Yesterday was the festival where women dress up in their really nice clothes, sometimes their bridal wear, and fast for the long lives of their husbands. Last year, I spent some time with Priya on this festival, and she surprised me by eating apples and sweets and other things while fasting. So this year, I was expecting Jaya to do the same, but she keeps a complete fast from sun up to sun down. She woke up around 4, did a pooja (special worship) and then had a big breakfast. She didn't have anything to eat or drink again until 5pm, after she did her second pooja and then had some milk. Around 8pm, she and her husband went to a special spot where the moon is showing, and they did the moon pooja, then had dinner. I didn't watch, but she and her husband told me that they take a flour sifter, hold it up to the moon, and then to the husband's face. When I asked what it meant, they said they weren't sure. (If you watched the Bollywood dance video several posts back, they celebrated this festival in the song)
On Sunday I went to Jaya's to get mehendi done. Her husband did a very sweet gesture, surprising her by hiring someone to come to the house to do it. Mehendi is henna. It's done for festivals and weddings, and is considered very beautiful, like jewelry. When I get it done, I am always so happy I live in South Asia because it's so fun to be a woman here at times like that! It goes on in a thick paste and hardens, and you have to let it stay on for awhile before letting the pieces fall off. When it comes off, the henna is light orange, but by the next day, it's a dark brown, and stays on for several days or weeks. Here is Jaya, her sister-in-law, and me showing off our mehendi. Between the white skin and almost 9 month pregnant belly, I bet you can't guess which one is me! ;) Jaya actually told me while we were getting our mehendi done that I was "so lucky" because my mehendi would show up so dark on my fair skin. I had to laugh at the irony of our two cultures, both wanting what we don't have!