Saturday, March 10, 2007

Playing Phagwah

Last Sunday was Phagwah, a Hindu holiday that is observed after the full moon in March. When I asked students and teachers what the significance of the holiday was, everyone replied with the exact same uncertainty, “Me don’t know, but we get a day off from school. Don’t come on Monday, right?”

On Friday afternoon, all classes were put to a halt and students gathered for an assembly to officially announce that school was closed on Monday.

To celebrate Phagwah, people splash water all over you, sprinkle powder over your head, and rub paint on your face and body. Before the assembly even started, my kids came up from behind with a handful of glitter and smeared it all over my face. Subsequently, a glitter fight ensued. I asked them if glitter was part of the celebrations, to which they replied, “No Miss, but this was all the shop in the backroad had.” Then for the next half hour, students lined up to inform me that I had glitter on my face.

After school was over, the child in everyone was unleashed. Teachers and students alike took water bottles and showered it on anyone within a 5 feet radius. White and colored powder coated the air, and people stampeded out the doors shrieking in protest to remain clean. One teacher struggled to open a bag of paint powder and as she distributed the ammunition announced, “This plastic is too hard to open and people are getting away. Hurry run after them.” It was quite a playful and festive celebration, and for one afternoon everyone felt like a kid again.

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odette said...
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