Diwali: Veg or Non-Veg Affair?

I have noticed that I have never blogged the meaning and customs of Deepavali followed in my place (Tamil Nadu). I grew up eating only non vegetarian food on Deepavali Day. Want to know why and surprised stick to the narration or skip to my guilt free sweet.

Deepavali is the celebration to commemorate Lord Krisna's Victory over the Demon NaraKasura(n)
Here the short story about Narakasura :
Narakasura , a demon was frightening the world including Devas (God and Godess). He abducted many beautiful women, looted and finally stole the earring of Devi (Athiti was the mother of God). Devas complained to Lord Vishnu. Furious, Maha Vishnu ordered Lord Krishna (8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) who was on Earth at this time to end Narakasuran 's life. After a long battle, Krishna and his wife Satyabhama defeated the demon Narakasuran. People rejoiced the victory and gave a warm welcome to Lord Krishna's return. The day is celebrated as NarakaChadurthi and Deepavali for Tamilian. Krishna returned at dawn before a new moon day ( of karthikai Month) and took bath with an oil massage (which is a custom in Tamilian home on Deepavali day) and started celebrating the victory with people.
The new moon day of Karthikai Month (Hindu Calendar) marked as Diwali, the day before is Tamilian Deepavali or Narakachadurthi  (when Krishna returned home after victory).
On Deepavali day, at dawn everyone takes oil bath first, burst some crackers (significance of Lord Krishna in the battle field with the evil). We devote sweets and snacks to God. But Non-Vegetarian food remains the main subject on this particular festival day. We wear a new dress and visit family and friends to distribute sweets. Finally, we settled down to watch all the TV program :) Well that is the way of celebrating Deepavali in Tamil Nadu .
The next day which is the new moon day (amavasai or Diwali in many part of India), Each community/family has his own custom of Nombu (Pooja/Vrath). The elderly person (women) of the family wakes up early, takes bath and starts making sweets which is prepared that day: Athirasam (pounded rice flour & jaggery syrup mixed together and deep fried). An odd number (11,21 or 101) of sweet is arranged in a new clay pot decorated with turmeric and kukum (red color dots) odd number of dots are decorated and taken to the nearest temple. The whole family fasts until the offer is completed. After returning home, every member are tied with a colorful thread (color depends of family) in hands. The sweet and other preparation on this nombu day are not shared with anyone outside of the family members. This day, only a vegetarian meal is served.
Some family (Tamilian) hold a Deepavali Nombu, I have no idea why, the day before Amavasai, they eat only vegetarian meal and follow the same sweet / odd number offering to God.
This year, New moon (Amavasai Nombu) and Deepavali is celebrated on same day which falls on Wednesday 26 th of October 2011- mostly everyone prepares a vegetarian feast.
In my home, my parents never had a nombu, my mom was out of the country after her wedding. My granny never passed down the custom to her. Living far from home, one of the drawback is loosing  our customs. Many Tamilian in US, cannot follow exactly the custom of making sweets and taking later to temple the same day. They just substitute with fruits as offering!
After wedding, as I have to follow my husband custom. Deepavali was just an vegetarian affair for them and no nombu.
However, Diwali is a Fun Filled celebration for Hindus around the world, the spirit remains the same: distributing sweets, bursting firecrackers and lighting a clay diyas symbolizing the victory over evil.

A guilt and sugar free sweet to celebrate this Deepavali!

Dates and Nuts roll
Recipe adapted here


Pitted Dates: 1 1/2 cups- diced
Almond: 1/2 cup- roughly chopped
Unsalted and shelled Pistachios: 1/2 cup-roughly chopped
Ghee or butter: 1 tsp
Silver foil or shredded coconut or roasted poppy seeds/sesame seeds

Roast the nuts and chop them roughly (don't be lazy like me to leave as a big chunk).
Heat the butter/ghee in medium low flame, add the dates and mash with a back of spoon the dates. It is pretty fast done under 5 minutes.
Switch off the stove and mix the nuts with dates puree.
Let it cool a bit and form a log.
Decorate with whatever u have in availability. Roll in shredded coconut or seeds or cover with silver foil for a festive look!
Wrap with foil and refrigerate an hour or longer.
Take out a slice the log 1/2 inch wide.

