I talk about it a lot, but I don't think I've ever elaborated on Festival Season. The time frame depends on the lunar cycle. This year, it's mainly in October and ends with a bang (or a cracker!) in early November for the Festival of Lights.
First, there is Nine Nights, a festival that is celebrated for, you guessed it, nine nights. It's going on right now. Each day, a different goddess is worshiped. In the middle of the Nine Nights is a 2-4 days festival and worship time for the goddess who they believe is kinda like the mother goddess, and who represents femininity but is depicted as a warrior. The devout will fast during this time, but it's not the same type of fasting we know in the States. They actually eat a lot of what they call fasting foods. Apparently people end up gaining weight during their fasting, so there was an article in the paper the other day to give tips to those fasting on how to not gain weight...during a fast.
Then, on the 10th Night, another festival is celebrated as the culmination of the 9 other nights. People will build a large effigy of a legendary evil guy who was defeated by the good guys (again, according to legend) and then they all gather and watch the evil guy burn. I've been seeing lots of these large statues being made all over the city. We passed some yesterday on the road to Kishori's.
Several days after the 10th Night, there is the Husband/Wife Celebration. That's the day many women dress up in fancy clothes or bridal gear, fast all day (again... often a different type of fast), then they worship the moon and eat dinner with their husbands. And then finally, The Festival of Lights. It's the biggest celebration of the year.
I can't forget to add in a very important celebration that took place yesterday (which happened to also be the most auspicious day of festival season, according to Jaya). It was My Birthday! :) I was so surprised at how many gifts and treats I received this year - much more than last year or the year before! Since I went out to Kishori's yesterday with my supervisor and our friend who does translation work for us, they both brought me gifts. Then Kishori had everyone there eat a sweet in honor of my birthday and she also gave me a new suit! When I got home, our neighbor had brought a mousse cake to us because it was his birthday too, and then Jaya came over. She brought me a black forest cake, which she made us all feed to each other while taking pictures! She also gave me a new suit and some flowers. Such sweet gestures from my national friends!
Husband took me on a date last night to a nice East Asian restaurant. Then we went to another cafe for dessert. Both places look really fancy but are much cheaper than you'd think! At the cafe, I got even more chocolate. Except for a small nibble this week, I haven't had chocolate or sweets at all in 7 weeks! So you can imagine that the entire day was a shock to my system. I wasn't even able to finish all my dessert (sacrilege!) because I so full of sugar already. It was a great birthday!