Diwali is a festive time for many people around the world. Homes are cleaned and decorated and lights are put up. Rangoli – coloured art with powder – is drawn on the floor to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Who doesn’t want more of that?

Food is a big part of the celebration. Communities and families come together to prepare traditional dishes to ring in this festival, and menus are decided well beforehand. Cousins and aunts and uncles all pull together, Diwali back in India is a collective effort after all.  

So when I moved to Canada I missed the extra hands in the kitchen and the mingling and discussion with family members. I remember those first few years in Calgary when my hubby and I were balancing crazy schedules and trying to re-establish roots. Throwing a dinner party was the last thing on our minds. It’s only when the kids came on the scene that the value of entertaining and festivals reawakened. It’s all about making lasting memories and of course taking Instagram-worthy pictures!

Throwing a dinner party was the last thing on our minds. It’s only when the kids came on the scene that the value of entertaining and festivals reawakened. It’s all about making lasting memories and of course taking Instagram-worthy pictures!

Happy Diwali | Genius Hacks to throw a stress free Diwali Party | Diwali Party Tips | Maple and Marigold

How to throw a {relatively} stress-free Diwali Party + Sample Menu

Hosting a Diwali party can be tough especially when the festival falls on a weekday like this year. That’s when a little bit of planning and whole lot of creativity can help you out. 

My single biggest advice to an awesome Diwali party: plan the menu around “portable food.” 

Serve finger food. “Heavy appetizers” as my mom says! Portable food means people can move and mingle more easily, and it leaves hands free to gamble and play card games.

6 Genius Hacks to hosting a Diwali Party

Happy Diwali | Genius Hacks to throw a stress free Diwali Party | Diwali Party Tips | Maple and Marigold

Plan the menu first. Consider dietary restrictions, allergies, intolerances and of course what you think your guests will love. 

My favourite appetizer-only Diwali party menu is this one.

  • Mini Naan with butter chicken dipping sauce
  • Quinoa and red pepper salad
  • Fried paneer and pineapple skewers
  • Instant noodles
  • Bhel Puri
  • Aloo and chana chaat
  • Mini Samosas
  • A table of Indian sweets, burfi and peda. Two bite brownies topped with vanilla yoghurt are also very popular.
  • Drinks: guava juice cocktails and mocktails. I add cranberries in the glasses for colour and tart flavour.
Happy Diwali | Genius Hacks to throw a stress free Diwali Party | Diwali Party Tips | Maple and Marigold

Buy cutlery and crockery that works for small portions. Consider using shot glasses for the crumbly, messy food along with miniature forks. I served bhel puri in shot glasses and chaat in small Chinese soup spoons. 
Pro-tip: Check out the local Dollar store. I have found little plates and bowls for close to nothing that I use every year for my parties.

Stagger the arrangement at different levels with plates of different sizes so that people aren’t bumping into each other.

Buy reusable items. Not only is better for the environment you know you will throw another Diwali party next year.

Prep ahead as much as much as possible. Appetizers are fairly easy to put together but if you get the chopping and cooking out of the way you can actually enjoy your own party. When does that ever happen, right?

Plate food items beforehand. Reduce the stress and platters can be carried out as needed. And if there are allergies in the group, you can keep foods separate. If there are severe allergies amongst your friends, skip that ingredient – there are enough substitutes out there for most common allergens. The point of a Diwali party is, after all, to bring people together and celebrate.

Happy Diwali | Genius Hacks to throw a stress free Diwali Party | Diwali Party Tips | Maple and Marigold