>Travel Pictures


Diwali 2007

In India, Diwali is the Festival of Lights, one of the biggest holidays of the year. Teachers and students alike dress in Indian clothing at school on the day of the celebration, and so we took advantage of the opportunity to take a family picture. This is the 'alternate' version of the one currently on the front page of our website. Dave likes this one, Susan likes the other one (so guess which one ends up in front!!)
Alea's class (among others) had decorated the school with sand 'paintings' called rangoli and so she showed us hers in the morning. It was kind of an interesting experience to go to a school that had swastikas everywhere, but as a colleague pointed out, "it is ok, they're backwards!" (Of course, the swastika originated as a Buddhist symbol and was expropriated by later users, so it really should not bother anyone, but it is funny how one insect can damage so much grain).

There was a much larger one in the open cafetieria area, obviously the fruit of a lot of labor. I did wonder, however, how long it was expected to survive once lunch period started!!

But for the time being, it was pretty special to be able to appreciate and enjoy some of the patterns made with sand. I'm sure that several of these will end up as desktop wallpapers for a day or two...

The school assembly was a super mix of local custom, culture, and tradition. It opened with an open invitation to the gods to watch and participate, as well as a welcome to all participants and visitors.

Then, surrounded by garlands of flowers and hundreds of lights, the elementary and middle school students acted out the story behind Diwali. It a nutshell, it seemed to be "evil stepmother kicks out king's favorite son and his wife, they are attacked by bad guys while banished, defeat the demons, and return home in glory." I'm sure I've missed some salient points here, but there was lots of good swordplay, so the kids stayed interested!!

The goddess Lakshme stopped by too for a quick rundown on her role in the celebration and the significance of the Hindu holy ceremonies.
And we were treated to a series of traditional dances performed by some of the mothers from the school. 
All in all, a wonderful way to again be reminded of all the cool differences and similarities there are across the world. Days like today are why we got into this line of work, and we are really fortunate to be able to share them as a family!

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