Sunday, 22 October 2006

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Yesterday was the culmination of the festival of lights, also know as Diwali. This time of year is roughly to the Hindus what Christmas is to westerners.

All over India houses are being decorated with coloured lights, such as the ones seen here.

And inside the houses are decorated with candles, such as these lights floating in a bowl of water filled with rose petals. I was lucky enough to be invited to celebrate Diwali with Indian friends.

Here I am at the Diwali party with the hostess Kali, and one of the other guests, named Rajan. Of course there were more than than just the three of us, which is also required for the paradoxical main activity of this religious festival: Gambling! Every year at Diwali billions of rupees change hands, as people play a game called flush. It can best be described as a simplified form of poker played only with 3 cards rather than 5. During three play sessions this week I won 2,500 rupees (approx. DKK 330 or USD 55). Last year I won 4,500.

However, Diwali, is not all about gambling. It is also about eating and drinking well and then about fireworks. In this picture you can sense the chaos and smoke in the light filled streets.

As with Christmas, presents are also exchanged for Diwali. A popular, traditional gift consist of quality mixtures of nuts and dried fruit, such as the ones you see.

And of course shops are keen to take advantage of this holiday of spending, so they are all decorated for instance with flowers such as these. The level of hype and decoration is very comparable to Christmas in Europe. And the level of physical and mental hangover in the days after the festivities also.


1 comment:

Hiren said...

Excellent colorful Photographs. Unfortunately, Diwali has become too extravagant.

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