Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Diwali in Guyana

Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is located on the northeast coast of South America. Guyana is 82,978 square miles in area and has a population of about 7,70,000. Hindus constitute 33% of Guyana's total population. The Co-operative Republic of Guyana in Southern America celebrates Diwali according to the Hindu Solar calendar. The day of the Diwali festival is declared as a national holiday in the official calendar of Guyana.

The tradition of celebrating the Diwali festival is believed to have been brought to Guyana in the year 1853 by the first indentured people from India. The legends related to the festival are similar to that of India. The celebration of the festival includes, distribution of sweets, illuminating the inside and out side of the house, exchange of greetings, cleaning of houses and wearing of new clothes. The celebrations hold special significance for the people of Guyana. The distribution of sweet signifies the importance of serving and sharing whereas exchange of greeting cards denotes the goodwill of each other. The sweets distributed mainly consist of mithai, pera, barfi, and kheer.

The tradition of wearing new cloth for the people of Guyana is significant especially in Diwali festival. They believe that wearing new cloth is the symbol of healthy souls in healthy bodies. Cleaning of their homes and keeping them well illuminated in and outside is a practice meant to illuminate the road for Goddess Lakshmi so that while goddess Lakshmi visits their home she faces no problem of light as the Diwali night is regarded as the darkest night of the year.

Delicacies are:



• 1 big bowl of sweet corn

• 2 strips of spring onion

• 1 big bowl of diced carrots, capsicum, potato, cabbage

• 2 cloves of Garlic

• 1 small bowl of vegetable stock

• Salt and pepper/ oregano to taste.

• Tortilla chips

• Cheese


• Blend in together the corn, and garlic together.

• Meanwhile make vegetable stock and while boiling the stock add the spring onion for flavor. (Remove before mixing it with the corn)

• Now mix the stalk with the corn chowder, and form a thick chowder.

• Saute the veggies and pour the stalk and corn chowder over it and let it cook for a while.

• Add salt and pepper / oregano to taste.

• Meanwhile bake the tortilla chips with cheese.

• While serving - pour this chowder in a flat soup dish and serve with tortilla and cheese.

Vermicelli Cake:
2 tbsp margarine or butter

1 pk vermicelli (280 g/ 10.oz)
5 cups milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup condensed milk
some crushed almonds (optional)

In a large pot, melt the margarine or butter over med heat

Add the vermicelli noodle and fry it until the majority of the noodles are light brown
Add the milk, vanilla extract and condensed milk to the noodles and bring to a boil over med heat
Once boiling, lower to low-med heat
Stir frequently, until it becomes a thick consistency
Once thickened, stir in almonds
Pour into a pan and let it sit for 1 hour to set
Cut into squares and serve

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