Friday, November 4, 2011


I never would have guessed that I'd celebrate my first Diwali in Amman, Jordan. But here I am!

My friend's roommate is Indian (from Mumbai) and invited a large group of us over for a Diwali dinner. I had some excellent channa, with a respectable level of spice. My Californian palette was at home.

Diwali is an Indian festival of lights marking the changing of the seasons. Upon entering the Diwali diner, I got a red dot on my forehead (a bindi). It represents a third eye. I think it's supposed to be centering. I'm not sure, though, I'm the Middle East scholar!

It's tough for ex-pats to celebrate holidays in a country with an official state religion and a religiously homogenous populace (in terms of religious identity, at least). I really admire people's efforts to continue the traditions which mean something to them, and the ex-pat community's enthusiasm for rallying around each other to celebrate something new. Oh, and I'll never turn down Indian food.

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