We often talk about the importance of celebration to the Salesian way of working with young people. So there’s no surprise that Anita, who volunteered with BREADS in India, found many opportunities to celebrate…
Celebrate good times, come on!
There is always a reason to celebrate… in Hassan we had several of these opportunities. I remember a particular 2 weeks where the majority of our time was spent preparing for various celebration functions. Activities ranged from designing and preparing screen backdrops, decorating areas, choreographing dances, preparing short plays, singing practice, preparing food. Plenty of chances to develop team-building skills!
1) Inauguration ceremony of Bosco Plus – 16th October
2) Arrival of Don Bosco’s Relic – 26 August- one of my highlights of the course. Our institute hosted the casket containing relic of Don Bosco’s right-arm for one night. All students and staff were involved in preparing the place for the casket and public’s arrival. Many of the faithful and curious came to visit the relic and participate in the events organised. A particular highlight for me was seeing so many children from Don Bosco institutes playing and praying in the presence of the ‘friend of youth’.
3) Ganesh Chaturthi – 1st September – The birthday of Lord Ganesha – the period of celebration for this festival is variable according to different temples, but usually lasts around 10 days.
4) Teachers’ Day – 5th September – another one of my highlights. This was the first time I saw my students perform songs and dances, after witnessing all the efforts they had put in practices (within a short space of time) they really ended up stealing the show.
5) Feast of birth of BVM – 8th September
6) Onam – 9th September – a main festival of harvest in Kerala, commemorating the yearly visit of the legendary King Mahabali. The festivities of this day were arranged by the Malayalee contingent of our group -those who were missing their celebrations at home decided to bring it to Hassan. We celebrated with traditional Onam games, ‘pookalam’ (flower mat), Onasadya (a traditional feast usually comprised of 22 side dishes), songs, plays, dance and a visit from King Mahabali to distribute gifts.
7) Provincial Visit (Fr Thomas Anchukadam SDB) – 12th September
8 ) Ayodha Pooja – 5th October – a festival during Dassara where people give thanks for tools and vehicles that make their life easier at home, work, factories and offices. Blessed food and sweets (prasada) are distributed and pumpkins are smashed and kept at entrances to ward off the ‘evil eye’. We celebrated this a day early on the 4th so that students could go home for Dassara holidays afterwards.
9) Dassara – 28th September – 6th October – a 10 day festival celebrated all over India by many different names and a major festival of Karnataka (particularly at Mysore). Different prayer ceremonies (pooja) take place on each day.
10) Closing ceremony of Bosco Plus – 14th October