Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holidays: A Week in Review

Recently, we had a holiday week here in Coimbatore. Not only was it Navaratri, but it was also Bakrid, a Muslim holiday remembering Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son and celebrating God's provision of a goat. So we took our few days off to explore wider India - from visiting friends in Gujurat in the North to reaching the Southern tip of India for a wedding, we did it all!

A festive scene at the Gujrati Samaj.
Credit: Ashley Ober
A few of our students stayed in Coimbatore and danced the night away at the Gujrati Samaj. In Gujurat, one of the northern states, they celebrate Navaratri by throwing a traditional dance for the whole community. We were lucky enough to get invited to this celebration and learned a few garba moves. While we were not able to see dandiya, a stick dance, we had a great time!

Morgan (left) and Aleena (right) with our student assistant , Poornith (center),  dressed up for the wedding. 
Others in our group traveled down South to the tip of the state where Tamil Nadu borders Kerala. They were lucky enough to experience a traditional Christian wedding, which holds onto Indian customs while distinguishing itself from the Hindu traditions. 

Aleena and Morgan with the bride and her friends on the wedding day!
Before the actual ceremony, the groom's family comes to the bride's home and presents her with various gifts that she will need for the wedding - from the bridal sari down to the very shoes that she will be wearing. Morgan and Aleena enjoyed spending time with the bride and her family and getting dressed up for the festivities! 

At the beautiful Siruvani Waterfalls.
Those of us in Coimbatore also took a day off for prayer and reflection in the middle of our week. We headed to a beautiful Christian retreat center, where we meditated upon what God has already done so far in our time here and what he may have in store. Afterwards we headed to a nearby waterfall to spend some time outside! The walk up to the falls was lush and green, certainly a different landscape from most of India that we have seen so far.

An Indian Halloween!
Finally, to cap it all off ISP threw a party! Many of us have been missing the autumn season. We did get monsoon season instead, but as much as we enjoyed that it really is not quite the same. So on Halloween we had a party to celebrate all things fall. Students tapped into their creativity to make a tree (for pin the leaf on the tree) and other decorations to set the scene. Even our food was reminiscent of the fall with cinnamon apples and spiced wassail. Then we all dressed up; everything from a peacock to a mermaid made an appearance! It was definitely a week of experiences to remember. 

Interested in joining us? See our facebook and site for more information.