The festival of lights marks the end of the harvest season and celebrates the birth of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Being the ‘festival of lights’, you may expect an explosion of light across the night sky in the shape of fireworks and stunning oil lamp displays. However, Diwali also has a deep connection to fruit and we’re going to find out why today.
The reasons we give fruit on Diwali
Giving fruit is a very old Indian tradition. There are several reasons why we give fruit baskets throughout the year and the particular association between fruit and Diwali.
Hindus gave fruit baskets as gifts because fruit was free of problems of caste. This meant that anyone could give or receive the gift of a fruit basket and enjoy it.
Fruit can also be eaten during most fasts, so it’s a great gift to receive or send as it’s a celebration of this faith and prepares you for the fast to come.
Of course, the festival of lights marks the end of the harvest, so it’s no mistake that food plays such an important role in the festival. Fruit baskets are shared as a way of enjoying this year’s fruitful harvest and as a way of looking forward to the next harvest.
Dried fruits are often placed in Diwali fruit hampers as these are fantastic micronutrients. Dry fruits like raisins and apricots are full of really healthy vitamins and minerals like potassium, iron and vitamin K. These all play a vital role in overall health. They are great things to have during the colder autumn and winter months when nutrients and minerals are harder to come by.
Fruit or Follie - The Interesting History of The British Dollies
When the British arrived in India, they nicknamed fruit baskets “dollies”. Dollies were a basket of garden produce given to the owner of the house by the Mali or gardener. So, the popular British phrase for these baskets quickly became “the Molly with the Dolly”.
Dollies slowly became a problem for the British. As trade moved away from the free-wheeling days of the East India Company to the more Victorian proprieties of the Raj, the locals knew a thing or two about getting one over on the British.
Bribing officials had been banned at this stage, yet it was a perfectly respectable and almost encouraged practice a few years before. However, the gift of flowers and complimentary baskets of fruit were still perfectly fine. After all, these are just gifts for officials, right? And if those fruit baskets “accidentally” contained an eye-watering amount of cash hidden neatly under the fruit. Well, that was a simple mistake on the part of the gifter and certainly shouldn’t be taken as a bribe.
Dollies were also used to hide snakes and scorpions for unsuspected victims. A baby was saved from assassins when his nurse hid him in a fruit basket. Someone even managed to escape jail in a fruit basket!
Thankfully, the days of hiding snakes, inmates and babies in fruit baskets are over now. Sadly, not many people hide money in fruit baskets now either! But, there was a time when you could find just about anything hiding in a fruit basket. Hopefully, you just find some tasty and delicious fruit in yours this Diwali.
The Best Place To Get Fruit Baskets For Diwali in London
If you’re celebrating the festival of lights in London and you’re looking for a fruit basket for the celebration, Ripe can help. We have a beautiful selection of Diwali fruit gift baskets that are perfect to give as a gift to celebrate. We hand-select all of your fruit from local, high-quality vendors and deliver them straight to your door. Order your Diwali fruit hampers today and don’t miss out on this centuries-old tradition.