Monday, October 15, 2007

Visiting Kolu

When I was young, I always wanted to celebrate the holidays I read about in books. (Okay, I always wanted to do anything I read about in a book -- and still do.)

After I read All-Of-A-Kind Family, for example, I told my mother that we were going to celebrate Purim, and -- with all the costume and ceremony I could derive from the book's chapter on the subject -- we did.

There weren't many books about South Asian children in our local library, unfortunately; the closest I got to India was through Burnett and Kipling. So I had no chance to read about Navarati or the Kolu celebration.

Which is too bad, because if I had, I most assuredly would have spent one afternoon building nine steps out of cardboard and chairs and arranging my stuffed animals and Barbie dolls into my own interpretation of a Kolu display.

I probably would not have been able to keep them there for nine days, however; wouldn't have been able to handle the delayed gratification. But arranging them, and then standing in front of them and singing.... oh, I would have been all over that.

I've been taken to see several Kolu displays in neighboring flats, and all of them have been very charming and thoroughly impressive. After I admired the sand painting of Saraswati that I saw in one home, I was given a small pot of sand and invited to try and make my own design in front of the kolu. Suffice to say I failed disastrously. I managed to make a pile of sand, and then when I tried to spread it around with my finger into a kind of arrangement, I ended up with a messy pile of sand. ^__^

They did, however, also invite me to stand in front of the kolu display and sing; and at that I was much more successful. It was probably the only time, ever, in history, in which Charles Kingsford has been performed in front of a Kolu; I can only hope that Saraswati approved.


Daniel said...

Purim's even more fun b/c of the food and drinking!

In fact, we're commanded to get drunk on Purim... Go Judaism!

Anonymous said...


I'm glad to see that you got to see a Golu...that is an aspect of Navarathri that is so specific to South India that it barely gets a mention in the usual descriptions of navrathri.

We've had friends sing "America America" for our golu here in the US, so I imagine the mother Goddess (Lakshmi, since it is the 4th day of navrathri today here) is quite used to it :-)


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