Partying with Hindus

Within the last month, Alan and I accompanied a Brazilian friend to a Hindu New Year Celebration to assist him with selling sugar cane juice. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of drinking sugar cane juice, let me just tell you a little about it. It is made by crushing sugar cane stalks in a very powerful machine to squeeze out the juice. The liquid is green and very sweet (after all, the plant is also a source of refined sugar). It is grown in tropical and subtropical areas like Brazil, India, Haiti, and parts of Africa to name a few. It seems that Americans prefer to drink it with a little lime juice squeezed in it. Indians prefer the sugar cane juice with lime juice and fresh ginger.

Anyway, the celebration took place in a dinner hall with a stage. The building next door was a white and very elaborate Hindu temple with magnificent carvings on the outside that was unlike anything I have ever seen in person. All of the people attending the celebration were from the same state in India, and as I learned, each Indian state has its own New Year. Most people were dressed in typical Indian garb with the women wearing very colorful and elaborate saris, which is a long piece of cloth used to form a skirt and then draped over the shoulder. I was surprised to discover that I could see the midriff of some of the women.

The night was celebrated by speeches, music, dancing, and food. All of the speeches were in a foreign language. The traditional music was very unlike American music and was very high pitched. The more contemporary songs were not as high pitched and had a beat that I could hear. Many of the dancers were dressed in costume. For example, there were two young teenage girls with their hair done in long braids and bells on their ankles. There even appeared to be a fashion show of type at one point as many women paraded on the stage showing off their attire.

Finally, after 9 p.m. and towards the end of the night, a large buffet of food was set out. We were invited to eat, also. I waited until most people had gotten their food before getting into line. I grabbed my empty plate and happily took a little of everything. As the woman was scooping something red onto my plate, she said that it was very hot. As I left the line with my food, a young man approached me and also warned me about the red stuff. He said that it is even hot for him. I tasted everything on my plate and decided that I didn’t like the cold, white ball that I had anticipated to be a meat ball covered in white sauce but turned out to be made of some kind of cooked dough. The meat with yellow curry was very spicy, so I was happy to have the rice on my plate to cool off my mouth. I did venture to try a little of the red stuff, which lit my mouth like I have never before experienced. Needless to say, one taste was enough. Several of the items on my plate were tasty, including a slightly sweet cinnamon flatbread.

The night was a wonderful cultural experience full of traditional and contemporary Indian music and cuisine, Hindu dances, and friendly people.

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1 Comment

Filed under Africa, Brazil, dancing, Hindu, Indian, sugar cane

One response to “Partying with Hindus

  1. Renata C

    Love the comments!!!You guys are great!!

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