How does a child of Indian immigrants — and a new mother — who isn't Christian celebrate the Christmas season in the U.S.? By taking it in and making it her own tradition.
A profile from Delhi, India of a young Hindu woman who becomes an Evangelical Christian in secret. She shares how she struggles to adhere to her family's expectations to conform to local traditions, caste, and culture -- and remain devout to Jesus.
Hindus in India and around the world are in the midst of celebrating Navratri, the colorful and light-laden, nine-day festival also known as Durga Puja. Dedicated to Durga, Hindus celebrate the mother goddess’ defeat of the demon Mahishasura — the triumph of good over evil.
An explosion of color results as participants of a Holi festival in Utah throw colored chalk into the air and at each other. (photo: Jeremy Nicoll)
There’s no shortage of photos from Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, which takes place this year on Sunday, March 20th. Around the world, people celebrate the holiday by “throwing colors” at anyone who wanders by. Sometimes it’s in the form of powders, sometimes colored water, and sometimes natural dyes.
According to the BBC’s description of Holi, Ratnaval, a seventh-century Sanskrit drama, has one of the first references to the festivities:
“I hoped to get instruction in Yoga, expected wonderful teachings, but what the teacher did was mainly to force me to face the darkness within myself and it almost killed me…. I was beaten down in every sense until I had to come to terms with that in me which I kept rejecting all my life.”
—Irina Tweedie, from Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master
I hadn’t ever heard of Ms. Tweedie before happening upon this quote from Parabola, but her spiritual memoir looks like a compelling read. And if you’d like to hear more of the late Sufi teacher, here’s a poignant interview from Thinking Allowed. She talks about the mind as “the greatest obstacle” to spiritual clarity and that an inherent tension exists between knowledge and the mystical path in which “the less you understand, the better.”
A couple of weeks before my birthday, my mom sent me an e-mail reminding me when my “star birthday” was — March 14th, by the way — and saying she was donating to a local temple on that day so they can provide free food for the congregation. Although I’ve always been told when my star birthday was, this was the first time I went on a quest to find out what it was.
Simply put, your star birthday is your birthday using the Hindu calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. Hindu calendars are traditionally used to derive entire individual horoscopes, which are culturally consulted for just about everything — from determining a baby’s name to finding the best wedding location (and person!)