Can we all yell a collective "Huzzah!" for the first of many items to be crossed off of this semester's bucket list?


This past weekend, the Mahārājess and I went down to the Spanish Fork Krishna Temple to celebrate the festival of lights, which is (very affectionately) called Diwali.  Basically, Diwali is Thanksgiving and New Year all in one.  

We, being awesome, got ourselves all cute-like (complete with rockin' hats) and drove up to the lower-case 't' temple and parked on the road a few hundred yards off.  We walked up to the lit up temple and both emphatically sighed a deep, cathartic sigh of relief.  I say 'relief' because both the Mahārājess and I needed some non-Provoian perspective.  And then, there we were, surrounded by people who love their religion and that religion is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Granted, there were also a ton of other Mormons.  But, no matter, we were in the midst of an outside culture.

Let's take a few steps back and talk about Diwali.  Diwali is this very complex, very layered festival.  Even to the novice that I am, I was able to spot dozens of symbolisms that struck straight through to the heart of the LDS scholar within me.  

Diwali is a contraction of deepa (lamps) and wali (row), which makes perfect sense because the people of India would light up their homes and the altars of the temples would be adorned with lit candles in order to welcome home the god Sri Rama.  There is significant ancient precedent for the festivals of the new year being the time of the return of deity to earth, as a part of the earth and a people's renewal.  So, okay, score 1 point for the Ancient Near Eastern Studies major, right?  You can read more about all of that here.


Perhaps the most poignant part of the experience was when we were blessed with abundance and then anointed on the forehead (take a look at the picture of me, above) with kumkum, which is a vermillion paste of dust.  Dust.  Anointing.  Abundance.  Very, very interesting stuff when you look at it through the lens of temple ordinance diffusion.  Take a look at the Mahārājess getting anointed. 

Pretty awesome, no?

The capstone of the evening was each of us receiving a small mound of candle in the center of a lotus leaf.  We all surrounded the small, man-made pond, made wishes with fireworks overhead and set them afloat toward the gods on the other side of the pond. 

It was an incredibly awesome experience.  We both left with a bit of a kick in our step (not to mention a little bit of cow pie).  Check out all of our pictures.

Let's just hope our wishes come true.


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