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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back up about 3 weeks

The front doors of shops and homes alike were transformed with floral garlands, strings of lights were strung from every conceivable hanging place, fireworks from all corners of the City were enjoyed from our rooftop and candles could be seen casting their glow from window ledges and railings, along sidewalks and staircases.

We watched as the Tihar Festival (Festival of Lights) unfolded and illuminated the City for five days in October.

During the Festival, the goddess of wealth, Laxmi, is worshipped. She is believed to enter the brightest house and give her blessings ensuring health and prosperity. Elaborate, illuminated designs appeared on the ground outside doorways from which colorful trails radiated, leading inside homes and shops, terminating at an offering for Laxmi. In our home, a trail of flower petals and colored rice painted on the floor led a trail in the front door, through the living room, up three flights of stairs and onto the rooftop, culminating in an offering of money, bread, and fruit surrounding the image of Laxmi.

Animals are also worshipped during Tihar with a day devoted to each of the crow, the cow, the dog, and on the fourth day, depending on your beliefs, either Oxen or cowdung (really).

Troy helped decorate the orphanage for the occasion while I 'helped' with the making of the traditional sel roti bread, some of which would be enjoyed by all and some of which would be saved to present as an offering to the goddess Laxmi.

On the third and fourth days of Tihar, children visit homes singing traditional songs, and in return are given money, sweets, or bread. The house was alive with excitement and anticipation that reminded me of Christmas Eve! Songs were sung, dances were danced, and we headed out into the neighborhood the way we would on Halloween (without the costumes or treat bags but with way more singing!).

Though we had to say our final goodbyes before the fifth day of Tihar, the day when sisters put tika on the forehead of brothers to ensure long life and when brothers give gifts to sisters, Harimaya blessed us each with tika as Brother and Sister anyway.

With a big group hug we bid farewell with the realization that the children from the SDC had left their mark on us in a big way and would hold a special spot in our memory bank along with Ruth, Harimaya, and her family that have created such a loving, caring environment.

You are all amazing!

1 comment:

  1. A festival of lights in October? Awesome! NO candy or costumes? At least singing doesn't cause cavities.... :)