Oh. My. God. Do you know how much Indians like to party?!
Obviously, I am an educated and empathetic human being and I am speaking of Indians that come from India; not the disastrous and hurtful term Americans sometimes use while speaking of Native Americans.
I have actually corrected a Native American about this before. It did not seem to bother them, but that is why everything is subjective, and we Americans fight like little babies about everything (including if a cup from Starbucks should be red or not -wutt??).
But, seriously, Indians can freakin dance! And if you thought their weddings were gigantic affairs, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve been to a Navratri Festival, a.k.a The Festival of NINE NIGHTS.
Yes, nine nights in a row, these people come together to pray, to eat, and to DANCE. This festival is specific to the Gujarati culture.
Here we are, washing blessings over us from exquisite plates with tea candles that have been prayer over on them.
And oh, let me tell you about the stick dance!! That was the most fun, albeit challenging, dance. I think we mastered it. Everyone is in a line, facing a partner. You tap your sticks to your partners in 5 different ways, and then you move over two people to your left. Raas, as it is called, is “actually the staging of a mock-fight between the Goddess and Mahishasura, the mighty demon-king, and is nicknamed ‘The Sword Dance'” (wikipedia).
My friend Julia and I, being the only white girls in the place, felt so incredible welcomed at every moment. We also kicked some serious Raas ass. Really though, the people at this huge, remarkable festival were so kind to us. They went out of their way to make sure we were having a good time, that we were comfortable, and they even showed us the moves!
It was the most welcoming event I have ever been apart of. And I cannot wait to go back Friday night!!
Even if my calves hurt for three days after. It was the most fun night of our lives! I think Mr. Trump could use a night or two dancing with folks from another culture to see that all people just want peace and happiness. And that does not have to come from money.
A woman at the Navratri festival did walk around bestowing gifts on all the participants. And it was Julia’s first day as a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, so she and I were both extremely grateful to have received these beautiful elephant incense holders and patches from India.
I cannot thank my beautiful, radiant friends Shika and Tejal enough for inviting us to celebrate Navratri this year!! I am sure it will be a part of our lives for many years to come. And I hope I can inspire at least one person to find out if there is a Navratri festival near you, and attend!!