Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Diwali!

Especially to my Indian friends: hope you have a great Diwali, and that Lakshmi visits while you are awake!

I'm at the Gurgaon home of my friends Hemant, Gaurav, and their mother Ama. They are the kindest kindest hosts; my every need or want is answered, and then some, and the only chore I've been allowed to help with is making wicks for the diyas, the ceremonial Diwali oil lamps. Plus, cooking lessons: Ama (an excellent cook) has been teaching me paranthas and chapatis, and I keep nosing my way into the kitchen to find out more.

Anyway, Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Way back when, the god Rama's wife Sita was stolen by the demon Ravanna, who took her to south India. So Rama came down and trashed Ravanna, creating the festival of Dussehra, which happened 20 days ago. Then he returned home to Ayodhya in north India 20 days later, creating Diwali. Also, Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, got into this holiday somehow: she's supposed to visit during the day, so don't sleep too much, because you might miss her.  You light the diyas oil lamps, you put christmas lights on your house, you shoot off fireworks in the street, you go to puja (prayer ceremony) at the temple. Two days before Diwali is Dhanteras, a popular day to buy things. Also you're supposed to clean your house thoroughly, and trade in your old dishes for new ones, and hoo boy, now that I wikipedia it, it turns out there are a lot of different reasons and customs for Diwali.

Photos and more descriptions to follow!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Dan, glad you are finally being pampered. I'm sure you are a wonderful guest, as well. We are so happy that your friends and Ama are taking you into their homes and their lives for a short while. As for Diwali, I like a holiday which incorporates and makes holy a day to buy things. Reminds me of Santa Claus and makes as much sense as he does.
    Happy Diwali.