Sunday, November 2, 2008


Diwali, the Festival of Lights, was Tuesday. Hindus celebrate the return of Rama from exile and the triumph of good over evil on Diwali, as well as something about Lakshmi that I'm still not sure about. On Diwali most families make puja (an offering) at a temple, or if you're our landlord, the priest comes to your store and you do puja there. People exchange gifts of mostly sweets and decorate houses with lights. Many people also make rangolis, elaborate designs of colored powder, outside their homes. The one above was done by one of the Bucky Badger Gupta Aunties. The lights look like Chrismas times 1000, minus any goofy inflatable Santas or hanging globes of light (G'Boro, you know what I mean!). But the really big thing to do on Diwali is light firecrackers.

India being India you can buy everything from sparklers to the humongous things the fire fighters use in the shows for July 4 back at home. And all within a 3 minute walk from home! The days leading up to Diwali were pretty noisy, but Diwali itself was insane. Starting around dusk there were constant blasts from every direction. I can't say for sure, but maybe it was pretty close to being in a war zone with bombs exploding and guns firing all around.
We were invited to have dinner with our landlord and then watch and light firecrackers on the roof. But his puja went very late so we bounce between neighbors for a few hours before hand. The kids lit sparklers, roman candles, bottle rockets and spark-shooting-spinning things in various courtyards and in the street. We were invited in everywhere for snacks which was a great opportunity to finally sit down and get to know our neighbors, whom up until now we've only exchanged pleasantries with in the street.
Finally, back home our own show began. Uncleji had a comparatively small stash (Both Gupta families had large cardboard boxes FULL of firecrakers.) or maybe 2 dozen bottle rockets, 500 snappers and about a dozen of the huge real-deal fireworks. Chris was recruited to do the honors and seemed to enjoy his turn as fire-fighter. I'm sorry I don't have pictures, but even if I had brought the camera up I would've been too nervous to take a steady shot! It really was amazing though, to be up on the roof for over an hour and the whole time, in every direction see huge fireworks going off constantly.
The kids had been a bit morose about Halloween in India, but the Diwali afterglow more than carried them through the big day....

1 comment:

Grandpa George said...

Greetings from Greensboro on election eve. Maggie, I just love these descriptions...and the pictures. Ben and Caitlin look so big.

I wanted to respond to many of the earlier posts, but did not know how--I lost one and realized I wasn't doing it right, so Susannah helped me with this one.

Look for more from me--Sus is standing by to make sure I do it right.

Hugs and kisses,

Grampa George