A 'rojak' family bonds in pre-Deepavali ritual

For the ancestral prayer session, about 20 dishes are prepared which, for the writer's family, include everything from dalcha to devil curry (above). After the prayers, the food is mixed and formed into balls (left) and served to everyone who took pa
For the ancestral prayer session, about 20 dishes are prepared which, for the writer's family, include everything from dalcha to devil curry. After the prayers, the food is mixed and formed into balls (above) and served to everyone who took part in the prayers.ST PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN
For the ancestral prayer session, about 20 dishes are prepared which, for the writer's family, include everything from dalcha to devil curry (above). After the prayers, the food is mixed and formed into balls and served to everyone who took part in t
For the ancestral prayer session, about 20 dishes are prepared which, for the writer's family, include everything from dalcha to devil curry (above). After the prayers, the food is mixed and formed into balls and served to everyone who took part in the prayers. ST PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN

My multicultural family puts its own stamp on a South Indian tradition of remembering the departed before the celebration

In this age when you can buy a sari on Instagram or conduct prayers in the house via a YouTube video, tangible ceremonial rituals, where the smoke from the camphor burns your eyes, are what keep Deepavali meaningful for me.

In my family, an annual pre-Deepavali ritual necessitates that before we celebrate, respect must be given to the departed.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 27, 2019, with the headline 'A 'rojak' family bonds in pre-Deepavali ritual'. Print Edition | Subscribe