Monday, October 27, 2008


Here in Mussoorie, the streets have been transformed. Lights and sparkly streamers are hanging and Indians cram the streets as they shop for gifts and fireworks. It's the week of Diwali, the most important festival for Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. It is six days long and, as I have easily found out, is very loud and full of firecrackers. To explain it very basically, it celebrates the triumph of good over evil in everyone. The stores in town have catered to the holiday shoppers. On Sunday, the second day of Diwali, it was the auspicious day to buy metal. So, all of the store owners brought any metal products they had to the front of the shop. It was also amusing to see some shops that were selling only fireworks. At first I thought that I had never seen these shops before, but then I realized that the shopowners had just thrown all of their regular merchandise into some back room (actually probably their bedrooms or somewhere) so they could sell lots and lots of firecrackers. They will do anything to please their customers...

Decorations in front of a shop in the Landour Bazaar.

Shopping for metal on the 2nd day of Diwali. I didn't buy anything, so if I am all of a sudden plagued with bad luck, I guess I will know why!

Shopping in the bazaar. I have noticed that oranges, reds, yellows, and pinks are popular clothing colors. Maybe this is because Diwali is associated with the harvest?

Although Woodstock, unlike nearly all Indian schools, is not taking time off to celebrate, there have been a few events here. On Saturday, there was a Diwali dance for the High School. It started off with a choreographed dance and then turned into a fairly typical high school dance, except with all hindi music. Needless to say, there was a lot of "pulling the rope" and "twisting the lightbulb" bollywood dance moves. Tuesday marked the fourth (and most important) day of Diwali. This is the day for fireworks and lights. Woodstock celebrated with fireworks down at the dorms...about 10 yards from my house, actually. It was a little terrifying. Please don't think that the fourth day is the only day for fireworks. As I've learned, the locals hold no restraint for when and where they should shoot off firecrackers. I've been hearing them pretty constantly for the last week, during the middle of the day and at 3am. They particularly like the ones that you chuck at the ground (preferrably in the middle of the street where people are walking). The firecrackers make a horribly loud gunshot noise and the explosion looks dangerous. I won't be terribly sad when firework season is over.

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