Had I been in the Chicago during this time, I would get excited about Thanksgiving being just a week away. This is the time where I would find myself fantasizing about my mother’s cooking, having a long weekend to rest, watching American Football, taking up free city festivals and finally watching my city transform from a pumpkin patch pilgrimage to a scene out of a Hollywood Christmas theme movie. I have to admit some neighborhoods in Chicago really embrace their spirit for the holidays through outstanding front yard theme displays, an outrageous stream of blinking lights, blow ups characters and beautiful window decals. Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about celebrating American holidays that part of my life and teaching will never leave me no matter where I am in the world. However, I have found a new appreciation for learning about other cultures and their holiday celebrations, such as one I learned more about a few weeks ago called Diwali!
While driving home from the gym one night, I noticed large building from a distance decorated in array of lights from top to bottom. I took a quick detoured through a neighbor in the Asian community, Bur Dubai, and noticed nearly every building had some sort of display of blinking lights and colorful cloth designs hanging from their balconies. The community had just begun to celebrate Diwali, a celebration for the Hindu New Year! During this period, many events take place in the homes of family and friends such as the baking of Indian sweets and the lighting of small candles. Ten days before the actual holiday, Hindus perform a special dance called, “Garba” and they burn small candles “Dewa” for each night, while decorating their homes with bright lights. On the 10th day, the main day of Diwali, friends and relatives invite each other over to their houses to perform “Euja”, a prayer perform on the last day. During this time, fireworks displays blanket the desert night skies for days and fresh bakes sweets could be smelled for miles. It was something to see, hear and taste and my friends made sure I was well-educated on their cultural traditions as they enjoy learning about ours. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I must admit I am very thankful for my educational journey, the more I know the further I go!