In Phoenix, it is the start of the fall season with rain and cool temperatures. Fall means festivals, traditions and food. The Indian festive season came to a close with celebrating Diwali, Dhanteras and Bhai Duj last week. As we wrap up another season of celebrating cultures, food and traditions, here is a sneak peak at fall traditions from around the world.
1. Mid Autumn Festival (China): Chinese Mid Autumn festival was celebrated on September 27 this year. Common traditions involve eating moon cakes, gazing at the moon and spending time with family and friends. Popular foods for Mid Autumn festival are moon cakes, pumpkins, taro, duck etc.
2. Halloween (US, Britain): Though Halloween is associated with ghosts and ghouls, many Halloween traditions originated from the ancient Celtic harvest festival Samhain. Halloween is celebrated on October 31st in the US and many western countries like Britain and Ireland. Popular foods include candy and sweets for children and ghoulish liking food for adults.
3. Durga Puja (India, Nepal): Durga Puja celebrates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasur and celebrated in Bengal in India, parts of Bangladesh and Nepal. The ten day festival also called Navratri in other parts of India was October 13-22. Popular foods include different sweets, puris with chole, halwa etc.
4. Diwali (India): Diwali also called “Festival of Light” is celebrated in all parts of India and also by the Indian diaspora living in other parts of the world. People light lamps in their houses, streets are illuminated by lights and firecrackers are burst everywhere. This year Diwali was November 11. A day or two before Diwali is usually celebrated as Dhanteras when people worship the goddess of wealth and two days after Diwali is Bhai duj which is a special day for all brothers. Popular foods during this period include sweets like laddoos, gujab jamuns, puris etc.
5. Eid-al-Adha (Saudi Arabia, other parts of world): Eid-al-Adha or the “Feast of Sacrifice” is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow God’s command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. It usually marks the end of Haj or the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. The timings very from year to year but this year it was on September 24. Usually dishes made of lamb are cooked and shared with family on this occasion.
6. Dia de los Muertos (Mexico, US): Also called the “Day of the Dead”, this festival is celebrated by people of Hispanic origin to honor the dead. Parades, altars to honor dead relatives and other festivities mark the occasion. This year the festivals was on November 1. Popular food include skull candy and other sweets.