Disclaimer

These opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Peace Corps, Rotary, or any other organization to which I am affiliated.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

“We Have Bombs!”


On November 14, 2012 much of India is celebrating Diwali.  First, Happy Diwali to all in India and worldwide that celebrate this holiday.  May your life be full of peace and prosperity! 

 So, Aisha, what is up with the title of your blog?  Well, I will tell you!  A week before Diwali I asked one of the cleaning ladies in my dorm to tell me about the upcoming holiday.  I asked, “Do you all have a special dance, music…?” and her response was, “No, we have bombs!”  Now I must come to her defense, she does not speak English very well and her and I spend a lot of time rethinking how we will phrase conversations: I so that I am using vocabulary that she will understand and her searching through her stock of English to convey her message.  She meant that people set off lots of firecrackers.  Haha.  When she first said it my eyes got really wide.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have a very expressive face, especially my eyes.  So she then started making noises and open and closing her hands kinda like fireworks so that I could get the picture, “Boom! Boom!”  It was perfect.  Once I realized that there would be no wars going on it was indeed a good thing.  She went on to explain that it was a Hindu celebration so she herself would not be doing much of anything at all other than taking advantage of the day off. 
 
I must say, SHE WAS RIGHT!  At about 5:15am I could no longer sleep because it sounded like a bomb was coming in my window!  My goodness!  Talk about a firecracker competition!  I didn’t know what was going on.  And also, because I attend a Christian College, there was not much at all going on here for me to get an understanding of what Diwali is all about.  We got the day off, the cafeteria staff in the dorm made a special lunch (I think this has been by far the spiciest of meals I have had yet) and there were Indian sweets given out.  Most of the students spent time studying because exams continue on the 15th.  But I looked it up to get a better understanding of what it is all about.

It turns out that Diwali is also known as the festival of lights.  There are special things done in the home like lighting clay lamps, sharing sweets and other things.  The lamps signify the triumph of goodness over evil.  The firecrackers are set off to ward off evil spirits and it actually lasts 5 days.  I assume we are at the end of the celebration on the 14th this year (it changes each year based on the lunar calendar) because all week there have been fireworks, but this morning was by far the most I have heard.  Because I am on a Christian campus, there is not much to see in terms of how families conduct the holiday in their homes, but I hear the firecrackers and we had sweets.  So I guess I am a part of it all J.  Happy Diwali and peace to all!


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