16th Day: Diwali & Plaza Lights (Celebrating Hindu)

The sixteenth day was a day of light; we celebrated Diwali and went to visit that Plaza lights, a tradition for many Kansas City families.

    Diwali is a Hindu holiday in India, a New Years celebration, spanning three to five days.  Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights, due to families opening windows and lighting diyas, special clay lamps, for Lakshmi.  Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, and it is said she cannot enter a home that is not lit up, so families go all out with many diyas lit about their freshly cleaned, painted, and sometimes renevated homes.  Diwali is a joyous event: lots of games, singing, dancing, fireworks- everything is done for the happiness of all.
    We celebrated Diwali with crafting- something that always bring Marshall a lot of joy.  He made little diyas out of play dough as we talked about Diwali and the Hindus of India.  I explained that it is also known as the Festival of Lights, much like how Christmas is for us.
Pounding out the clay to make diyas

 

“One, two, three diyas!”
    The Festival of Lights was a great transition to the Plaza lights.  I still had many gift cards from students to burn up, so we made sure to stop at Aixois, a French cafe located near the plaza, for cocoa before walking among Kansas City’s iconic light display.
I just adore the old world feel of
Aixois (ex-wah)

 

    Once we had our gifted cocoa in hand we made our way to the lights.  It is something to see in person, every year the tastefully done lights just give such cheer.

 

Pictures don’t really give it justice

 

    I still had a few gift cards to the Plaza, so we made our way to Barnes & Noble for Marshall to pick out a few books.  Also to visit the train table, of course.
Book browsing is serious business.

 

He has a full size train table at home, but he still insists on spending a great deal of time at Barnes & Nobles’.

 

“Here’s the gift card, ma’am!”

 

   Marshall picked out ‘Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer’ by Tonya Bolden and a ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ board book.  Beautiful Moon is about a little boy who prays over the people he sees illuminated by the moon’s glow; the homeless, the hungry, the diverse situations of the many inhabitants of his city.  It’s really fitting because Marshall likes to pray directing it to the moon, since that’s where he has decided heaven is.  Snow White was chosen because who doesn’t like those cool beards and a strong prince to come save the day?!
What’s better than lights, books, and “coffee”?!
    Day sixteen was about lighting up the dark, about family joys, and another day of learning respect for other religions and cultures as we celebrate our own.  It was our last walk through of the Plaza lights, reminiscing of our past strolls, and talking of where next year will find us.  It’s our hope that all of you are enjoying the light in these winter months and finding excitement in what the new year will bring.  Shubh Deepawali everyone!
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