Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Today is the start of Diwali, the Indian festival of light.
Now I’m not Indian, nor do I have any Indian connections, but I do feel that to become a truly diverse but unified society (and in my opinion unification is important - separation just doesn’t do society any good) we should all not only respect one another’s traditions but actually participate in them, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on our spiritual beliefs (some will clash just too much to expect mutual participation) and personal circumstances.
Of course, nobody can be expected to celebrate every event in the calendar of such as diverse society as the UK - we’d probably end up having some kind of celebration every week - but Diwali’s a big one so to mark the occasion, we’re having a candlelit curry tonight.
I'm having a couple of friends over for the evening and LM will be home. I'll be lighting lots of tea lights around the living room, the big candles on the table, and cooking a chicken tikka masala. Yes, before you start shouting about tikka not really being Indian, I know all that but it’s the only curry LM will eat so tikka it will be. Well, that and colonial beef curry, and that’s certainly not authentic Indian either. We’ll have it with rice and naan bread and garnished with fresh coriander (sadly not from my garden - it died) and we'll have a laugh as well as talk about what Diwali is - a celebration of good over evil in humans.
Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that good can and actually does win over evil - what with the papers and telly news being full of stories of murder, rape, bullying and the rest - but there are actually far more good people in this world than bad.
The light that’s celebrated isn’t light as we generally think of it, but the spiritual light within each of us and thus Diwali is a kind of celebration of our spiritual birth as human beings so it’s a time when we should try to learn ways of being more benevolent ourselves in order to being more good into the world and make it a better place for everybody. If that isn’t something worth doing then I don’t know what is.
I’m quite looking forward to it :)
PS: I bet Emma will be having a whale of a time during Diwali and posting some fab photos :)