India has been celebrating Diwali, the festival of light and good fortune for the past three days. According to the calendar, Wednesday was Naraka Chaturdasa and Friday was Ballipadyami. How this translates into the Diwali holiday I don’t know, but many people were shopping for new clothes on Wednesday and most businesses were closed on Thursday for Diwali. We have had fireworks, crackers and bombs going off for three nights. It rained on Wednesday and Thursday, so the blasting was light. We took a walk to see the lights and fireworks in the neighborhood when the rain let up. Families were lighting strings of crackers, M80’s, rockets and flowerpots in front of their homes. Despite a big campaign to curb the use of fireworks due to danger and air pollution, people are still not very careful when lighting. Cars, motorcycles and pedestrians have to be very careful, as the fireworks are set off in the middle of the road despite traffic. If you see a burning ember in the road, swerve around it or run! As in all things Indian, it is a noisy, chaotic experience.
Friday night was was the first clear night and there were many large firework displays. We were able to watch from our terrace as they went off in four different directions. It’s hard to believe these are amateur displays. The video shows one that went off right over our terrace, lit by a neighbor two houses away. We had a beautiful view on a soft warm night. We sat and watched while Ashwin slept through it peacefully.