Christine Pemberton is a blogger from New Delhi. Her inter-faith, inter-cultural, mixed race marriage ensures that her family has the best of both worlds. When I asked Christine to contribute to my "How do I celebrate Diwali" series she was most gracious, and sent me a lovely writeup and pics. Over to Christine...
As a mixed race, mixed religious family, having lived all
over the world before early retirement in India, Himmat and I have celebrated all our festivals
in what can only be described as a “fusion” style.
I am British and a Roman Catholic. My husband is Indian, but pretty agnostic and
he was brought up in a family where very little attention was paid to
rituals. Like many Indian children of
military families, he went to a succession of schools all over the country,
most of them St This or St The Other, so Christian festivals hold no fear for
him.Which means that a festival like Diwali is, in our family, an occasion to invite friends over to enjoy the more social aspects of Diwali in Delhi – i.e, big fat crackers, patakas galore and more fireworks than you can imagine.
We have a roof terrace and
(fortunately) neighbours who completely overdose on Diwali, so we invite our
friends up onto our roof, we eat from the buffet we lay out, and literally sit
back and watch the show. Our neighbours
let off professionally managed fireworks for hours – no exaggeration - and we
are the lucky beneficiaries, enjoying their dazzling show, year after year.
Yes, of course it’s noisy and polluting (I only have to
check the ash on my terrace next morning to know that) but it is so fabulously
OTT that for one night of the year, all my eco-warriorness is forgotten.
I absolutely adore Diwali.
Here in north India Diwali ushers in the wonderful winter weather, and
you can actually feel the slight chill in the air on Diwali night, as you watch
the city skyline explode with colour (and noise, yes, I agree). But so much colour!
|Every year the mali comes in just before Diwali|
to paint the pots red.
All is not noise and bling, however, and I cherish the early
evening rituals. As the sun goes down,
we light diyas all along our boundary wall, and on our terrace and roof. The children of our staff always do
They have appointed themselves in
charge of the diyas, and there is a certain amount of jostling for the matches
because that means you are “grown up”, with the older children bossing the
littlies around, but in the end everyone lights the diyas, and keeps them away
from the idiotic dog, who sent one flying last night with his big fluffy tail.A
nd then we all stand and watch as the sun sinks over the Delhi horizon and Diwali night explodes into noise and colour.
|Mithais from their Diwali 2014 rooftop celebration|
Christine, that was a lovely account of your Diwali. Thank you for participating!
So dear reader, how did you celebrate? We are looking for more of you to write in - share your customs and pics.Write to me
with your festive stories and be a part of our "How do you Celebrate Diwali?' series.
And, have you participated in our birdcage lantern giveaway
in association with The Purple Turtles yet? Click on the pic for more details.