In February each year, Ludhiana becomes the destination fro hundreds of sports enthusiasts, including foreigners. They come to Kila Raipur to see the special breed of bullocks, camels, dogs, mules and other animals competing in highly professional events. It is to be seen to be believed. In 1946, Mr. Bakhsish Singh was instrumental in getting the most popular event of the Games – the Bullock Cart Race – introduced. This is the annual Kila Raipur Sports Festival, commonly called The Rural Olympics. This years games are over, but photos of various events are being posted online. For one last taste, here's a 10 minute video from the 2007 events.
Yes, it is that time of year again. When the ski's are filled with "Patang" and you have to do your best to keep yours up. [more inside]
Bonalu (or Bonam in short, which means Meal in Telegu, the official language of Andhra Pradesh), is the festival celebrated in honour of the Goddess Mahankali, in the month of July/August, by women who carry a series of pots on their heads, filled with offerings of rice and milk, led by the Potharaju (image).
It is spring here in India, and Ugadi (the Spring Festival) is being celebrated with much pomp and ceremony throughout the southern part of the country. In Maharashtra, the same festival is referred to as Gudi Padwa.
The Festival of Lights, Good vs. Evil Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights that falls each year in October or November. This year, Diwali is on the 21st of October 2006. Legends about Diwali are many, from the story of Prince Prahlad, immortal in his faith in the universe to the story of Ram and Sita returning from exile to Ayodhya. My favourite is not a story so much as a snippet of what is actually said to happen tonight, not the mythology behind it. Lakshmi walks tonight, she is the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity, and lamps [diya or deep] are lit and placed at hearths and entrances so as to help her find her way. Accompanying her is the elephant headed one, Ganesh, the remover of obstacles and giver of knowledge. Just welcome them into your home.
Eunuchs' Day in the Sun: Eunuchs from all over India gathered in a small village, Koovagam, this week to re-enact a story from the Hindu scriptures in which they pretend to marry a warrior-god. Pictures from the festival.
Holi. Now Ruz. The Hindu Festival of Colors. The Persian New Year. Easter and Passover are not the only religious holidays associated with the first full moon of spring. Both appeal to me—in Holi people go about splashing each other with colors, powder and paint, and in Now Ruz I see Halloween--Last Tuesday night in March before Ruz is Chahar-Shanbe-Soorey in Iran... Children wear masks, and go door to door to get candy. People jump over bon fires while wishing for good health--surely the greatest religious festival we celebrate. And, ancillary topic, polytheism fascinates me: so, let me get way way pre-medieval on your collective ass and drop some James Hillman on you via Marc Fonda (you may have to scroll down to III. Polytheism as an Alternate Paradigm for Psychology). Hillman, author of Dream And The Underworld and co-author of We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy And the World's Getting Worse, among others, is, of course, a name no stranger to these pages. Both Holi and Now Ruz seem to celebrate a victory of by a legendary king over demon sources, and both celebrate Spring. Both I know little about—so enlighten me, please. A belated happy Holi to all you real brahmins, Boston or otherwise, and a belatedly same happy Now Roz to all you Teherangelenos here on MetafFilter. And do play Virtual Holi.
Time to wash up for Hindus. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for religion and such. But if you wash your sins away in this river, you might wind up with something that won't wash off.