“I love the beauty of our traditions. This is me getting my face painted with henna!”

“I love the beauty of our traditions. This is me getting my face painted with henna!”

“Nothing is more beautiful than a sari, and I love spending the entire evening in one. I’ve got the whole nine yards—jasmine flowers, jewelry, the works.”

“Nothing is more beautiful than a sari, and I love spending the entire evening in one. I’ve got the whole nine yards—jasmine flowers, jewelry, the works.”

“Ready to party the night away with my face henna, sari, and Kalava, the red thread that was tied on my wrist before the Puja (prayer ceremony).”

“Ready to party the night away with my face henna, sari, and Kalava, the red thread that was tied on my wrist before the Puja (prayer ceremony).”

“Being so far away from home during Diwali is so much easier when you have amazing friends who help make the day so special!”

“Being so far away from home during Diwali is so much easier when you have amazing friends who help make the day so special!”

“Gambling on Diwali is considered auspicious. Ready for your speed history lesson? Diwali is the festival of lights, sparkle, love, and money. We pray to Laxmi (the Goddess of Wealth) and keep our doors open all night, inviting her in. Legend has it that people who worship and follow all traditions will have a prosperous year ahead of them. One of these traditions is that of gambling on Diwali.”

“Gambling on Diwali is considered auspicious. Ready for your speed history lesson? Diwali is the festival of lights, sparkle, love, and money. We pray to Laxmi (the Goddess of Wealth) and keep our doors open all night, inviting her in. Legend has it that people who worship and follow all traditions will have a prosperous year ahead of them. One of these traditions is that of gambling on Diwali.”

“This is a rangoli. Honestly, I’m kind of impressed with my Rangoli art. It just adds to the festival feel of this bright holiday and they’re so pretty!”

“This is a rangoli. Honestly, I’m kind of impressed with my Rangoli art. It just adds to the festival feel of this bright holiday and they’re so pretty!”

“The house is all ready for the Pujas. We welcome goddess Laxmi with much pomp and ceremony.”

“The house is all ready for the Pujas. We welcome goddess Laxmi with much pomp and ceremony.”

“The colors, the patterns, these floor cushions, oh my!”

“The colors, the patterns, these floor cushions, oh my!”

“It’s not a festival or a celebration without the traditional orange and yellow Genda flowers—aka marigolds.”

“It’s not a festival or a celebration without the traditional orange and yellow Genda flowers—aka marigolds.”

“I played old-black and-white Hindi music videos in the screening room during the party. They’re so beautiful.”

“I played old-black and-white Hindi music videos in the screening room during the party. They’re so beautiful.”

While much of the country was busy carving pumpkins and stockpiling candy this weekend, actress Priyanka Chopra was busy setting up her New York apartment for her annual Diwali celebration. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, officially began on Sunday, and on Saturday night, Chopra invited friends and family over to ring it in. “It’s the beginning of our new year,” the Quantico star explains. “It’s almost like our Christmas—we eat, we pray, we dress up together, we exchange gifts. It’s all about family and friends coming together.”

 

Chopra wore a white silk sari that her mother had just gotten for her and filled her Upper East Side home with vibrant marigolds and sparkling lights. But before the night really got started, Chopra practiced her favorite Diwali tradition of Laxmi puja. “These are the prayers that happen in the evening. It’s an auspicious time and a priest comes to lead the service and it’s very meditative to me,” she says. “It’s the evocation of Lord Ganesha and goddess Laxmi for the New Year, and it’s just amazing to have the whole family sit together and pray. Of course, the rest of the evening is full of debauchery, which is my other favorite thing about Diwali.”

 

“I am like a kid again! One of our favorite traditions of Diwali is bursting firecrackers and lighting sparklers. These days, it’s done in major moderation because of the pollution it causes, but I do have lovely memories of this tradition.”

Photo: Courtesy of Priyanka Chopra

Fittingly, Chopra had a speakeasy-type gambling room set up in her home. “Gambling during Diwali is a really interesting tradition that, according to Hinduism, started when Shiva and his wife would play dice,” says Chopra. “It was a game they played often and it was eventually decided that these games would be played on Diwali and whoever would gamble that day would gain prosperity and wealth. I decided to do a spin on it and have blackjack and roulette tables set up.” Meanwhile, traditional foods like laddoos were served and the host proudly displayed her own rangolisand artworks on the floor, which have a particularly personal significance to Chopra. “I’ve always celebrated Diwali, it’s a very big deal in India,” she says. “I think my fondest memories of celebrating this holiday as a child were probably making rangolis with my dad. He was very artistic and we used to sit on the floor together and construct these patterns.”

While Chopra’s celebration of lights may be different now that she’s a major screen siren, the spirit of the holiday remains close to her heart. “Diwali is about hanging out with the people you love and feeling good about yourself and your life.”

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