Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Year's with a Bang

This post is the first of two Diwali posts.  I just returned from a week long Diwali break, Internet was down and I'm catching up.  The timing's not quite right but I still wanted to share so please excuse the verb tenses and timings.  

The past couple of weeks have been leading up to Diwali.  The Festival of Lights.  New Years.   Diwali officially begins on October 24th.

We are actually beginning a week long holiday to celebrate Diwali.  I've started packing and while I wait for a final load of laundry to finish and listen to bangs and pops of fireworks; it's a great time to share some of the things I've learned and ways I've celebrated already.

One bang...decorations.
Decorating with garlands.
Close-up of the garlands, photo courtesy of Kelli Thexton

Rangoli artist, photo courtesy of Aimee Martins

Kelli, Andrea, Nancy and our first Diwali at ASB
Ganesha, rangoli and diyas.

Elementary girls with bindis before they dance, photo courtesy of Aimee Martins

Demons and Kings, photo courtesy of Aimee Martins

Two assembly.
Faculty and parent dancers, photo courtesy of Aimee Martins
The story of Ram and how he saved his wife Sita, photo courtesy of Kelli Thexton
Ram fighting the demons, photo courtesy of Aimee Martins
Good conquers evil, photo courtesy of Kelli Thexton
Three bangs...learning about lanterns.

Before I moved to India, I'd heard of Diwali but didn't know much about it at all.  Luckily, I've got my guides who've taught me lots along the way.

Last night I went with Heeru, Barbara, Andrea and Debbie to Mahim.  Another suburb of Mumbai.  Barbara and Heeru organized our visit to see lovely lanterns.
The characters reminded me of Korea.
Both sides of the street were lined with stalls.

Colorful rangoli flour
Heeru and Debbie
Heeru and Barbara with lanterns for the library

Lots of purchases.

Happy Diwali India!
I didn't wind up buying any lanterns this time round.  I did buy a rangoli template for next year though.

Outside my apartment window, it looks to me more like Christmas does outside Chicago.  There are strings of colored lights on balconies.  Lanterns also shine outside windows.

Four bangs...presents!
Diwali is also a gift giving holiday.  I didn't quite have my act together but my colleagues did.

Heeru's Diwali gifts.
I received chocolates and candles.

Diyas and sweets.  There were lots of commercials on t.v., ads on billboards and stores all showing everything you could buy your loved ones for Diwali.  From clothes to jewelry to cars.  It reminded me a lot of the ads on t.v. in the U.S. before X-mas.

Thanks to my teachers and friends who've made my first Diwali here very special.  Happy New Year!

One final bang.
Lately I've been reading a lot about reading and 21st century schools.  And I've learned a few things.

I realize that if people really want to know specifics about things, we can just Google them so I haven't given a lot of background in this post.  I'm leaving up to the interested parties to gather the info as I think there are lots of great sources who share it much more accurately and just plain better than I can.  You'll see there are hyperlinks throughout so learn as much or as little as you like.

Also, that this post is really long.  In a world where we point and click so quickly, posting something like this isn't kosher.  So, I'm working on shorter posts and working on changing up my blog a bit to reflect that.  Please bear with me as I make those changes as I think we'll all like this a lot more.

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