Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Birthday, A Feast, and A Visit from the king

This weekend several of our students were off on another home stay. The rest still had a fun full weekend in Coimbatore with a big Onam celebration at our apartment complex. Yes, you may have already read our blog about Onam- but it is a 10 day festival and our Malayalee neighbors wanted to be home in Kerala for the actual holiday and then celebrate back in Tamil Nadu afterward.
The morning was a flurry of preparations to get our sari’s wrapped properly and get all dressed up. We went outside and found a beautiful huge rangoli (flower design) that had apparently taken 4+ hours to create!
Beautiful rangoli
Soon we heard drumming and a horn being blown so we wandered over to the entrance and spotted… the king! We joined in the parade of people bringing him into the complex. Since everyone else was getting a snap next to the king, we decided to follow suit. Now I must admit that I was a bit disappointed to see that his eyebrows, mustache, and sideburns were filled in with a marker and that he was not a real king! But he did a good job of looking stately and important! 
The King
 There were several traditional dances performed by little elementary girls that were so impressive performing multiple dances with several costume changes. There were also several awards given out, including ‘Best Dressed Couple’ which our director Kirk Ji and his wife ended up winning!
Director and his wife winning the award
One of the little dancers
   After the performances were over, we were treated to a feast of traditional food from Kerala served on a banana leaf! There were so many different side dishes and it was very interesting to taste all these unique flavors. 
Just the start of all the dishes they served us
 This weekend was also one of our student’s birthday. It was definitely a birthday she will never forget-eating a feast on a banana leaf and meeting the king! When all the students had returned from home stay, we had a surprise party with cake. All in all, another good weekend in India!

Birthday surprise!
This coming Friday we are heading out on our first weekend trip to the city of Madurai to visit the famous Meenakshi temple and tour the Mahatma Gandhi museum!

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