Monday, November 18, 2013

Happy Diwali

Diwali is the five day Festival of Lights which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. It is a very exciting holiday in India celebrated through lighting clay lamps filled with oil, sharing sweets with one’s neighbors, and of course- bursting firecrackers!

So how did ISP-ers celebrate? We returned home from Kerala in the wee hours of the morning and went straight to bed. By 5 in the morning the bursting of crackers going off all around made it difficult to sleep! We found it interesting how many fireworks were being shot off during the day when you couldn’t see the lights. A kind auntie from across the hall brought us some homemade sweets to share and several apartments had lamps lit outside their doors in beautiful designs.

We were invited to a BACAS student’s home in the evening. Before we left, all the girls lined up to get their saris wrapped. Auntie was kind enough to help out and moved through the line with tremendous speed. Alex even bought a traditional outfit for the occasion. We felt very Indian in our beautiful outfits-until we got to our host’s house and found them in jeans and T-shirts or salwar kameez. Perhaps we were a tad overdressed, but definitely looking sharp! We were welcomed very warmly to the student’s home and were greeted with homemade sweets. We went on to another family’s house that kindly let us set off many crackers and taste more sweets!

People on the street were in full celebratory mood-cheerfully greeting each other with “Happy Diwali” and bursting crackers on the street. You see, in India there are no safety rules regarding fireworks! We decided that Diwali is like Christmas and Fourth of July… COMBINED!! Lots of decorations, new clothes, giving of sweets to one’s neighbors, and lots and lots of fireworks!

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