Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Selamat Hari Deepavali!

Selamat hari Deepavali, or Happy Diwali! Deepavali is the time when our friends from India celebrate their new year. It's also knows as the Festival of Lights. It's a time for families to get new clothes, light diva lamps, and get dressed up in traditional Indian attire. Penang has a large Indian population, so it's celebrated all around the island and at Craig's school.

Here is Jennifer and Craig all dressed up in traditional Indian attire. Jennifer is wearing a sari in her signature pink color. Craig is dressed up in a punjab suit. Aren't they cute? The local Indians love it when foreigners participate in their culture by wearing their traditional clothing. When else can you spend a day in a sari and not feel too conspicuous?

Craig was selected by his teacher as the "maharaja" for his class, and he got to parade around the school carrying a diva lamp. A diva lamp is a shallow clay bowl filled with oil with a cloth wick in it. The clay bowl represents your physical body, the oil is your spirit, and the flame is your intellect.

Here is Craig next to another Indian Diwali tradition - rangoli. Rangoli are drawings made during Diwali out of colored rice. This rangoli has a diva lamp set on top of a pink lotus blossom surrounded by peacocks.

While Craig was carrying around his diva lamp, Jennifer was busy helping draw henna tattoos on other's hands. Part of Divali is to paint your arms and hands with elaborate patterns made out of henna. Henna tattoos last just a few days. Here are some children at Craig's school with their freshly painted henna tattoos.

Here is Jennifer with the rest of her henna-tattoo artists. Everyone got to show off their fancy traditional Indian costumes!

In the afternoon, Craig changed into an orange punjab suit and helped celebrate Deepavali in traditional Indian style - with a bollywood dance! When your mom is the PTC president you get volunteered for stuff you might not normally do.

Craig really had fun performing.

Part of the cultural performance was a fashion show. Some of Jennifer's friends and their daughters did a short runway walk to show some of the fancy Indian costumes.

Craig and his friends had a great time. Here's Craig with one of his friends, Willa.

Happy Deepavali!


  1. Love it! I served my mission in South Africa and there is a very large Indian population there. I grew to LOVE the Indian people, their food, traditions and even clothing .. I own a sari. I am jealous that you guys have such an awesome opportunity to live in a different country as a family and experience their culture. I am happy for you!

  2. Thanks! We love the Indians that live in Penang as well. They are so friendly! Of course, most people are very friendly in Malaysia! Our favorite restaurant is an Indian place that serves naan, roti chennai, tosai, and a gazillion curries! Mmmm, so yummeee!