A perfect afternoon snack, as it is a sugar free could be a great diabetic friendly! But stop with one slice a day!

 Have a Fun and safe Diwali!


Priya Suresh said…
Dates and nuts rolls looks absolutely divine, wat a fabulous healthy rolls..For us its always a veg affair..
Lavanya Raj said…
Superb easy sweet to share with friends! Nice one Cham!

Happy Diwali to You and your Family!!
Finla said…
A very informative post. I also always thought only vegetarian food was eaten this day.
Delicious looking nut and date roll.
Happy Diwali to you and family.
Soma said…
Happy Diwali to you and your family!
Veg it is for us, but i know certain places who indulge on drinks and non veg during this time. This is a fantastic date and nut dessert. I have done it with anjeer, but i really love the way you have rolled it up and sliced. so pretty!
Bong Mom said…
Very interesting description of how it is celebrated in your family.

The date rolls all decked up look really nice. How long does the date take to cook to form the roll ?

Happy Diwali to you and your family
Manasi said…
Happy Diwali, Cham!
Since I am a vefgetarian, it was always one thing for me!
About Divali nombu (a new term for me, so i hope i am using it correctly) the day before amavasi, is is because that day is typically Dhanteras & Yamadeepdan?

I love the dates roll and the nuts jeweled in it! Looks so rich and delicious!
ruchikacooks said…
happy diwali chamka! Dates and nuts roll looks tempting! I didnt make much, just 2-3 items...
lata raja said…
The rolls look just yummilicious.
Happy deepavali to you and your loved ones!
Deepthi Shankar said…
This recipe is bookmarked. I am going to try this soon .. happy deepavali
Cham said…
Sandeepa: Cook the dates for 5 min or less, see the 1rst collage Picture.3 (where I mixed nuts and dates), once cooled , shape into a log.
Toasting nuts: 2 min
Cooking and mashing nuts: 5 min in stove.
refrigeration: at least 1 hours before slicing.
Manasi:I don't know much about Dhantheras - got to look on the net. It could be.
Laavanya said…
It was so good to read abt the traditions you followed Cham. That date and nut roll looks fabulous.. awesome presentation too.
Happy Deepavali!
Wow that looks so good !!! Happy Diwali Cham !!
Poornima Nair said…
It was great reading about Diwali. The dates roll looks amazing, yummy treat! Happy Diwali to you!
Srivalli said…
Happy Deepavali Cham...it's wonderful reading about your tradition. It's the same as ours too...it's a non veg affair at my parents home. Though inlaws don't follow that..:)..For the first time this year Amma has not made non veg as everybody has turned to Veg this year..:)..

Rolls look awesome..thanks!
Reva said…
A very lovely informative post... Our Deepavali days in Coimbatore were always a non-veg one..:) Nice to read the traditional way of celebrating the festival.. I think I should start teaching this to my daughter..:)

A very Happy Deepavali to you and your family dear..:)
Tina said…
delicious and perfect nutty roll...
Rachana said…
A very informative post. A very happy diwali to you and your family.

That roll looks fabulous.
Miri said…
I got to know of the non veg side of Diwali only after I moved to chennai- was quite surprised! :-)
wat a fantastic post dear...thanks for sharing ..:)
rolls sounds scrumptiously tasty..
awesome cliks..
Tasty Appetite
Uma said…
The roll looks so tempting and delicious. HAPPY DIWALI.
Uma@Trendy Relish
Sanjeeta kk said…
Wow..such a healthy way to celebrate festival! Love the presentation.
Lakshmi said…
dates bar looks yummy. I love this guilt free sweet. Have few diabetics at home and they will surely love this :D Trust you are doing good.
Lena Jayadev said…
awesome cham.. this looks super yummy ..recipe isbookmarked and thanks alot for the step by step images..
loved reading the post and thanks again for the story and detailed naration about each and evrything included in diwali :)
Raks said…
This is such an exotic roll, sounds too good! Hope you had a great Diwali!
Priya dharshini said…
Luv the nutty roll..Never thought its easy one,luvly presentation,cham