The Wally

November 10, 2009

Diwali Festival of Lights Holiday Candles Steps Store - Kathmandu, Nepal - Daily Travel Photos
(Kathmandu, Nepal)
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A store owner's colorful decorations flicker on a night of Diwali. (I can't believe I just had to verify the spelling of 'flicker' as opposed to 'flickr'. Damn you, information superhighway for ruining my ability to spell!)

Diwali is a significant multi-day holiday on the Indian subcontinent involving loved ones, oil lamps and - depending on a family's wealth - varying amounts of gunpowder. The peaceful portion of the processions begins with the lighting of clay pot oil lamps (as seen above). Chaos immediately ensues and continues through the wee hours of the night with the mixing of flame to fireworks. In a nation where "safety second" can be an viable mantra, it's not hard to imagine the result of a full night's combustion of quarter sticks of dynamite: hospital emergency rooms full of bloody stumps and second degree burns.

But back to the peaceful portion. I'll quote Wikipedia here: "... adherents light clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil within an individual. During Diwali, many wear new clothes and share sweets/snacks with each other." In reality, it's difficult to fully appreciate these deeper meanings of Diwali when you're running at break-neck speed to avoid errant flaming objects raining down from the sky.

diwali candles
Diwali Festival of Lights Holiday Father Lighting Candles - Kathmandu, Nepal - Daily Travel Photos
(Kathmandu, Nepal)
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The head of the house lights candles for an outdoor display.

In case you're wondering why the candles' lights have colored the Nepali man orange, let this be a warning to never color balance fluorescent lights and candle flames in the same frame. I've chosen the lesser of two evils here.

nepal diwali lights
Diwali Festival of Lights Holiday Roman Candles Fireworks - Kathmandu, Nepal - Daily Travel Photos
(Kathmandu, Nepal)
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A roman candle disgorges its contents dangerously close to a store's hanging merchandise.

Despite several trips to India (also celebrated there), I'd never heard of this holiday, Diwali. A Nepali man informed me of an upcoming festival which I mistakenly heard as "The Wally". For a week, I went around anticipating the wally until I finally saw the name spelled out in the newspaper. My ignorance of local holidays combined with a thick Nepali accent can quite easily spell disaster.

kathmandu diwali fireworks

1 Comment - The Wally

1) Florina -

Pls get in touch with me. We want to use your picture in our magazine
9871251014
asha@maxposure.in

October 19, 2010

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