic diversity than other areas.
When we got there, there was a craft & clothing bazaar to shop. From a charity booth, I bought a nice bracelet set to match my new saree. My other purchase was a slow-cooker cookbook for Indian food. Yeah, I think that was a good buy.
I forgot to mention that there were appetizers available while we shopped, though I didn't write down any of the names. There were delicious little dumplings, butter chicken, fried vegetables, and lamb in pastry. Mmm. Dave had three plates, I had two.
After the bazaar, I had to stop reading my delicious-sounding cookbook and go into the banquet hall for a fashion show. There were some pretty wild-looking sarees from top Indian designers.
After the fashion show, various dance troupes gave performances. My favorite were the early teenage girls, and also the little kids I forgot to mention were dancing at the end of the craft bazaar.
After the dancing, we all pretty much got up en masse for the Indian buffet we'd been smelling in the back of the hall. I can't remember all the amazing things we ate, but I remember I grabbed some of everything. Carrot curry, chicken tikka masala, cinnamon rice, lentils, pakora-like spinach things in curry sauce, mmm. Then dessert, where I had something that tasted like the filling in baklava. Everything was wonderful.
So, my first Diwali was a really awesome. It might be an Indian celebration of the triumph of good versus evil, but it was also my triumph of wearing a saree and eating ridiculous amounts of Indian food. Maybe next year I'll have a Diwali party at our new townhome and put out little clay lamps of my own!