Yesterday was Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. I’m not going to pretend like I totally understand what it’s about, but in this day and age you are only a Wikipedia page away from a basic understanding of stuff. While it’s still deeper than I can really wrap my head around, the basis is the triumph of good over evil, and a celebration of understanding the “inner light” which leads us to commit good deeds, therefore bringing us closer to the divine. (If I was writing an article I feel like I should footnote Wikipedia for that but thankfully, this is just my blog).
I’ve been in England before during Diwali, and remember lots of fireworks. A few years ago our Trini friends from down the block invited us over for a special meal to celebrate, and they had these special lamps burning everywhere. I know that during one of the days of the festival, people perform a special Pooja (prayer) to Lakshmi-the Godess of wealth and prosperity. They also pray to Ganesh- the God of auspicious beginnings. After a Diwali face book greeting, a friend from England suggested that I light a tea light in the window, so I took a candle holder that was kind of lotus shaped and burned a tea light on our windowsill next to my tiny Ganesh statue and in front of a Lakshmi picture I got the second time we went to Trinidad. I also promised Ivy that next year I would learn some of the stories about Diwali to tell her.
You might be wondering why I think it’s important to teach Ivy about Hindu holidays – and it’s not just because I’m into yoga and when we were picking out names I wanted to give her Lakshmi as a middle name. Jon’s mum is from Trinidad, and her Grandparents migrated from India to Trinidad. The middle name for Ivy that we finally settled on – Chameli- was her great great grandmother’s name. Jon’s mum’s family was Hindu and so aside from my very basic understanding and respect for Hinduism, I think it’s important for Ivy to understand where her ancestors came from.
*special thanks to Lauren for suggesting that I write about how important it is to us to teach Ivy about both her Trini and European heritage*