Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Diwali

WelcomTreat from the WelcomHotel.
Last week India celebrated Deepavali, or Diwali to the layperson.  In some places, Diwali is celebrated for three days, but in Gujarat, we do it up big: a five day celebration where virtually nothing is open and no one does anything but party.  My kind of holiday.  

As many of you may know, Diwali is the "Festival of Lights" (Deepavali actually translates into 'row of lamps' - thank you Wikipedia), so of course they have fireworks!  Also, you are supposed to light oil in clay lamps to signify the triumph of good over evil.  
Ain't that fine?  This was in our hotel lobby.  

Also, I read something about how Diwali is the commemoration of how Lord Rama returned after 14 years and vanquished the demon-king Ravana.  Obviously I should look further into this, because that sounds like a good story.  

Friday was the actual day of Diwali (the rest of the days have other names, but of course I don't remember them, and I threw out the WelcomScroll I got with the info on it), and the hotel, in its infinite wisdom, invited all the guests (only the foreigners are lame enough to not go home for Diwali) outside to watch the fireworks (they call them crackers.  Not firecrackers, just crackers.  I liked that) show.  And what a show it was!  
That's right, they don't mess around.  
Of course I got totally into it, but so did everyone else, so that's okay.  We mostly had sparklers (fun, but not dangerous), but there were also some sort of screaming roman candle-esque things (both fun and exceedingly dangerous.  

Me with one of the screaming roman candles.  Mostly I like this picture because I look like a crazy person.  

After the hotel ran out of fireworks, we went outside in search for more (our lust for crackers is insatiable).  Across the street, the locals were setting off huge hundred-foot rolls of crackers in the middle of the road (unbelievably dangerous).  While traffic continued to drive by.  It was quite entertaining.  
Tell me that's not terrifying.  I guess maybe you had to be there, but it was.  
Anyway, that was about the extent of my Diwali experience.  I have many many more pictures, but I've run out of time and energy.  Fear not, I'll be back tomorrow with more stories of Thailand (spoiler alert: we went scuba diving and saw sharks and sunken ships!  Maybe that's true and maybe it isn't.  Tune in tomorrow to find out).  
Ben, Matt and Chris being boys.  

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