Sunday we had the opportunity to attend a Diwali Festival here in Nottingham. We were all very excited about this chance to experience a culture different from our own. We decided that we’d like to fully experience it by dressing in the traditional dress. Chelsey had been to India and owned a sari as well as two kurtas. The rest of us decided we’d all like our own kurta and so we went to a store not far from our flat that sold them for somewhere between 15 to 40 pounds per kurta. When I went I was unable to find one that I liked that fit me and so I didn’t end up getting one. Enough of us did though that everyone had a kurta to wear. The day of the festival we all got dressed about an hour early out of pure excitement. Then we took photos in our kurtas. We all walked to the festival together. On arrival we took off our shoes and entered. We sat down for the ceremonies and blessings before eating. The men all sit in front and the women in a section in the back. There was even little pillars holding a rope that separated the two. There was one point in the ceremony where an older man tried walking to his seat from the ladies side of the rope. The man who was helping people to his seat ran after him so fast that I thought he was going to tackle him. In the end though the old man reached his seat without any realizing how he had almost caused his helper a heart attack. The women were also all dressed in their saris and kartas, while the men were mostly in slacks or jeans. Even the little girls were all dressed up. They all looked so cute! The ceremonies were about two hours long and involved a lot of singing, chanting, clapping and passing around of little lamps. Following this we all went up to look at and admire all of the beautiful foods. The ladies had cooked 206 different dishes. All of these dishes were completely vegetarian and did not contain any eggs, onions or garlic. Then we went upstairs to eat food. The food was all amazing! Some of the people in our group had a bit of trouble with it just because of spice though. Both Elliott and Ben ended up crying. Haha We were still separated when eating, men on one side and women on the other. Professor Johns told us later that one of the Hindu monks that was there won’t even speak to women or eat anything that a woman had prepared. All of his food had to be prepared specially by the man who runs a convenience store a few blocks from our flat. It was definitely an interesting experience. The women that we talked to were all very impressed with the fact that we dressed up and some wanted pictures with us. Everyone at the festival was incredibly nice too. They were always asking us if we wanted more food and were constantly making sure that we had a bit of an idea what was going on. They were all so incredibly nice. I had a great time at the festival. It was a very interesting and eye-opening experience. Cheers ladies and gents

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