…is a nine day festival that celebrates the Mother Goddess in all of her manifestations; each is worshiped for three days. First is Durga who destroys negative tendencies. Then Lakshmi who bestows good virtues and fortune. Last is Saraswati who instills wisdom and spiritual knowledge. Worship and fasting take place during the day and the nights are filled with feasting and dancing. The festival ends on the tenth day with the victory of good over evil.
We attended the hoopla taking place in our complex on Tuesday night with the promise of a much larger crowd on Wednesday. The night we attended there were a couple of hundred people in attendance, but when the rains came last night we thought it would be cancelled. Alas, no. This festival, from what I heard, is a big one. Astro turf was laid out over the muddy lawn and tarps thrown over the DJ’s equipment. The show must go on, as they say.
As I looked down 12 stories from my balcony and saw the crowd…the women in their brightly colored clothes, swirling their skirts and dancing with each other and their sticks…ah, sticks are a part of this festival’s dance. They hit them together and against one another’s as they sway and bow and turn. Anyhoopla, I wanted to be a part of it, but it was almost midnight…and whoever the god or goddess of rain is was still making an appearance, so I watched from afar.
The night we did attend I noticed that dancing aside, it was also about togetherness and community. People mingled…and they mingled with us, the outsiders. There were booths set up along the sideline run not only by local businesses, but by children. We saw one such booth with the typical carnival game of cups stacked in a pyramid where the participant had to knock them down by throwing tennis balls. The problem was that the cups were set up on the table that all the people were walking past, not on a second table in the background. As one young girl laid down her rupees and was ready to throw, the masses kept walking by and blocking her shot. Not the best plan by the kids who thought this up, but she managed to have her chance as Paul stood on one side of the crowd and I and another young boy the other. I would have liked to have gone back down last night to see if they rectified that problem or just let it be…I'm guessing the set up was the same.
The following video quality is really bad, but you get the general idea of people dancing in small groups.