Celebrating Karthigai Festival with the Children

boy feeding fish below Jain temple

boy feeding fish below Jain temple

We headed back to the Jain Hillside Temple where a certain family had been carrying Shiva up the side of the mountain, and lighting it at the top for untold years.  That night they would allow others in on the celebration for the first time.  Our host explained that first they were going to light candles and put them around the pond, as is tradition, and so I helped. The candles were made of castor oil and a wick. “Castor oil was specifically chosen because it burns well,” one of the men explained. But our attempts to light the small candles were ridiculed by the wind, who blew them out mercilessly.   We waited around for a while to figure out what was going on with the ceremony.  “They are not going to open it to the public after all,” was the conclusion from someone who appeared to be in charge.  “If they do, the government can come over and take it away from the family as a site, so they are not willing to risk that.” I had been looking forward to this particular ritual but part of me felt grateful to not have to make that climb again.

Karthigai sky

position of the moon determines the ceremony date

Karthigai gods statue

moon behind statue of gods

man lighting candle around pond

man lighting candle around pond

candles all around the pond

candles all around the pond

Our host’s servant’s children came over for dinner and to celebrate Karthigai.  They had a great time setting off firecrackers in the street and we had lots of fun with them!

the children lighting the firecrackers

the children lighting the firecrackers

enjoying the lights

enjoying the lights

smokey

smokey

obviously the kids had fun

obviously the kids had fun

we had fun too

we had fun watching them

Kevin makes friends

Kevin makes friends

aren't they beautiful?

aren’t they beautiful?

and silly!

and silly!

thanks for showing us such a good time!

thanks for showing us such a good time!

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