10.13.2008

Diwali

Last Saturday we attended our first Diwali celebration at Riley's school. Diwali or Deepavali is perhaps the most well-known of the Indian festivals and is celebrated throughout India. It is colloquially known as the "festival of lights", for the common practice is to light small oil lamps (called diyas) and place them around the home, in courtyards, verandas, and gardens, as well as on roof tops and outer walls. The celebration of the festival is invariably accompanied by the exchange of sweets and the explosion of fireworks.

As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies many different things to people across the country. In north India, Diwali celebrates Rama's homecoming, that is his return to Ayodhya after the defeat of Ravana and his coronation as king in an epic war. In south India, Diwali signifies the defeat of the demon king Narakasura, a trouble maker to the gods and pious sages. He was destroyed by a woman by the name Sathyabhama, and his death is celebrated as Diwali.

Though beliefs differ, the cause for celebrating the victory of good over evil is the same. Everywhere it signifies the renewal of life, and accordingly it is common to wear new clothes on the day of the festival.

Diwali actually starts on October 27th, but there are many parties celebrating it before then. The school threw a fantastic one on Saturday, complete with dinner, Indian dancing, and a 10+ minute fireworks show less than few hundred meters away. The girls had a great time running around the school field all night with their friends. They only stopped to sit down when the fireworks started or when they were eating their many ice cream bars (also known as dinner).

The next Diwali function is Friday - where I'm one of just 4 moms volunteering to help out the entire day in Riley's class. Until then...




On the left - Riley and Sheridan with several girls in Riley's class ....
On the right - the girls with their partner's in crime.

23 comments:

G in Berlin said...

The girls just look absolutely adorable. And the outfits look really cool and comfortable. Are you wearing them yourself?

Mom24 said...

They certainly look like they've made friends and have buddies. I hope so, I remember it was a little hard at the beginning. It looks like they had a ball. I hope Friday is fun too.

Has the cooking class started yet?

mary said...

The girls look adorable, and it's just amazing what they are getting to experience in life! :)

Robin said...

What fun they must be having there. I love their outfits, too. They look great and comfy at the same time.

Kim said...

I can't get over how cute they look in the their beautiful outfits!!! It sounds like every one had a wonderful wonderful time!!! :)

Jogging In Circles.. :)

Nap Warden said...

I love all the colors! Beautiful costumes...

Jen said...

I just love all the things that I learn from you!

American in Norway said...

Glad to see you back! Once again... C O O L--- You all are soo lucky- Sounds like you are always having a great time!

Suzanne said...

They seem to have alot of celebrations in India. The girls look so cute.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Hairline Fracture said...

I love the colorful clothes. I've always thought that type of outfit (I don't know the Indian name) looked breezy and comfortable.)

trashalou said...

We love Diwali too. Our school does lots of recognition of other religions and Diwali is a personal favourite.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

This is an Indian holiday that Brit's are very used to, as we have a high % of Indians in the UK. I was always surrounded by fireworks in October for this holiday. The girls look so cute.

C said...

Very cool! You must feel so great that your kids get to experience all of these amazing cultural activities and celebrations. I think it's awesome! And the outfits are so beautiful!

~Christy

leezee52 said...

Oy...they're sooo cute!

WheresMyAngels said...

Those pictures are the best! I love them outfits! You always have such great educational post! Can't wait for more!

Kat said...

I think we should all celebrate Diwali! So...did you know about all of these holidays and traditions before you got to India - or are you being educated as you go along?

I love the girls' clothes. So very pretty.

Kelly said...

Any celebration where you're required to wear new clothes is a fantastic one in my book...then add on the fireworks and endless sweets?! I'm in heaven!

Looks like the girls are really enjoying themselves.

I love hearing about these traditions!

I missed you and so glad to "have you back" was it your internet connection?

Hyphen Mama said...

Such fun traditions they have in India! You'll be bored when you return to the US.

I wonder if you ever look around and say "Another festival? Another celebration? I just got through the last one!" Or maybe that would just be me.

anymommy said...

Loved the pictures! It's interesting that you wrote about similarities in beliefs. The festival of lights made me think of Chanukah and how so many world religions have similar themes and celebrations.

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy seeing a little of your life in another world culture.

Michelle said...

These picrures are seriously priceless! And I've said it before, but this time I really mean it... how do you keep up with all these holidays and festivities!?!

Kelly said...

10/14- Just stopping in to say Happy Blogathon...I agree with your comment...SITS is a great place...even though I found you via Tressa...she found you via SITS so I guess that counts right?!

Shannon said...

Fun pics! /how very cool for you guys to be learning about Indian culture firsthand!

Rhea said...

I love the outfits, so flattering and colorful. And comfy looking. And I love hearing about these celebrations and the reasons behind them. Thanks so much for sharing.

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