Saturday, October 21, 2017

Happy Diwali -- Celebrating the Indian Festival of Lights

There are lots of Indians (real ones) here in Kenya and we have great Indian neighbors.  We love them a lot and have in fact "adopted" them as our children and grandchildren.  So fun to be the grandparents of the neighborhood!

This week has been Indian "Diwali" which is their high holiday like our Christmas. It's also called a Festival of Lights.  Reminds me of Hanakkuh, the Jewish celebration which is also a Festival of Lights.  We were in Israel one time at the start of Hanakkuh and remember eating those delicious Hanakkuh doughnuts that are traditional at that time and seeing children dancing and lighting candles.  We have wonderful Jewish friends in Israel -- Yael and Chaim and their sons-- so when I think of a Festival of Lights I also think of them.

Now here in Kenya, we joined with our neighbors, Pooja and Shrikant, and their family to celebrate.  Diwali takes place at the time of the new moon.  That means that there is no moon.  (I always thought it was strange to call a "no moon" a "new moon.")  They celebrate by putting up lights everywhere.  In India, the cities would be ablaze with lights.  And then there are the fireworks at night.  Shrikant says that neighbors have contests to see who can set off fireworks the longest and best!  At the end of this post, there's a few videos of us setting off fireworks -- that's especially for my grandchildren to enjoy.  I mean my Canadian/American grandchildren!

Here's another of our adopted grandchildren -- Dan and his mother, Osuko.  Osuko works at the Masai Mara protecting the animals by catching poachers.  She has many tales to tell and pictures of dead elephants that were killed for their ivory tusks.  So sad.

Here I am with Osuko and Dan.  Dan pops over almost every day to get a candy and say hi.  LeRon and Osuko have a bit in common since Osuko was born in Japan and LeRon went on a mission to Japan when he was young.

Dan is quite the guy.  He built this plane in school.  And he knows more about animals than anyone his age.  He can tell you what kind of nests birds build and what a lion sounds like as it's approaching its prey.  He often goes with his mother to the Mara and they stay in a tent house.

More of our little grandchildren.  Here's Hash and his brother Vivan.  Vivan was born the day before our 42nd wedding anniversary.

No, not a grandchild but I love this eucalyptus tree that is out my kitchen window.  I just clued into the fact that it's also called a "gum" tree.  You know the song . . . Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree . . ."  But I always thought a kookaburra was a koala but apparently it's a bird (the Australian kingfisher).

Another grandchild . . . Faye.  She's all dressed up to help celebrate Diwali with our neighbors.

Dan and Faye ready for Diwali.  And yes, it's quite cool out so Dan's dressed nice and warm.

Not only is Dan a wildlife expert but he's also a camera expert.  He can change lenses like a pro.

Amazing how Dan takes off one lens and puts on another.

And takes a picture.

Click on this picture to enlarge and you will see Dan's photo of a cheetah.  Dan takes quite amazing photos and he's often very close to the wildlife when he goes to the Mara with his mother.

Now we're off to Pooja and Shrikant's place to celebrate Diwali.  Pooja made this lovely design on the floor outside her flat with colored chalk.  The writing is the name of their god.

Pooja also made this lantern to hang over the outside light.

Her house is decorated with a shrine and lights.  Here they are -- Shrikant, Pooja with Vivan, Hash and friend Dan.

Just the family without Hash's friend Dan.

Pooja looks beautiful all dressed up for Diwali.

Pooja bought me an Indian dress which I love.  Here we are -- me, Pooja, Faye with dots on our foreheads.

Now you can see the whole dress.  It's beautiful.

We're eating Indian sweets that Pooja made.

And now we're outside, ready to start the fireworks.  We start out with sparklers.

Then Shrikant starts the larger fireworks.  They are LOUD!!

Lots of smoke from the fireworks.  Faye's doing a dance with her sparklers.

Vivian doesn't like the smoke and noise.

Dan plugs his ears, waiting for the fireworks to go off.

Now I'm getting into the swing of things.

So fun!

So glad we could join our Indian children (Shrikant and Pooja) and our grandchildren (Hash and Vivan) to celebrate Diwali.  

Nora is one of our newer neighbors.  She heard the fireworks and came over for a visit.  She's a lovely lady.

No, I'm not kneeling to the god.  We're just taking a picture with the shrine that Pooja made with fruits for her god.

It was a great Diwali!!

Pooja added a bit more cayenne to the spot on my forehead!  It was fun to celebrate with our neighbors.  Now below are some short videos of the fireworks which actually sounded like guns.  I'm surprised it's legal here in Kenya.

1 comment:

  1. So nice! Happy Diwali! And I LOVE your dress. Trying really hard not to break a commandment--thou shalt not covet thy sister's dress!