Last week, 3CMGM celebrated a big Indian holiday called Diwali. We had all been looking forward to this, because it again teaches us something new about the culture of India, where we will be living in less than two months!
Diwali is a festival of light. “It is about King Ram who journeyed to Sri Lanka. A demon called Rawan had kidnapped his wife Sita and Ram came to her rescue,” tells Abhisek. “Diwali is the day when Ram came back home to India with his wife, safe and sound.”
Diwali is one of the larger Hindu festivals in India. “People dress up in new clothes, they buy new furniture for their house and pray to the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi,” Abhisek explains. “They also light their homes with candles, which we call diya. This way we celebrate the victory of light over evil, of good people over bad people.” When Ram came back, his people lit a candle to make the night of the new moon brighter.
To celebrate this Indian holiday, the 3CMGM students went to an Indian restaurant in Antwerp. “In India, too, we have dinner with friends and family,” says Abhisek. “It was great to have that experience here with our new friends!”
For me, it was the first time having Indian food with my class. It was great to have people sitting at my table who could explain what the weird (though delicious!) little yellow corn balls were, while listening to Indian stories and comparing them to Greek mythology.
Lisa, a Belgian from the program, agrees that it was the perfect opportunity to get a first glimpse of the real Indian culture. “It was an amazing experience! Our Indian classmates were so eager to show us their traditional food and drinks. Fortunately for me, the food was not too spicy!”
3CMGM is now looking forward even more to the next semester in Bhubaneswar.
A happy Diwali to all of you!
(This article appeared first on AMSlife and was also republished in Dutch on Claudia Goes Abroad.)