Diwali 2013 in Jaipur by Tracy Barry, photos by Cookie Kinkead
The people of Jaipur, lit up from within like Christmas trees, were getting ready for Diwali. It was clear that this is everyone’s favorite time of year. The energy was palpable. The streets were crowded with people buying new outfits, cars, motorcycles, jewelry, sweets and fireworks as well as sidewalk and street-front merchants selling everything you need for puja (religious rituals):terra cotta pots and altars being hand painted in red and gold and yellow, rice and sugar cane for prayers, coloured rice to make entryway mandalas or the vinyl pre made sticker version for those with less time, henna artists painting intricate designs on hands and feet. The people, animals, storefronts, streets and trucks were all decorated and fabulously festive.
The flower markets were on overdrive, bursting with colour and fragrance. Fragrant roses, jasmine and technicolor marigolds spilled like freshly spewed lava over the streets.
We were fortunate to be invited into an Indian home for the celebration. Our host was as excited as a child on Christmas Eve, but his excitement wasn’t about the receiving of presents, it was about the giving of gifts and the sharing of wealth and prosperity…and oh yes, the fireworks!