Yesterday I attended the Diwali celebration here on campus. It was a lovely ceremony with lights and music (although it’s a pity the Interfaith Sanctuary only seems to open up to non-Abrahamic religions when they have a colorful festival to offer). The priest began speaking haltingly, seemingly less than confident with his English, but when he began to chant the prayers, first to Ganesha, then to Lakshmi, his tone changed to be ringing and confident through the 108 names of Lakshmi. We all lit our candles from the ceremonial lamp (representing the enlightenment of knowledge) and afterward we had beautiful music from Veena Chandra who played sitar while her son played tabla. Some volunteers applied mehndi (henna designs) to eager participants (yes, I got some decoration).
And of course, Saturday night was the big Markofest at Aloha Alcohula. Much fun catching up with the CT crowd — even the elusive Bilokur. We arrived early and got to spend a pleasant afternoon with Miss Wendy. We showered the birthday boy with a bunch of Peter Cook dvds and a cd (copies of the massive treasure trove courtesy of Our Man in Britain), so we have one more member for the World Domination League.