“The biggest festival though, is Diwali. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Rama, one of our gods, but the festival is in honor of him. Basically when Lord Rama returns to his capital after a trek to rescue his beloved, he is greeted by everyone in the kingdom. They present diyas to him – well they technically aren’t candles. I’m not sure what you call them here in America, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s call them candles. So basically they greet them, by putting candles on their windows. So he came back at night, but um, just the fact that um, they put candles around his windows made everything bright. It was at that time that the festival started. It carried on as tradition to like, light candles and stuff, during the festival in honor of that god. And, a more modern tradition of that is to like, burst crackers – firecrackers. It’s not illegal in India to burst crackers, as opposed to here.”
Once again, the Indian god, Rama, comes up as my informant relays to me the source of one of the biggest Indian festivals, Diwali. It’s interesting to point out that even though he is not from America, he knows all too well that setting off random fireworks is illegal in the U.S. However in India, because the tie in is to one of the more popular gods, it is perfectly alright. A clear sign that religious overtones have a great impact on the laws that are passed. A cross-cultural element that I found to be personally fascinating is that with most festival activities there’s always a story that is connected and most often times stems the festivity. Which also goes to show that storytelling is as much a part of human nature as breathing.