A Travellerspoint blog

Happy (Belated) Diwali

sunny 28 °C

It is November 5th, Bonfire Night, and the young Indian boys were already getting trigger-happy with their fireworks when we left Delhi a week ago to seek peace in the Himalayas. But the boys, who have never heard of Guy Fawkes or the Gunpowder Plot, seem to have followed us into the mountains. It’s the annual festival of Diwali, and all week we have heard the crack of explosions echoing around the steep valleys as the youngsters warm up for tonight’s joyous fusillade. Other arrangements for the annual festival, (which equates with Christmas), include the making of marigold garlands, preparing special sweets and buying something new for the house. Fridges, televisions and computers seem popular judging by the displays in the bazaars, but many of the locals will have to make do with a new saucepan, a string of plastic flowers or a garish poster for the wall. The meager shops in the neighbouring villages are adorned with colourful displays of cheap decorations like these…
Diwali is the festival of lights, when every household burns mustard seed oil in small earthenware lamps in celebration. But electricity has now come to much of India and, along with this developing power, has come the wasteful habits of the West. Our neighbours here live in a run-down shack and wash themselves and their clothes under a tap by the roadside, yet they splashed out on a string of fairy lights for their door …Diwali_lights.jpg

However, many traditions still survive and this lovely young family was making their own marigold garlands as we walked by…Dewali_preparations.jpg
Like most people here they spoke no English but, with gestures, they stopped us, blessed us by painting a smudge of dye on our foreheads, placed marigolds on our heads and gave us sweets. Here’s Jim getting his smudge…Happy_Diwali.jpg

We try to be sensitive to local custom, (though sometimes we screw up), so we dashed off to the store and bought them a large box of sweets...Sweet_scene.jpg
Diwali is about giving and receiving and it is about being thankful for the gifts we have. We have so much more than any of the people here and could be distressed at the terrible conditions under which they live. Yet, they are kind generous people who smile warmly and wish us a happy Diwali at every opportunity. It is a wish that, through this blog, we pass on to the whole world... Happy Diwali from us and from this lovely lady who was very proud of her Diwali dress… P1070576.jpg

A footnote to our blog about the gate-slamming ceremony on the Pakistan/India border.
Following the posting of our blog we read in the Indian press that, in the pursuit of international peace and harmony during Diwali, the Government proposed to stop the daily hazing and gate-slamming event because it was unseemly and childish. The Pakistanis responded today by saying, in effect, "Get stuffed you ####." Nothing childish about that!

Posted by Hawkson 18:26 Archived in India

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Well, dear friends, as one who does enjoy lights-subtle, just bright enough to be mistaken for a landing strip, I send you my good wishes for this festival. Your post made me nostalgic for a time and the CBC recording that a certain someone put together that particular Christmas.
Love, continued safe travels and astonishing adventures.

by Trudy

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